Opening a new bank account is almost a rite of passage, it is one of those quintessentially ‘grown up’ things that we all have to do sooner or later. However, even with the benefit of experience, choosing the right bank account can be a daunting experience. Many of us open an account at a relatively young age and never consider any alternatives. Doing so would simply be too much of a headache, and really, unless we encounter particularly bad service or run into serious issues, there seems to be little point in switching.
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In spite of this, it is still well worth taking the time to familiarize yourself with the different terms and criteria that you need to understand when opening a bank account. Life is unpredictable, and you may well find yourself unexpectedly in the position of needing a new bank account quickly, if you do then these are the things you need to consider.
Look for an Accessible Bank
The first decision you will need to make is which bank you want to bank with. For some people, the choice of potential banks is very limited owing to geography. You will want to choose a bank who has branches within reach of your home. While online and telephone banking now allow you to do much of your interacting with your bank from home, there are still some situations where you will be required to physically attend a branch. These situations often involve account security, and so it is important that you are able to access at least one branch.
Choosing Between Them
Once you have a list of banks that are in reach your next step should be to ascertain what it is that each bank can offer you over its rivals. Many of the big name banks will be able to offer you free ATM withdrawals (something that most of the developed world takes for granted) while local banks sometimes are able to offer the convenience of having their headquarters nearby.
If you qualify for the services of a credit union, then you should opt for them as they can generally offer much better terms and interest rates. This guide makes it easy to compare savings account rates.
Read the Fine Print
The most common mistake that people make when opening a new bank account is not carefully reading all the terms and conditions. The problem isn’t that banks are actively trying to deceive you, that would be the fastest way to losing customers, the issue is more to do with the fact that you and I don’t understand many of the nuances of financial service and regulations.
You should always be sure that you read the fine print and that you understand all the terms and conditions attached to any account you are considering.
Choosing a bank account can seem like a real pain, and the temptation is often to settle for the first account you see, simply to avoid the dreariness that is reviewing terms and conditions. However, it is well worth taking the time to carefully read through the small print and to compare the offerings from different banks. Doing so will save you from all kinds of trouble in the long run.
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