Selecting A Bank

 

Basics

You probably have a few, if not many, choices of banks where you live or go to school.  But like shopping for anything, you should look around first, especially when it comes to banks.  You need to visit the branch office where you think you will conduct most of your banking and bring a list of questions to ask the new account officer.  In Selecting A Bank you have to ask a lot of questions and compare the answers.  Go in and sit down with a bank account executive.  Don’t be afraid or think as a teen you are too small of an investor.  They will eagerly want to talk to you since they realize first you are smart, since you want to open a bank account, and second that as a young investor you have great earning potential.  Also, don’t be afraid to say; “before I invest I want to visit a few banks to see which one is right for me”.  If you don’t understand an answer, make sure you keep asking questions until you do.  As a minor, in most cases, you will also need a parent as a co-signor, but since it will be your account, make sure you are the one asking the questions.  If you are an older teen and have an idea where you might want to go to college, find out if the bank has a branch in that town.

 

 

Questions To Ask Before You Sign Up

Here are a few questions you should get answers to.  Some of the information you can get from the bank’s website and brochures, some you will have to ask your local banker.  Compare, read the small print, possibly put a spreadsheet together, then make your decision. 
  • Is it convenient to where I live, work, or go to school?
  • What are the banks hours and are there at least some times where I can actually go into the bank and speak to someone if I need to?
  • What are the age limits for the type of account I want to open (checking vs. saving)?  Do my parent(s) have to be co-signature(s) on my account?
  • What is the minimum amount I have to put in to open an account?
  • Is there a minimum amount I have to keep in the account so I won’t be charged a monthly fee?
  • Will I be penalized if I don’t keep my money in the account for a certain amount of time?
  • What, if any, are the monthly service fees?
  • What services does the bank offer?  Does the bank charge for these services and how much?  Determine what service you might need and compare the rates.
  • If it is a savings account, how much interest will I earn?
  • Is my checking account an interest bearing account?  If so what are the restrictions?
  • How is that interest compounded? see Simple & Compound Interest & The Rule Of 72 .
  • Can I get online statements or are they mailed?
  • Does the bank offer online banking?
  • Does the bank offer free online banking with bill pay?
  • Can I do online banking through my mobile phone?
  • Can I get an ATM (Debit) Card (see ATM & Debit Cards)?  If so are there any fees associated with this?  Are there any restrictions?  If I use the ATM card at a different bank, is there a fee?
  • Am I eligible for a credit card?  If so, do my parents have to be co-signers(s)?  What are the requirements, limitations?  What is the interest you have to pay on the credit card and how is it calculated?
  • Are checks free or discounted?
  • Does the bank provide free or what are the fees for:  Money Orders, Cashier's Check  (also known as bank check, official check, demand draft, teller's check, bank draft or treasure's check - which is a check  guaranteed by the bank) or Traveler’s Checks?
  • Does the bank provide free Notary Services (proof of signature on legal documents)?

Types Of Services Banks Offer

 

 

In generally, most banks offer many different kinds of financial services.  Financial services are a broad term which refers to the business of providing services related to your various financial needs.  They also provide convenient service.  You need to find out what they offer and the costs associated with them.  These may include:

 

  • Checking and Savings Accounts
  • Retirement Accounts
  • Mortgages
  • Credit Cards
  • Alternative Investments – such as mutual funds and other securities
  • Financial Management
  • Safe Deposit (a box inside a vault in a bank to keep important papers or valuables) services
  • Various types of consumer loans
  • For more information on banks you to might want to check out these two sites:
http://www.bankrate.com
http://www.helpwithmybank.gov