Shopping for a New Bank? Take These Tips

Despite the sour economy, consumers are still active in the bank market, and many are looking to change banks to cut a better deal on things like checking account rates or lower fees. If you are in the market for a new bank, stop and check these tips first before proceeding any further.

The good news is that there about 8,300 banks in the U.S. to choose from, according to Reuters. Each bank is FDIC-insured, meaning your deposits up to $250,000 in each bank are insured by the U.S. government.

There’s also no shortage of data to review on U.S. banks, especially the larger ones. But, by and large, your best bet is to conduct your own research and kick your own tires before choosing a new bank.

Here are some tips to get your bank mojo rolling:

Safety first. Job one is to ensure that the money you deposit into a bank is safe and protected. That usually means checking to see if your bank is FDIC-insured. That’s easy enough, just ask the bank or check its website. But not all accounts are the same, and you’ll need to check to make sure any account you're considering is covered. For example, not all retirement accounts are covered by the FDIC. To be sure, check with the FDIC to see what is covered and what is not covered when it comes to bank accounts.

Check out online banking. We live in the information age right now, where online services are as much a commodity as tennis rackets or titanium. For ease of use, lower fees and potentially higher bank rates, make sure to include online banks in your due diligence. Granted, it’s a big market and there is much to review. Cut your search time by reviewing the New York Federal Reserve’s guide on online banking. Also check out this article on BankingMyWay.

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