Is it Time to Break Up with Your Bank?
How long ha
ve you been with your current bank? Do they treat you well? Even if they don’t, chances are you probably stay with them since the idea of moving on and starting over seems like such a hassle. So how do you know when it’s finally time for you to break up with your bank and find a new one?
Two Cents recently highlighted some signs that it’s time to leave your bank. The first big red flag is an increase of fees. Maybe your checking account was free when you opened it but over the years you’ve been hit with “maintenance fees” for dipping below a certain balance. This is unfortunately a fairly common practice among many big banks these days but it could be worse — some banks have the audacity to charge a “returned mail fee” if you don’t update your address on file. The good news is that banks are required to update you when they change their fee and penalty policies and so, if you get one of these notices, you’ll know that it may be time to say “goodbye.”
Whether you’re going into a branch or conducting your business online, your bank should provide you with quality customer service. A big reason customers are loyal to their institutions is that they feel the bank will have their back should something happen. While some banks are willing to go the extra mile for their account holders, others remain strict and stingy. For example, Two Cents shared an anecdote about their former bank refusing to waive overdraft fees that resulted from fraudulent charges. If your bank isn’t willing to give you help when you need it most, maybe they’re not the ones for you.
While proximity to your local branch used to be an important part of choosing a bank, online services have really stepped up over the past few years. Today many institutions offer the ability to transfer money, pay bills, and even deposit checks without leaving the house. If these types of services are important to you then you’d be best to find a bank with a strong online portal. Just because your bank might be living in the stone age doesn’t mean that you have to too.
So if you are ready to move on the good news is that finding a new bank is actually easier today than it ever before. Sites like Bankrate can offer you details on what types of accounts each institution offers and what their fee schedules look like. There are also a multitude of institution types to choose from including credit unions and local banks. Additionally there are now online-only banks like Ally and Simple that might be worth looking at.
Remember: as a customer, the banks should be working for you. Because of this you shouldn’t be afraid to show them who’s boss if they’re not up to snuff. If your current bank is overcharging you, not taking proper care of you, or are behind the times when it comes to technology, it may be time to make a clean break and take your money somewhere else.