What looks on paper like a no-fee or low-cost account may not actually be the one that is best suited to your needs. Here are 10 questions to ask to help figure out if your account is right for you, according toettermoneyhabits.bankofamerica.com.
- Can I use an ATM for free?
ATMs allow you to withdraw money from your current account without visiting a bank branch. But some withdrawals could cost you. Many banks charge you to use machines operated by other banks or third parties, and those fees can add up quickly. If a bank has a large network of ATMs, you have better access to no-fee withdrawals. In addition, some banks reimburse you for ATM fees.
- What happens if I try to withdraw more money than I have in my account?
Withdrawing more than the amount in your account is called an overdraft. Unless you have opted into a bank’s overdraft service, your transaction will typically be declined. Overdraft service generally allows your transaction to go through, but you will be charged a fee. You can also enroll in optional overdraft protection, which allows you to cover an overdraft with money from another account, such as your savings or a credit card. Keep in mind that this protection can result in a fee, and if you pay for the overdraft via a credit card, it may also be subject to interest.
- Is there a fee?
Some banks charge monthly fees to maintain your account. In many cases, though, they waive those fees based on certain conditions, such as regular paycheque direct deposits.
- Do I need to keep a certain amount of money in my account?
Some banks require you to pay a fee if you don’t maintain a minimum or average balance in your account, though those fees also may be waived based on certain conditions.
- Is there a branch nearby?
Unless you don’t mind doing all your banking online or over the phone, you might want to consider an institution with a branch close to your work or home. It may be worth spending some time on the bank’s website to figure out what transactions will require you to visit a branch.
- Can I access my account information online?
You may be able to check balances, transfer money, receive statements and pay bills online. If you don’t have easy access to a branch, online banking can be very valuable.
- Is mobile banking available?
Some banks have mobile apps for convenient banking on the go. For example, you may be able to deposit cheques by taking pictures of them with your phone. You may want to consult reviews of your bank’s app to see what specific services are offered, since it can vary.