How To Choose a New Bank

There are banks all over the place. If you’re thinking about changing your bank anytime soon, it might be tempting to just go with whatever bank is closest to your home or workplace. But as with all financial decisions, deciding on which bank to use is not a choice you should make lightly. If you aren’t sure what criteria you should look for whole choosing a new bank, these questions are a good place to start.

Which banks are available in your hometown and the places you frequent?

This is probably the first thing you should consider when shopping around for a new bank. Your friend on the opposite coast might rave about their bank, but if the closest branch is two hours away, it might not be in your best interest to choose it. Additionally, if you travel often for work or split your time each year between multiple destinations, you’ll want to make sure you have access to your bank in each of those places. But that being said…

Do you want a physical bank presence?

Are you the type of person who likes to go into the bank every week to deposit your paycheck and pick up a few rolls of quarters for the laundry machine, or do you tend to handle everything over your phone’s apps and the ATM machine? The answer will help you determine whether you should go with a traditional, brick and mortar bank or an online-only one, like Ally. If you get by just fine without a physical bank to go to, an online bank might be a better bet.

Do you want a traditional bank or credit union?

Credit unions appeal to the individual and are more localized than a traditional bank. They may have lower interest rates for loans and are not for-profit organizations, meaning they’re more likely to have your best interests in mind. However, they usually offer fewer locations than a traditional bank and may lag behind in the technology they offer (e.g. mobile deposits).  A traditional bank could be better for those who need business loans, or people who travel a lot because they are likely to have a presence in more locations.

Does the bank you’re considering want to charge you to set up an account?

If they do, consider it a big red warning sign. When you deposit your money with a bank, remember that you’re doing a favor for them, not the other way around. You should not have to pay a monthly fee on any of your accounts to keep your money with a bank—in fact, many banks offer sign up bonuses in the form of cash, electronics, or even the tried and true free toaster.

Even as you ask yourself these questions and discover the answer, don’t just stop there! Thank back to what positive (and negative) experiences you’ve had with your former bank as a good way to assess what qualities are most important in a new one.

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48 Comments

        • No Do not go to Wells! I opened an account there in march of 2018 and every single month I’ve had major problems. My account was in the negative due to a withdraw I never gave permission and on there statements they tell you your negative or positive total but won’t give you the withdraw by the company who had no right. Then I was said to have an online account in which I never set up hate financial stuff online. Then I call the 24-hour banking line 24-hour banking line and during the phone call which my boys was supposed to activate me but I just went through anyway no matter whether my voice was there or not they told me through the automated system “would you like to transfer funds?” the first time I ever heard that cuz I only had $0.17 in the bank so I didn’t know what the heck they were talking about never heard that option before so I said yeah because I was curious and then my funds were at zero but who knows what was in there before I hadn’t checked in a month just last time I knew it was 14 cents and maybe I I don’t know I mean I know it was at $0.14 and then when I when I told the banker he didn’t know what the hell I was talking about he told me I was at 0 so then I had to go to the bank cuz I know I had $0.14 and I get down there and they’re like yeah you have $0.14 I’m like what do you mean I have $0.14 and I don’t have a car and two babies in diapers so I was really upset because if I had $0.14 then why did they say different confirming what the automated system said for one why did it say transfer funds. so it didn’t make no sense and there’s many many many other things I just had to get another card I had a close one account got two or three different card.right now it’s open and it’s accumulating negative amounts. this is my new account after shady with draws I contested and I put 20 in bank in october. havent bought or used my card whatsoever . There allowing withdrawal after withdrawal and it turned to be owned by both wells and flagstaff now But allowing withdraws from unknown source when I haven’t even used my new card and it went from negative 8 and I went to close my account and just pay the 8 even though I lost 20 somehow and have to pay 8 to lose my 20 and it was the last day before switching over to flagstaff and I go up to door and there locked warned everyone about the new bank plus some but never mentioned closing early this day. and she points to a memo on the door ( like seriously)?then neg twenty something and I don’t even know where cuz it ain’t from me and it just from in 1 1 and 1/2 months it’s went from from I had $20 in there I haven’t gotten nothing I haven’t done nothing and now I’m negative $87 and what’s sad about it is it’s funny that they’ll do the withdrawals for these bigger amounts 20-here 30 there whatever and then they’re charging me 30 for not being able to pay it which I’m poor and I can’t, plus shouldn’t have to and it’s sad along time ago I tried to get something at grocery store for kids and I had a dollar in there and the thing I wanted was like $2 and I thought you know what I don’t usually do this but I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to try to see if I can get in and then there would be no because I’d already had problems with them with about companies withdrawing but I never tried to withdraw it was something I didn’t have so I thought I’d try it this time so I figure I can pay the extra dollar and whatever I mean if they could do it and it was like you know not real then I can do it when it is rehome right kind of like reading things service so I tried and I couldn’t do it it wouldn’t allow me to just go a dollar over but it’s allowing these companies to go 20 and 30 and then they are allowing themselves at 30 on top of that let me know and none of it makes sense they’re Crooks I mean it’s bad it’s really bad and they don’t need to just change the bank they need to change all the people they need to shut down and or be closed. I have found alot of people say bad things I know it’s true bc of it constantly happening to me it’s not just once or twice it’s constant. Do yourself a favor run far away from them.

