Banking on Good Banks: Guidelines to Help You Choose the Right Bank for You

More often than not, we make decisions impulsively, without dwelling on too much thought about what we want and without considering other options, guidelines and criteria to base our decisions with. We can always get away with this on small decisions such as deciding on the flavor of Starbucks coffee we want; whether this is decaf or not; medium or large; with cream or without and many other trivial options.

This is okay but this is not applicable when we are considering things that concern the financial aspect of our lives - financing, refinancing, mortgages, insurance, investments and yes, even choosing the bank where we could save and store our money. Here are some guidelines you have to consider when you want to invest portions of your money into banks:

1. Location. When choosing banks, you have to consider their locations. If you see yourself visiting your bank or banks in a regular basis, then the best option would be to look for banks nearest to wherever you conduct your business or in your home.

2. Accessibility of ATM Machines. Choose banks where a sufficient number of their ATM machines are accessible to you.

3. In relation to number 2, check the functionalities offered by the ATM machines of these banks. Check if it has the following features: - Do the banks' ATM machines allow deposits to be made in it? - Do the banks' ATM machines printout statements about your accounts such as your available balance, etc.? - Do the banks' ATM machines enable a client to order a check book?

4. Telephone Banking. If you are one of those people who cannot go to banks during banking hours, then one of the features you have to look for in banks is the availability of telephone banking service. With this, you can make queries and transactions in your banks anytime, anywhere usually 24/7 all year. Telephone Banking allows you to do some of these transactions in your banks: - Transfer your money from your accounts in your banks to pay your bills - Telephone banking in banks enables cancellation and change of current orders - Check the balance of your account - Telephone banking in banks allows you to apply for other products or services from banks

5. Internet Banking. Internet banking features in banks also allows the following services offered by Telephone Banking wherein transactions and inquiries can be done via the Internet through the Internet portals of these banks.

If you are a business person and you need a bank or banks for your small business, here are some other aspects and guidelines you have to consider when choosing the right bank/banks for you:

1. Aside from the first general consideration on the location of the banks, you have to consider if the banks understand the nature of the business you are involved in.

2. Consider also if some of the banks will be able to allow you to deal with the senior employees/executives in the bank. This way, problems concerning your business banking needs will be addressed easily.

3. Check banks that offer SBA - Small Business Administration - Loans. This can help you should different needs arise in your business that will compel you to make a loan.

4. It is good to consider banks where the capitalization rate is greater than six percent. This will ensure you that the banks you will be working with will still be present while you are still in business

5. Consider the competitiveness of the banks by checking how much they charge for every transaction you make.

6. Aside from these, check also the competitiveness of the interests and other fees that come with their credit cards.

7. Check the stipulations on balances for checking accounts that bear interests.

8. Check if the banks you are considering are members of the FDIC - Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve Bank and lastly,

9. Look for banks that are capable of giving service that you and your business might need ahead of time.

Keep all these in mind when considering the right bank/banks and surely, you will never go wrong. Good luck!

David Arnold Livingston is a business owner and money manager with many years of successful financial experience. Visit: for lots of great banking information and ideas.

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