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One of the best financial decisions my husband and I made was getting joint accounts for checking and savings.
It has helped us to be on the same page with our money and has helped us communicate better.
Unfortunately, our first bank didn't work out for us, so we decided we needed to look at other options.
If you're not happy with your bank/credit union or you want to optimize your checking and savings accounts, here are some tips to help.
I've also included some alternatives to big banks.
Keep More Money in Your Pocket with These Bank Features
A good starting point is making sure that your bank or credit union helps you to either earn more money and/or keep more money.
We were tired of getting nickeled and dimed so we came up with a general list of what we needed and wanted.
Here's our list:
- FDIC/NCUA insured
- No monthly maintenance fee
- $0 required minimum balance
- Free online billPay service
- Conveniently located ATMs
- Earn some interest rate if possible
Simplify Your Bank Accounts
Keeping it simplified means you’re more aware of where your money is going and you can keep track of all of your financial accounts.
I've written about automating our finances, which is a huge help, but it’s not the end-all solution.
Being conscious of your money can help you make the change that you need with your finances.
Want Better Banking Alternatives?
If you're not happy with your current bank or credit union, then you may want to consider some of the following options for you and your family.
- CIT Bank: Very competitive rates for savings
- Capital One 360: solid Service, good rates
- Ally: Great contender for check and savings
Perspectives About the Best Banks and Credit Unions
Joe D., a Couple Money reader, shared his take on ING Direct:
Our favorite bank is ING Direct (now Capital One 360), the online bank.
We have one master account online, but we can break that account down into individual “envelopes,” allowing us to earmark funds to specific things.
We have virtual envelopes for mortgage, car payment, vacation fund, gift fund, home repair fund, etc. So we can easily keep track of our budget!
I'm glad we're not the only ones who love that feature!
Glen from Free From Broke offered his take on their savings:
Even though rates are much lower these days they are still MUCH more than what my other bank offers.
Everything counts and everything earns more interest. What I would get in cents with my other bank is dollars with ING Direct!
I completely agree with Glen's observation – we've noticed the difference ourselves between our other bank and our savings at ING Direct (now Capital 360).
While we don't have an account from them, I've heard some great things about USAA from a few bloggers.
I thought it would be beneficial for readers to hear from customers.
Jesse at PF Firewall had a lot of wonderful things to say:
They offer full banking services including tons of investment options.
Their banking interface is modern and easy to use and their customer service has gone way above and beyond what my previous bank was ever willing to do, and it seems like the people at USAA actually care about me as a person, and my financial decisions.
I believe USAA's biggest fan is J from Budgets are Sexy.
I recently rang them up to check on a pending transaction, and not only did they give me clear and concise answers, but they looked at my accounts and hooked me up w/ a little financial advice that I could actually use!
Remember how i’m trying to get my Emergency Fund back up and running?
Well…I have been putting the $ into my savings account and was planning on hosting it there, but USAA recommended using a Money Market account for my Emergency Fund.
They have a “Financial Advice” dept. which advised me of the easy online deposits, unlimited withdrawals (unlike savings), and currently the 3.35% yield (also unlike savings).
How awesome is that?
They very well could have answered my original question and quickly got me off the phone like any other place…cough cough COMCAST..cough cough…DMV…haha… but they didn’t.
Their service reps are knowledgeable and intuitive when “selling” their other services. But more importantly, they make my life easier.
How can you not get excited when a bank's service creates a fan like J?
Who you decide to bank with is a personal one; I just want you to be happy with their services.
You've no doubt worked hard for your money and want to build your net worth. Make sure that your bank or credit union is on the same page as you.
Thoughts on the Best Banks and Credit Unions
I'd love to hear your feedback and thoughts on where you bank and where you don't.
Which bank or credit union do you use for your checking and savings account? What are some of the perks of your financial place?