          • I completely agree same type of situation only I had deposited money it was there .
            Yet they overdrew my account over n over again and it was Chase n bank of America n Wells Fargo ..
            No joke people its real and not at all funny .No Not One Bit .
            Truly

          • Get a hold of yourself. Get another bank. Chase is always offering promotions. (You’re funny and I did enjoy your post.) Peace.

          • I have had the same trouble! It went on for 7 months, I was overdrafted every month.I went to the Bank and they tried to tell me they had put the money back in my account. I spent alot of hours figuring, opened 2 more accounts , and I didn’t even activate thle temporary card or the new accout, but I was already 86.00 iin the negative. I was going to the Bank every 2 or 3 days. I finally got all my statements and done all the work mtself. Im on a fixed income and I know what I basically spend a month. After I went over it all . I had opened 3 accounts and money was still missingand I was out over 300 dollars. It took alot of my time anfd they had not put any money back in my account, it showed on thier computer bot not my statements. Iwas charged an overdraft fee , with money in the Bank!I went to the Bank constantly, I had to wait and sometimes never seen. I had seen several different women who worked there, finally I kept waiting for just the one, because when I would see different ones , it took forever to explain and they always had an answer. I told them I was broke and it was the day before they closed for Christmas, it was clear they owed me and they said I could get my money, they had deposited 99.00 dollars on November statementand it was when they overdrafted me with money in the Bank.. And had put back another 80.00 . I was to get 152.00 that day, but I got 7.00! I was furious . It was Christmas and I had no gas no money and I prayed I made it home! They did wish me a Merry Christmas as I left crying. The branch manager, I went to, took me to another lady and went back to her office and shut the door. I didnt see her till after Christmas when I finally got 147.00. I don’t think I would have gotten anything if I hadn’t done the work myself and been so persistant. It did not matter to them all the hours I put in doing their job, wasting my gas, the aggregation and going home the day before Christmas Eve with 7 dollars.I believe, bit cant prove that its someone in the Bank doing this. I guess thats why they paid out millions in a lawsuit and are currently in another one.

  1. I really enjoyed the article. These are the questions that every child before they graduate from high school should learn and cover more subjects. The racial questions and are you of Hispanic descent Goodbye. Why does that even matter? Lenders and banking institutions have so many code its ridiculous Its that small net of time between high school and college that they get you and we need to say STOP

  2. Yes i would like a bank account, i just cant fund the account just yet. Im a student do to start school. I am a single parent thats on her way to become that independent mother once again. My son and i love life and cherish every moment we spend together.

  3. The info is truly helpful. This is What we need to make our best choice when it comes to my future with my money.my children and grandma benefit from your advice. Thank you so very much. C

  4. Community bank is also the largest one around here. I need a new savings account. Maybe also bank of Liberty would have to be real good.

  5. No on Wells, USBank, Chase, and B of A, for all the same reasons and experiences above…40 years + of experience, looking for an honest one with CS that goes beyond greeters, water, and coffee. More recently…. New inexperienced and powerless associates, employees, and call center robots. Any suggestions?
    Just look at the law suits against all of them!

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