Selecting A Bank


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)?