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  Bank Account OptionsSaturday, June 22nd, 2024  

I have a friend who is a bankteller. Out on a Friday night recently, she said that she had to get to bed because she had to work the next morning. Surprised, I asked her if she'd taken a second job that I didn't know about because working weekends were not her norm. She muttered that she hadn't reached her sales quota for the month and had taken the extra hours over the weekend to try to reach the quota.

I really never thought about a bank having products to sell and I'm sure that most people haven't. But the fact is, banks are businesses and they are in that business to make money. Every savings acount, every checking account, every car loan that the banks provides you is a product that they are making money on. My teller friend, as a requirement of her emnployment, had to sell a certain number of these products each month to keep her job.

Opening Checking Account

Checking accounts are the most frequently used of the bank's products. Most banks offer several types of checking accounts, each having its own list of benefits and drawbacks. Before opening the account prepare yourself by having an accurate picture of your checking habits. If you write many checks each month, you'll probably want to avoid an account that carries a per check fee. In the past, have you been able to maintain a balance in your account? If not, then it's likely that you wouldn't want an account that requires a minimum balance to avoid a monthly service charge. If you do maintain a substantial balance in your checking account, maybe an interest bearing account is right for you. Knowing your checking account history will prepare you to select the right checking account for you.

Review The Fee Schedule

Your bank will be able to provide you with a complete printed list of all fees that can be incurred by using their products. Be sure to read the fine print to avoid unpleasant surprises. If you frequently use the ATM, is there a charge attached? How much is the charge for an overdraft? When reviewing the fee schedule, pay careful attention to how fees are applied. For instance, is a fee calculated on the average daily balance? Will you get charged a monthly service charge if your balance drops for one day? Some banks waive some fees if the customer has more than one account at the facility. For instance, you might open a checking account and a savings account at the same bank to waive the per check fee on the checking account.

Online Banking

Most banks now provide online banking so it's easier than ever to keep track of your finances. Find out what your bank has to offer. In most cases, you can check your balances online and review your recent transactions, but some banks offer the ability to transfer money between accounts online. Another option is online bill pay but often there's is a fee for paying bills online. Again, some banks may offer free bill pay to customers with multiple accounts.

Educate Yourself

Your money is important to you and your family. Choosing the right bank to keep it in isn't as simple as selecting the first one in the phone book. Educate yourself about your options to make sure you make the right choice. Ask your friends about their local banking experiences. Check out the banks' web sites to see what services are offered.

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