With the new year under way, many of us have been trying to break bad habits and instill new ones in our lives for 2015. Perhaps you’re looking to increase positive relationships and influences while eliminating negative ones. While you’re assessing these positive moves, it’s a good idea to include your bank. That’s right, this can be a good time to look at how your bank is treating you. Check out the following signs it may be time to switch to a better banking option and leave that old bank behind.
1. Fees, Fees, Fees
Banks charge customers fees for certain products and services they use. Some you may not have noticed exist, even if your wallet has. If you are experiencing sneaky (or any unexpected) bank charges like teller, account maintenance, inactivity, transaction or paper statements fees, it may be time to look at your options. These costs can add up quickly and cut into your budget. You may be able to eliminate them if you talk to your bank about them, but go in armed with knowledge that you can get a better deal elsewhere.
Banking should be convenient for you. After all, this is your money so you should be able to access it how and when you want. Being able to access your money when you need it is one of the most important things to consider when choosing banks. If getting cash out regularly is important to you, you want to be sure you can reach branches or find ATMs easily. If you want to be able to monitor your accounts from wherever you are, features like mobile banking and online transactions might be non-negotiable.
3. Customer Service
Some banks do not seem to put a priority on their customer relations. If you feel like your tellers, loan officer or telephone customer service representatives are not adequately or courteously helping through your problems, it may be time to look into a new company that will provide a more pleasant banking experience. Also check for 24/7 help lines or online tools.
4. Lagging Rates
You want the ability to earn a fair interest rate on your savings accounts and possibly even checking accounts. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to make money from the money you already have. If your bank isn’t doing its part, it’s a good idea to look around and even consider online-only banks.
If the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. doesn’t cover your bank, consider it a red flag. This organization is responsible for regulating the banking industry and covers deposit accounts, including checking and savings, most money market deposits and certificates of deposit. It’s important to make sure your cash is safely insured.
6. Change in Lifestyle
If you have recently had a change in your job responsibilities, working hours, marital statusor financial health, you may need to consider a new bank. Anytime your banking needs change, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate whether your bank still meets those needs. For example, if your bank doesn’t have the best mortgage rates and you plan on buying a homethis year, you may want to consider switching to a bank that offers better deals to loyal customers.
If you decide to make a switch, it’s important to compare banks and decide where you (and your money) are going next.
This article originally appeared in Credit.com and was written by AJ Smith.