I’ve been a Bank of America customer for 12 years or so, ever since I moved to Boston from New York. I picked them because they were everywhere, and I didn’t ever want to switch banks again. When the big “Bank Transfer Day” came, I decided to switch banks too. I was annoyed about the plans for the new $5/month fee, but I wasn’t all that happy with Bank of America anyway.
I decided on Cambridge Savings Bank because they are close by, they refund all ATM fees other banks charge you, and they pay 2% interest on checking account balances. (BTW — there are many banks that pay more than 2% interest on checking accounts. Check out depositaccounts.com to find banks near you. Don’t forget to change the filter options to show local banks and credit unions.)
However, I still don’t like switching banks, so I searched around for questions to ask a potential bank before you open an account. Here are the questions I came up with:
- Do you have overdraft fees and how can you avoid them?
- What fees are there for checking accounts?
- What fees are there for savings accounts?
- Are there fees to transfer money to/from my account?
- Do you charge debit card fees?
- How many ATMs are available in my area?
- Which ATMS accept deposits?
- How long does it take for a deposit to clear?
- Are large deposits delayed? How much is a large deposit? How long is the delay?
- When we travel to… XXX how can we get money and are there fees?
- XXX == countries and states and regions you typically travel to
- How do we make deposits?
- Bank ATMs? Smartphone app? Bank network ATMs? Local branch? Non-local branch? Affiliate bank branch? Computer application with a scanner? Mail?
When things go wrong:
- What happens if we lose a debit card?
- What are your procedures if a card is stolen?
- Do you look out for potentially fraudulent charges?
- What happens if we become overdrawn?
- How do charge disputes work?
- How do I qualify for your best rate?
Anyway, it helped us choose our bank. Hopefully it will help someone else too.