Loyalty and Finance

by Kay Lynn

Photo courtesy of Merce

Loyalty is generally a good thing.  It’s important to be loyal to family, friends and your employer.  But what about loyalty to businesses in general and banks specifically?  Sometimes we are loyal for no reason other than the relationship has a long duration and it’s easier to not make a change.

You, like me, probably know several people who’ve been with the same banking institution for years if not decades. In this age of bank fees, low interest rates and online banking it is important to re-evaluate your current bank. Here are some areas to consider.

Fees. Many banks have raised fees or instituted fees as an alternate source of income. WIth so many banks offering free checking you should never pay service fees just to have an open account. Additionally, compare fees for your common banking services whether it be cashiers checks, stopped payments or frequent in-bank transactions.

Interest rate.  I changed my primary savings account last year to another bank because I was disgusted at the pittance of interest being paid by my “big” bank.  You deserve to get the most from your money; not the guardian!  It can add up over a year the difference between .5% and 2.25%.  You’d refinance your mortgage for less so do it for your savings.

Virtual Banking.  What I didn’t tell you regarding changing banks for a higher interest rate was the new bank is online only.  Yep, no brick and mortar building.  With direct deposit and online banking there is no reason your banking institution needs to be geographically close or even have a physical presence at all. Just use the same criteria you would when selecting a neighborhood bank and that the policies for accessing funds and making deposits meets your needs.

In fact, the online bank I selected, ING Direct, had a great interest rate when I changed last year, but it’s been surpassed by Everbank. I think it’s time for me to make a change again.

Are you stuck in a banking rut? Evaluate the criteria above and see if it’s time for you to move your loyalty to a new institution.

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