Are you looking forward to interacting with employees from your bank or do you feel like every trip to the teller’s window ends in a headache? A lot of people are loyal to a bank for reasons that don’t have to do with customer service. If you live in a desolate area there might only be one local bank for you to choose from. You might have opened up your checking accounts so long ago that you don’t want to go through the hassle of transferring all of your money and setting up automatic bill pay with a new bank.
Really though, banks are supposed to be providing their customers with a service, so if you have to think too long or too hard about what you’re getting from your current bank, it may be time to reconsider your loyalty.
Personal Checking and Minimum Balances
For the most part, there’s no good reason to pay a fee to maintain a personal checking account. Banks make money simply by having customers who maintain positive balances. So, if you work with a bank who makes you feel like it’s a privilege to pay $15 a month just to keep an account active, you should search for less expensive banking options. Likewise, to get a personal checking account for free, you do have to actually keep money in your bank and your bank may also require a minimum balance. In most cases, banks don’t mind if you keep as little as $200 in your account at all times, but sometimes, the minimum required balance can be several thousand dollars.
Money Deposits and Fund Availability
When you’re depositing a check for less than $5,000, it really shouldn’t take you more than 48 hours to get access to all of your funds. Some banks can make it harder for consumers to get access to their funds immediately, even if they are dealing with wire transfers and direct deposits. If you have a checking account that is in good standing then your checks, cash deposits, and electronic money transfers should be made available to you in short order.
If you consistently have problems waiting for checks to clear and cash deposits to post, go and open a checking account at a bank that cares about you as a long-term customer.
Other Checking Account Perks
Do you get your paper checks for free, access to a financial advisor, or simply know that you will be treated with respect every time you go into a local bank branch? If you have good experiences with your bank even when complications arise, you’re getting more than the bare minimum out of your checking account.
At the same time, you have to be the type of customer that banks love to hold onto. Don’t constantly overdraw your account or dispute charges all the time. Just as you can voluntarily open your bank account, a financial company can decide that maintaining your business isn’t worth the trouble.
There are plenty of personal checking accounts available for students or people who are just learning about banking. Use your savings account to hold funds that you don’t expect to tap into and keep your checking account active for paying regular bills. Additionally, use a debit card to make purchases on the spot when you can’t get into a bank branch.