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Essential Things to Consider When Opening a Bank Account

Essential Things to Consider When Opening a Bank Account

A bank account should be opened after some careful thought process. Here is what you need to check before opening a bank account.
Anuja Marathe Kanhere
Saving your hard-earned money in a bank account is one of the best exercises. However, such decisions are not to be randomly taken. There are several competing banks in the market that may try to entice you with schemes and offers for opening a new account with them. You need to be a smart prospective customer and scrutinize certain things before completing the account opening formalities and signing on the dotted line.

Considerations While Opening a Bank Account

Go through the below points in order to find the perfect bank for saving your money.

Bank's Trustworthiness
One of the foremost points to look out for is the bank's trustworthiness. Since you plan to deposit your hard-earned savings with the bank, it is essential to know that your money is safe and secure with the institution you plan to bank with. You need to make a background check of the bank and find out if the bank has all the necessary certifications to work. You may go online and check the Internet database for level of customer satisfaction pertaining to the bank's reliability.

Bank's Ratings
Sometimes, it is best to choose a bank with a market reputation for its banking service quality standards. Look out for annual rating of banks appearing on the Internet. That is one of the best clue for choosing and ideal bank.

Maintenance of Balance
Whenever you are approached for opening a new account with a bank, check if the bank's policies offer you a facility of zero balance maintenance. It is often noticed that a bank may offer zero balance facility for the first year of holding the bank account only. Subsequently, as your account becomes older, they revert certain rules and expect you to maintain at least a certain minimum amount of dollars in the account. These rules for balance maintenance change from bank to bank as well as for each type of account. At times, these rules change annually as well. As an alert customer, you should get a written set of rules pertaining to balance maintenance before you open your new account. Remember, if you fail to maintain the prescribed account balance, your account might be levied with certain charges.

Bank Charges
There is no service in this world that comes free of cost and that goes for banking too. There is usually a printed charge schedule available in every bank. You can find out if the bank charges money for issuing a new check book, debits cards, etc. Similarly, some banks charge dearly for returning of bounced checks, stop payments, for issuance of statements and other service charges. You need to collect charge schedule of competing banks and find out if the banks are charging competitive rates or not. Often, you can meet the bank's manager and discuss certain terms with him. e.g. If you avail of multiple accounts or promise to keep a huge balance with bank, then chances are that you can negotiate with the manager for a waiver of fees and charges.

Banking Stationery Kit
It is essential to understand what all is included in the banking kit that customers are given when the account is opened. Here you need to be aware that a normal kit contains the bank's check book and a debit card. Nowadays, owing to tremendous competition, banks also offer additional pieces of stationery in their kit. Make sure to find out if the bank offers a free credit card or discount coupons along with the rest of the stationery kit.

Banking Facilities
Banks don't just offer you an account to save your money. They in fact, offer a host of other facilities like home banking, online banking, foreign exchange or Forex services, loans and advances, investment advisory services, safe deposit vaults, etc. You can go online and check for the bank's rating with terms to these facilities. The banks are also rated with reference to their customer service quality, efficiency of banking staff etc. An important point to be checked is that of the bank's phishing attacks record. Phishing attacks refer to the fraudulent transfer of money through online banking facility owing to insecure online banking facilities. You may also find out details about the processing time taken by a bank for fulfilling your service requests in general.

Interest Paid
An important and crucial reason for saving money in a bank is to get monetary returns or interest against it. The banks have a policy to pay interest on certain types of accounts only. Also, the rate of interest applicable on your savings change with every bank's policy and extent of balance maintenance. As alert customers, you need to find out the rate of interest you are liable to receive along with the monthly date on which bank's interest become due.

Proximity of Bank
Often, prospective customers are approached by the marketing team of a bank and coaxed to banking account with them. Point is, your bank should be conveniently located near your home or your workplace. It is pointless to open a bank account in a totally different city or a far off suburb. If you have no option but to open such an account, then find out if you can operate the account from any other branches of the bank as per your convenience.

Opening an account is often a long time relationship between a bank and it's customer. Over a period of time, your account gets connected to various other facilities like Paypal, electronic auto debits, bill payments, etc. It is, therefore, essential to be wise and opt for the best banking relationship from the beginning.