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Banking 101: How to Choose a Bank

Banking 101_ How to Choose a Bank


When our clients ask if we can recommend a bank, our pat answer is, “Any bank you are comfortable with,” as we are not in the business of promoting any one bank in particular.

And that's true. There are plenty of good banking options—what it really boils down to is personal preference.

When choosing a bank, you need to decide if you can navigate online banking or if you prefer face-to-face interactions. You might find that a nearby branch location is very important if you make frequent, in-person deposits or withdrawals. Or you might need a bank with nationwide ATMs because you travel frequently. Access to 24/7 customer service might be the most critical factor for you.

Big Banks

The big banks (Chase, US Bank, etc.) offer endless products and services. Fees tend to be on the higher side but are often waived (by setting up direct deposit for example). Savings account interest rates are typically very low. There are branch and ATM locations nationwide.

Local Banks

Local banks tend to have more community focus and many people enjoy having personal relationships with a real (live) banker. Products and services are usually adequate, fees are reasonable, and rates on Savings and CDs tend to be slightly higher than the national banks.

Credit Unions

Credit unions have a strong community focus. You need to become a ‘member’ but it is not typically an exclusive club. Products and services are sufficient. Fees are low and free checking is the norm. Savings accounts rates are higher than big banks but lower than online banks.

Online Banks

Online banks have established themselves as a good option and interest rates are almost always higher than other banks. Most online accounts have no service fees attached, unless you bounce checks or need specialized transactions, such as wire transfers.

Note that although it may seem that we can do without the brick-and-mortar bank account, physical branches offer some valuable services that we would miss if we didn’t have them:

  • Same-day service for Cashier’s Checks, Money Orders or Money Wires
  • Unlimited cash withdrawals
  • Safe Deposit Boxes
  • Notary Services
  • In-Person meetings

Okay. Now I’m going to reveal to you the banks that we like here at FA Bean Counters.

Just kidding. I’m definitely not going to do that.

But, without mentioning any banks by name, we prefer banks that have the technology to communicate with QuickBooks Online. Those banks will automatically download your transactions into QuickBooks, saving you the hassle of  manually entering credits or deposits; this is excellent for tracking expenses and income.

We prefer banks that allow accountants (read-only) access to be granted to us by the account owner.

And lastly, we love banks that will connect with document and storage software (we use Hubdoc) so we can reconcile accounts with ease.

Have questions about choosing a bank? As always, we're here to help.

Click here to contact the Bean Team! 

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