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Choosing the Best Banking Institution for You

Banks and credit unions offer a lot of perks these days that can help you grow your wealth and save time. When you’re shopping for a new banking home, ask what they offer!

Here are the top five features to look for:

1. Safety

Almost every financial institution you come across is going to be federally insured, but double check anyway! You can look on the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp) and NCUA (National Credit Union Administration) websites to make sure your bank or credit union is listed. These agencies protect your money, making sure you can access some or all of it if the banking institution goes out of business.

2. Low Cost

Do some comparison shopping on annual fees, interest rates, overdraft charges, and any other banking costs you can identify. If you’re worried about overdrafts, see if your checking account can be linked to other accounts (such as a savings account) to avoid overdraft fees.

3. Mobile Access

Many banking institutions offer the ability to deposit checks, transfer money, and pay bills directly through your smart phone. See if the bank or credit union you’re considering has these options, and check out the reviews of their mobile apps.

4. Geographic Coverage

If it’s important to you to be able to access ATM and/or branch services while you’re traveling, compare ATM and branch locations, and ask about fees for accessing your money through other banking institutions’ ATMs.

5. Good Customer Service

Check out other customers’ reviews of the banking institutions you’re considering to make sure people are generally happy with their service and their ability to resolve any concerns—such as lost debit cards or identify theft issues—that arise

And finally, if you’re not happy with your current bank or credit union, talk to them about it! They may be able to offer you products you weren’t aware of that better meet your needs or in other ways resolve your concerns. If they can’t, don’t hesitate to switch banks.

We hope you find a great financial home!

Note: Our Learning Library articles—like all information on this website—are for informational purposes only (see our Legal Disclaimer for more information).
We encourage all consumers to consult with a qualified professional before making any decisions.
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NeighborWorks Orange County empowers people and communities to build wealth through home ownership, financial education, and access to affordable homes.

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