One of biggest changes you can make with your money is optimizing your banking system.
Staying with a Big Bank Just Because
If you ask people about their banks I think many would either be apathetic about the no frills of their accounts or upset about being nickeled and dimed with fees.
I understand that banks are a business. They need to make money. On the hand, they are handling our money and we will act accordingly.
When we first got married we opened a joint account at one of the big banks. It was convenient and while the we were going to earning much money, we had a way to pay the bills.
If you read some of my earlier posts you know that we had a horrible time with their customer service and we were getting fees left and right.
Nothing huge, but they were eating away at our balance.
The couple of pennies we got every quarter for interest wasn’t doing anything to make us feel better; in fact it felt like a slap in the face. After dealing with it for so long, we decided to switch. However the other big bank wasn’t really an appealing option.
I had read some personal finance sites and heard about online banking. They offered much higher rates and met most of our needs. However it felt like a risk. This bank was completely online.
We worried what we could do if something went wrong. We decided to test the waters and signed up for ING Direct’s Orange Savings account for a few months. After being satisfied with everything we then switched our checking account to them.
It’s been a great decision for us as we have a hassle free banking and bill paying system with them.
Knowing that other couples are looking at making a switch, I wanted to share some tips on how you two can find the right bank or credit union for your needs.
Finding a Bank That Treats You Fairly and Earns You Money
What should you look for in a bank or credit union? That depends on what important to the two of you.
Whatever you choose, please make sure that it’s FDIC insured bank or a NCUA insured credit union.
We wanted the following for our joint checking and savings:
No monthly maintenance fee: I understand banks have the right to charge what they want, but I expect something in return. With most banks, the fees offer no extra services or benefits for us, so why even get an account with them. We wanted no fees for our checking account.
$0 required minimum balance: I understand that if one gets a basic savings account, you’re not going to get a great rate. But then if the interest rate is pathetic, why would we want to keep a larger balance with our checking account?
Free online BillPay service: This is a must-have on our list as we prefer to handle our bills online due to its convenience and control. Late payments are a thing of the past as we can easily adjust dates and amounts as our budget allows.
Conveniently located ATMs: Whether we went with a bank or credit union we needed a way to access our money after bank hours. Having ATMs nearby is important as we’re trying to avoid fees from out of network ATMs.
Earn some interest rate if possible: I know that the high interest rates of years ago is gone, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get anything. For our savings we’d like to get a competitive rates. Earning interest with our checking account is not necessary, but it’s nice that we bonus.
For some couples have ATMs close by is more important than interest rates or vice versa.
Make sure that you and your hard earned money get the service you deserve from whatever bank or credit union you choose.
Ally Bank is a fast becoming a popular bank among financial bloggers for a few reasons.
They offer both online checking and savings accounts and their interest rates have been a bit higher than some of their biggest competitors. They offer everything on our wishlist, including:
No minimum balance to open an account
Make deposits with Ally eCheck DepositSM , online transfers or free postage-paid envelopes
Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..