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How: Find the Right Fit

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With so many types of products, accounts, and services to choose from, how do you know which to choose?  The answer really depends on what you need and want to do with your money. For example:

- How often do you deposit or withdraw money?
- Do you prefer to write checks, use a debit card, or transfer money electronically when
  making withdrawals from your account?
- Do you need access to your money immediately and/or looking to set money aside for
  an emergency or future use?
- Are you looking for a one-stop shop to address your other financial needs such as insurance,
  investing, or retirement planning, etc.?

Once you have identified what your banking objectives are, it’s important to remember that for each one of the products, accounts, & services available, there may be a cost or fee.  How much you pay to have and maintain an account depends on a lot of things. Make sure you know up front about the fees.  Here is a list of common banking costs and fees:

- Application fees                       - Low-balance fees

- ATM withdrawal fees                - Monthly account fees

- Balance inquiry at an ATM        - Online banking fees

- Bill pay service fees                 - Overdraft fees or overdraft protection

- Check order                            - Withdrawal penalties on CD’s

- Currency exchange fees           - Safe deposit box rental

- Interest charged on a loan       - Stop payment on a written check

- Late payment fees for loans     - Transaction fees
  or credit card


Here are some additional questions you may want to ask.

- Are fees reduced or waived if you have other accounts at the institution?
- Are fees reduced or waived if you agree to directly deposit your paycheck
  or a government payment, like a social security check?
- Does the institution charge a fee for closing an account soon after it is opened?
- What happens if you deposit a check written by another person, and it bounces?
  Are you charged a fee?
- What are the protections for unauthorized purchases on debit and credit cards
  or if I use choose credit for a debit transaction?

Lastly, considering the following in your choice:

- Interest rates earned on checking or savings products
- No or low minimum balances
- No or low account or ATM fees
Flexible due dates on loan payments
- Unlimited transactions
- Convenient branches and/or ATM’s nearby
- Branches with extended hours
- Friendly, helpful staff

Click Finding the Right Fit and Stash Your Cash Comparison to download worksheets which will help you choose the right institution and/or account for your situation.


Next up:  Opening an Account