You have probably been with your bank for a long time. Most Americans don’t change banks very often and even bank fee hikes only compel us sometimes. But if you are ready to take the plunge to digital only then you can now find a number of banking options with low or no fees. And, wait for it… interest checking accounts! Remember those from the olden days?
The technology and safety of online banking has increased in recent years. Also, many brick and mortar institutions are utilizing online banking in order to reduce costs and to offer consumers fewer fees. Thus more consumers are comfortable with banking online. You may already be using your own bank’s site to pay bills, check your account, deposit checks even with your bank’s smartphone app. If you can do all that you might be ready for an online only bank.
If you receive cash often and need to deposit it into your bank then you will have some research to do before going fully online. Depositing cash can involve jumping a few hoops. Because they do not have bank branches, an online only bank can’t receive cash directly. You will have to find out from the bank what is the best way to get that cash into your account – deposited into a network ATM or possibly converted it into a cashier’s check which can then be deposited with the app.
If you are primarily depositing checks or getting payments via ACH already, then you might be ready an online only bank. What you can expect are low or no monthly fees and some interest on deposited amounts. Some banks, such as Capitol One and Charles Schwab will require that you have other accounts with them (credit card, for instance) in order to take advantage of no fees. Don’t expect having your paycheck electronically deposited will get you any perks with an online only bank – your brick and mortar bank likes it when you don’t walk into the bank or deposit into their ATM – less manhours and maintenance on machines!
If you are accustomed to reconciling your accounts with a paper statement you will need to check into whether the bank offers that option, and there may be a fee attached to having a copy mailed to you in lieu of you printing it on your own printer. Check out also other fees that might be hidden, such as cash withdrawls from non-network ATMs, for instance. Some banks, much like traditional banks, require a minimum balance as well so do your research.
Any banking institution that you put your hard earned dollars into should be FDIC insured. That is easy to find out by searching their website. Be sure you also know what ATM network the bank is in and know if there are machines near where you would use them. Some banks offer refunds on non-network ATM fees which can be helpful but be sure to know the limits.
And be sure that when you are on the bank’s website and accessing your accounts you are not on a public Wi-Fi network. We are used to being able to access our apps anywhere nowadays. But you can’t be too careful when you are logging into your bank.
And if you are not ready to dive into the deep end you can always try opening an account for savings or a specific project. There is nothing wrong with having accounts at a number of banks. Many of us now have accounts at different banks and we promise your regular bank won’t get mad at you!