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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bank accounts: Considerations when opening your first account

Different kinds of bank accounts allow clients to customize their banking services
The FDIC insures bank account deposits up to $250,000 
Knowing what to consider when opening your first bank account is a decision that you will have to live with as long as you utilize a bank account you have opened. There are a number of factors and considerations that may be useful and pertinent to the services and of the account. This article will discuss these variables in terms of  reasons to open a bank account,  banking products and services, and  additional items to consider.

A good reason to open a bank account at all is because bank accounts tend to have more protection from theft than do homes, and funds in a bank accounts are more likely to be insured without deductibles. For example, bank account deposits in the U.S. are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) which requires no deductible as with many home owner's insurance and renter's insurance policies. In addition to the physical and electronic protection banks are able to provide, bank accounts also offer incentives, banking products and banking services to give existing and potential clients a good reason to open and/or continue banking with clients.

Reasons to open a bank account


When deciding to open a bank account thinking about personal financial needs and goals may be important. To do this, asking oneself questions like where is the bank located? how friendly are the bankers? and how easy is it to make use of the bank's services? may all be good questions to ask. In addition to these questions the following reasons may also be of assistance when choosing a new bank account:

• Helps manage bill paying, and employment payments
• Can assist with building a personal credit rating
• Establishes and/or builds a financial identity
• Facilitates other banking services available through the account
• Provides a sense of financial security

Banking products and services


When the different reasons to open a bank account have been made and the decision to open an account is in the affirmative, one may then begin shopping for a bank account. Different banks and financial institutions offer different incentives and benefits. Banks generally try to compete for clients which is good for someone looking for a new account. Some of the things that might be worth looking for in a first bank account include the following:

• No maintenance fees for checking or savings accounts
• Free first book of checks
• Low ATM charges for non-bank ATM usage
• Multiple branches and offices
• Reputation and credibility among friends and neighbors
• Financial reputation of bank within the banking community

New bank accounts sometimes give free gifts as an incentive for opening an account, however a new set of knives or a handy new cooler may not always be a great start to a new bank account, but rather a potentially unfortunate prelude to a banking relationship that didn't take into account what banking is really about.

While free gifts are nice, they generally shouldn't be the primary reason to choose a particular bank and/or bank account. Instead, one might consider aspects of banking that are going to assist one with a financial life that is easier and more manageable.

Additional items to consider


In addition to all the above free or low cost incentives are the banking products and services that make the account functional and useful. In other words, the more one can do with a new bank account the better. This can be especially true, if one has a lot of different financial obligations, and banking needs. A few such additional items that might be worth consideration in the search for a new bank account are the items listed below:

• Overdraft protection
• Credit/Debit Card with usage benefits
• Online Banking
• Free services and gifts
• Quality of Banking services

Opening a new bank account doesn't have to be a stressful experience, but might be best given some thought instead of just choosing the first bank one comes across near one's home or place of work. In other words, selecting a bank and bank account that meets one's financial expectations and provides products and services one finds useful can help make the decision to open a new bank account more fruitful.

Some of the reasons for choosing a new bank account in addition to various products and services that may be useful are provided in this article. When choosing to open a second bank account or open a new bank account altogether giving thought to the information in this article may be helpful in making one's banking experience more positive and financially beneficial.

Image license: Ken Teegardin, CC BY-SA 2.0