Finding The Right Banking Partner

You work hard for your pay and allowances.  Looking for the right bank or savings institution can be one of the most important decisions facing a service member and their family.  Dealing with your financial institution should not be a headache or a hate love relationship. As you look for a lending partner, there are seven things that as a military person you may benefit from. Perks.  Online banking has become a standard that should be at the very least present on a new account. But there are other features to look for as well.  Free bill pay online, fund transfers for free, and a lack of online minimum balance requirements are other things to watch and look for. Competitive Rates.  Depending on what you are looking for and the type of account, savings or checking, there can be a variety of rates at different banks. When looking for a bank check their web site to find out if there are any rates that are competitive that would work for you. Responsive Service. When you try to get a hold of the bank, how long do you have to wait?  And when contacted by email, how fast is their response?  Excellent service is something that can make all the difference. To test these things, write an email, and call the prospective bank or institutions, and ask questions about access, and note how long you wait on hold. Good Reputation. Ask a friend, and inquire of all the people you know.  Contact the Better Business Bureau, and find out what the reputation is of the bank that you are considering.  Often simply checking with the better business bureau will reveal issues of customer complaints or a lack of customer responsiveness that can make all the decisions involved easier. Costs and Fees.  Think about your banking habits, and then inquire about ATM fees, and out of network fees.  Using another banks ATM or an ATM while traveling can mount up additional costs.   There are some banks that will refund your fees that other ATM’s or banks charge.   Also consider any fees for things like dropping below the minimum balance, or writing a lot of checks each month.  Depending on the usage that you have, try to find a bank that meets your needs without all the fees. Protective Measures. Find a bank that offers you information protection and fraud detection. Also consider if services to detect identity theft are available, check with the online web site for the bank you are considering.  Your privacy and data account information is valuable, what will the bank do to protect you?  Strong Rewards.  Reward programs such as points from card use, or cash back can really add up.  Find out and compare reward programs available.

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