How to Choose a Bank: The Ultimate Checklist for Selecting the Best Bank

Do you have a good bank?

Do you need a good bank? Is your current bank doing enough? Let’s find out! 

The best banks have the best employees and the most satisfied customers. Choosing a bank is an important decision. Good banks have a few common characteristics and we have them listed for you. 

We live in the best of times when it comes to options. Craving Sushi on a Tuesday night? You’ll find multiple choices for dine-in and takeout. Need a ride to the airport? There’s Uber, Lyft, and other cab services to pick from. In fact, our lives are built around making choices at every step. Some decisions are short-term and can be changed at any time without significant impact. Others are deeper and could potentially lead to long-term commitment. Your bank is one such choice that has a greater impact on your life and finances than an impulse-buy at a checkout aisle of Target. 

A major part of adulting is taking charge of your finances. Banks are an unavoidable institution if you’re a grown-up living in society. Not all banks or financial services companies are the same. And not all of them offer the same services. Your choice of a bank largely determines your finances and financial future. With over 5,000 banks and savings institutions in the Unites States, it gets increasingly trickier to pick one. You can of course, narrow down to banks in your state. But what other filters do you need to choose the right bank? Finances are no joke, and you want to make the right decision. You want to be empowered with the right tools and insight. We’ve spent a few coffee-fueled hours to create a checklist for you.  

checklist for finding a good bank

If you’re getting overwhelmed, we’re here to help. As always, we try do what we can to assist you in making informed decisions. After thorough research, we have identified 6 attributes to look for in a bank. These parameters will help you identify the best banks and select one of them. Check out our list below:

1. FDIC – insured  

First and foremost, every good bank is federally insured. It is one way of knowing that your money is safe. The FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) guarantees sums of up to $250,000 in deposit accounts. If you bank with a credit union, make sure they are insured with the NCUA which offers protection like the FIDC.

2. Reasonable fees 

Bank fees includes a whole plethora of fees that could be charged by a financial institution. When choosing the right bank for yourself, make a comparative analysis of what different banks charge in fees. ATM fees, monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, transaction fees, processing fees etc. all add up to reflect what you’re expected to spend. The goal is to find a bank that has lower fees. Some banks waive off their fair share of fees. A little digging around will help you eliminate ones that over charge.  

3. Excellent customer service

What makes a bank a good bank? The people that operate and run it at every level – from the teller to the CEO. It goes without saying that we all like to be treated with respect. This is particularly true if we’re a paying customer of the business. You want to feel welcome at your bank. It is important that their staff is friendly and helpful. Of course, an employee might be having a rough day and may not be their usual self. But nothing can excuse poor customer service. Customer experience is an essential parameter to consider when choosing a bank. You want your phone and in-person transactions to be handled in a polite and professional manner. Banks are supposed to have employees that care about customer experience.

4. Easy online banking

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that human beings are great at adapting. We switched from several traditional services to their digital variants. Many of us worked remotely, ordered takeout, got our groceries delivered, and helped our kids transition to online learning. Some of us might have had a smoother change than others. But one thing that stands out is the convenience of online banking. Managing your money from your mobile device or laptop is a basic feature every bank should have. The best banks take it a step further and create a user-friendly interface. They employ an easy-to-use navigation system on their website to make the process simple. On our list of attributes, easy online banking earns a solid spot.  

5. Special savings accounts

Checking accounts usually have very low interest rates. Consider opening a savings account if a bank offers competitive rates. Good banks offer special savings accounts among other perks. Such incentives are a strong reason why people bank with them. You could explore some high-interest savings account options from a few top banks. If you care about how much interest you could earn on your savings, finding out a bank’s savings account options help you get informed.

6. Low-rate loans

Whether you need a loan right away or not, it is a smart move to find out the loan options offered at your bank. It is useful to have knowledge and information. Although you don’t have to get a loan from your primary bank, it is convenient to do so. Sometimes you’ll get special offers if you’re a loyal customer with them. Try to find out their rates on mortgages, personal, and auto loans. Compare rates with other banks and weight your pros and cons before deciding. 

Businesses are built on customer loyalty and banks are no exception. Banks and financial institutions are always trying to improve their services to stay ahead of the competition. When a bank offers stellar products and services, it can retain and grow their customer base. As a potential customer, you could draw comparisons among a few using our checklist and make a choice. Quantifiable parameters like interest rates, fees, loan rates etc. can be found out using the internet or a phone call. Try to find out about experiences existing customers of a bank or credit union have had. Would they recommend others to join their bank? Use your judgement and rational thinking when reading reviews from the internet. We hope our checklist makes it easier for you to choose a good bank and choose right. 

Anna Reeve Net Pay Advance author headshot
Anna Reeve

As someone that spent a lot of time reading as a kid, I was deeply intrigued by the written word from an early age. My first full-time job post college was writing content for high-end fashion websites. Following my graduation from the MBA program at Pittsburg State University, I found employment in Marketing. For the last couple of years, I have been creating content on several platforms. I am a proud dog-mom to my black labs – Sky & Harry Potter (took fangirling to a whole new level there!), a connoisseur of Indian cuisine, a mediocre artist, and a reality TV addict.

Net Pay Advance is a licensed loan provider, locally owned and operated in Wichita, Kansas. Our No. 1 priority is helping you, the customer, by providing access to the cash you need and helping support financial independence goals with valuable, informational, and entertaining content. Stay up-to-date on our posts by following the Net Pay Advance Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages. Our organization is committed to transparency; learn more about our authors and editorial policy. The information provided within this blog is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or legal advice. Please contact us if you have any questions.

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