Choosing the right bank account can be difficult, with so many seemingly similar options available to you it can just seem easier to pick the first account you come across. Although many accounts do have similarities, if you don't shop around then you won't get the best deal for your needs. If you want to find the best bank account for your needs then follow these simple steps:
Number of accounts
Many people have a few current accounts as well as one or two savings accounts, which they are not getting the best out of. If you pick the right accounts then you will only need one current account and one savings account for your personal use. If you have a large number of accounts, then now is the time to think about replacing them with one or two accounts that better serve your needs.
Don't be lazy
The first step to finding the right bank account for your needs is to start being active and looking for a new account. Banks rely on the fact that you are too lazy to check your fees to see if they are worth your while. It is likely that you pay fees and rates each month that are more than you need to pay, or are for services that you don't need. If you are proactive then you are more likely to get a good deal.
Once you have decided that your current bank account is not fully serving your needs, then you need to look at what features are most important to you. Are you someone who transfers a lot of money electronically, or do you write cheques to pay for things? Some accounts will have better rates for each of these features, so you need to decide what you are going to use the account for.
One aspect that you need to look at when choosing an account is online banking. If you only need basic checking and savings services, then having online banking might not be worth it. However, if you need to access your money quickly and be able to transfer between accounts or pay bills instantly, then you should get an account that has online banking features.
Current and savings accounts
There are many account variations available for both current accounts and savings accounts, and it is even possible to get combined current and savings accounts. The type of account you need depends on the features you need and the amount of money you will be paying in and out of your account. If you have a large amount of savings, then you want a savings account with the best interest rate to take advantage of this. Also, if you have relatively little money in your current account then you shouldn't opt for an account that requires a minimum amount be paid into the account each month.
Where to look
Now that you know what sort of account you want, you need to find the right institution to suit your needs. Although traditional banks should be your first port of call, you should also look at credit unions and online banks to find the best bank account for your needs.
Peter Kenny is a writer for The Thrifty Scot. Please visit us at Bank Accounts and Current Accounts Visit www.thriftyscot.co.uk