The best type of bank or credit union for each type of person

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Banks come in many different flavors, and there are even more options now that online banks have expanded the choices no matter where you live. With so many services available from all kinds of banks and credit unions online, you no longer need to pick one that’s in your neighborhood – although you can still find local branches if you want one. face-to-face relationship – and you can have more than one bank to suit different needs. For example, you might choose a local bank for your daily checking account, but an online bank or credit union that offers higher interest rates for your emergency fund and short-term savings. Consider the following types of banks depending on what is important to you.

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The starter

When starting out in your career, finding a bank or credit union with low fees and low minimums to open an account is key. Beware of overdraft fees and insufficient funds fees, especially if your balance tends to drop just before payday. These fees can swell if you overspend. Use the bank’s app to check your balance in real time and sign up for direct deposit so your paychecks arrive in your account as quickly as possible. Watch out for other fees — make sure the bank has convenient, free ATMs and doesn’t charge fees if your balance drops below a certain level. It can also be helpful to find a bank that offers online budgeting tools to help you increase your income.

personal relationship

Even though you can now do almost all of your banking online, including depositing checks, some people feel more comfortable going to a bank branch. Although many banks have closed and consolidated their branches, you can still find a local bank or credit union where you can get help in person. You may want a local branch, for example, if you deposit money, want to be able to withdraw more than ATM limits, or use the services of a notary. Some banks and credit unions also offer financial advisors who can meet with you in person and help you plan to meet your financial goals. Compare fees and interest rates. If you qualify for a local credit union, you may be able to get higher rates and in-person service.

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High interest saver

Even though savings interest rates are pretty low everywhere right now, you can usually get higher interest rates from an online bank or credit union. This can be perfect for an emergency fund or money you’re saving for goals in a year or two. Having a checking account at a local bank for your day-to-day expenses and a savings account at an online bank can be a good way to keep money separate, so you don’t end up raiding your savings for your regular bills. . It’s usually easy to transfer money to your checking account when you need it. Or you can now do almost all your banking with an online bank, including depositing checks, transferring money, paying bills and accessing ATMs free of charge. Some online banks also offer tools to help you budget and assess your progress toward your savings goals.

The investor

Some banks also have brokerage houses where you can invest in stocks and mutual funds; some brokerages also have banks, where you can keep the cash you need for short-term access. You can usually transfer money seamlessly from the bank account to the investment account, making it easier to build your long-term savings. In addition to checking bank fees and access, also find out about the types of investments offered, whether you have a wide range of mutual fund choices, their expense ratios and other fees, and how much you should pay. in commissions for buying and selling shares.

The all-in-one solution

Some financial institutions do everything – banking, investments, insurance, credit cards, mortgages, car loans, retirement savings, and they can even provide free credit scores and offer car buying services. It can be simple to keep all your accounts in one place, making it easier to keep track of your overall finances, and you can get discounts for having multiple types of accounts. But be sure to compare fees, interest rates, premiums, and access for each type of service, just as you would with separate banks, brokerage firms, or insurance companies.

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About the Author

Kimberly Lankford has been a financial journalist for over 20 years. As an “Ask Kim” columnist for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, she received hundreds of questions from readers each month about insurance, taxes, retirement planning and other personal finance issues. His financial articles have also appeared in The Washington Post, US News & World Report, AARP Magazine, Boston Globe, PBS Next Avenue, Bloomberg Wealth Manager, and Military Officer Magazine, and his syndicated columns have appeared regularly in the Chicago Tribune, Denver. Post, Baltimore Sun and other newspapers.

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