5 Things You Must Do Before Opening a New Bank Account

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Having a checking and savings account is one of the cornerstones of financial independence, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to make mistakes when choosing and opening an account.

We want to help protect your money, so here’s our easy, five-step guide to savvy account shopping.

1. Verify FDIC Coverage

Before you look at anything a bank or credit union has to offer, make sure they are protected. Check their website to see if you can find the FDIC logo on their page (NCUA for credit unions). That means your funds are federally insured and protected up to at least $250,000. If the bank isn’t protected, or other red flags pop up while you’re researching, stay clear.

2. Evaluate Interest Rates

You don’t want your money to just sit there in your accounts, right? You want it to earn something. Make sure you compare interest rates on different accounts offered by the banks you’re considering. This will also help you decide which accounts are best for your financial goals.

3. Consider Your Lifestyle

Convenience should be a factor when considering a new bank or credit union. Whether that’s having lots of locations in many different cities because you travel a lot, or branches within walking distance of your home or office, or being able to do all of your banking from your computer or smartphone, make sure the bank you choose has the convenience you want so you can bank on your terms.

What are your plans for the future? Do you have kids, or want to have kids? Thinking about purchasing a home, or car? What about retirement? If you like having the convenience of being able to do all your banking in one place, see if the banks you’re considering have the products and services you want. College funds, mortgages, car loans, IRAs, Money Market accounts — can you get what you want at the rate you want with these banks or credit unions?

4. Decide How Much Money You’ll Keep, and in What Accounts

When considering accounts, especially if you’re thinking about those high-yield investment options, it’s important to have a good idea how much money you’ll be keeping in those accounts. This could help you determine what accounts are a better fit for you and your financial needs.

So if you have a nest egg, even a small one, you’ll be able to earn a higher interest rate on an account that you can commit to keeping a certain amount of money in. It’s smart to investigate your account and interest rate options at various banks.

5. Read Carefully

Fine print can get you if you’re not careful. Take the time to read and ask questions about the fine print that comes with the accounts you’re considering. Make sure you know things like:

  • What happens if you bounce a check?
  • What fees are associated with each account?
  • Are there ATM fees? Or out-of-network ATM fees?
  • Are there debit card fees or restrictions?
  • How much do checks cost?
  • Can you do direct deposits?
  • What happens if your bank cards are lost or stolen?
  • Do you have access to online banking, online bill pay, mobile banking? Are there fees?

At Dime, we want to help you make the smart decision for your finances. If you have any questions about our personal banking options, visit your local branch or speak to a Dime representative today at 1-800-321-DIME (3463).  

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