Make Sure Your Bank is Offering You The Right Services

Many people incorrectly believe that all banks offer the same basic services. Most banks do offer at least checking, savings, credit and merchant solutions. The problem is that not every bank treats these services the same way. Some banks charge ridiculously high fees or force their customers into difficult-to-break contracts. Banking services should also be customized to a person's unique financial needs as much as possible. The "right" banking services help you manage your finances and achieve your money-related dreams without a lot of hassle or unnecessary costs. The bank you pick should always offer financial solutions for every stage of your life so that you don't have to look for another bank as your needs change. When picking a bank, consider those banks that at least offer the following in the four most common major banking areas:

Checking Accounts

Always look for a bank that has no monthly or minimum balance fees. A lot of people work paycheck-to-paycheck. Those fees also add up over a year, which is lost money better spent on food, entertainment, a monthly bill or an emergency expense. A bank should also offer low or no fees for branded debit cards or cash withdrawals at ATMs owned by the bank and third parties. Additionally, great banks guarantee that their account holders don't ever have to pay a fee for an overdraft that's under five dollars as long as the account holder replaces the amount within a timely fashion. For balances above five dollars, the bank should offer a grace period even if it charges a one time overdraft fee. The bank should also offer free starter and low-cost standard checks and cash back rewards on signature debit card transactions.

Savings Accounts

As with checking accounts, the bank that you pick should offer a savings account option that doesn't include any sort of monthly fee or minimum balance requirement. Even though a savings account is a type of investment banking product, savings and investment accounts differ in that a savings account often has much lower interest rates, which means that you don't make as much money. A savings account usually provides a backup system to prevent overdrafts and a financial cushion during emergencies when having cash on hand is critical. The savings account should have no maximum daily withdrawal limit. It should also offer fast withdrawal options via transfer into checking or another account and cash withdrawal at all ATMs, including third-party ones. The bank should provide mobile check deposit capabilities that involve a scan or photograph submitted via a secure app.

Lines of Credit

Although all banks offer lines of credit, pick one that offers a wide range of credit solutions, including personal, business, home and vehicle loans and credit cards. The bank should offer clear, reasonable terms based on the type of loan and your financial history and specific situation, including low interest and a variety of repayment options. It shouldn't penalize you by charging a high fee for early repayment. If you think that you might eventually need a payday or installment loan, pick a bank that offers these solutions since it is possible to save more money at a multi-service bank than through a lender that only offers these types of loans. Payday lenders often charge high fees. Also, a customer who shows loyalty by signing up for several products at a multi-service bank typically receives better treatment when asking for a loan and dealing with interest and fees because bank representatives know the borrower and their financial history well.

Merchant Services

Lastly, if you are a current or future business owner, pick a bank that offers merchant services. A single bank that manages everything for a merchant can help move funds faster and more efficiently than several different banks. To guarantee the best service, the bank should have a partnership with a payment processor that has a reputable brand and handles transactions around the world. The payment processor and bank should offer low-cost, point-of-sale terminal or software options, low transaction-processing fees and the capability to process all major credit cards and chip security, gift and loyalty cards. They should also offer a check-processing option. If you decide to buy or lease equipment, the bank's contract terms should offer waived or reduced early-termination and equipment return or restocking fees.

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