Are you looking to open a new bank account? Well, unlike in the past, when you had to walk into a bank for the process physically, things have entirely changed. The internet has opened up every business, and the banking industry is no exception.
Currently, you can easily open a savings or checking bank account from the comfort of your office or home. You will enjoy all the services of a bank and more, without having to belong to a physical bank branch.
And, with these changes also come opportunities and benefits. From efficiently managing your finances to conducting your transactions on the go, an online bank account has numerous advantages.
How to Choose the Best Online Bank Account
Well, this is never easy, especially with the current number of banks offering the services. Also, there’s too much information bombarding your view, which may make the selection process quite tricky.
But worry not.
Here are 7 key features to help you choose the right online bank account:
1. Products Diversity
Typically, when selecting an online account, the products that they offer will determine if it’s the right account for you. This entirely depends on what you’re looking for in the account. Look for a bank that offers products that are beneficial to you.
Please don’t get carried away by their adverts on non-relevant things. For example, most people will look for banks with high-interest rates and forget to look for other essential features like security and efficiency. Although a high-interest rate is desirable, it offers minuscule returns.
Therefore, you shouldn’t take it as an investment platform. A bank account should be a place to help hold your money and efficiently move it when needed.
2. Interest Level
Various online accounts offer different interest rates. For this reason, doing a comparison check to determine which one pays more is vital.
Combined with other essential factors, higher rates are always desirable. You should also know that online bank accounts usually pay higher rates than the standard savings account.
For instance, while some banks will offer 1.15% APY, some will go as high as 1.7% APY. So, if you are interested in the interest rate level, do your homework well.
3. Lowest Fees
If possible, find an online account with the lowest monthly charges, if not zero. In fact, the main reason why most people are now opting for online accounts is to avoid the pesky fees involved with conventional banking. Some online accounts eliminate some of these fees, including monthly fees, service fees, overdrafts, and ATM fees.
And, although you’ll still have to pay some of the fees, some online accounts ensure that the charges are at minimal levels. Therefore, when choosing an online bank account, try to identify one that doesn’t cost you much to operate.
If you want a zero fees account, make sure to find out if the account has any requirements for the minimum deposit or standard fees. You will find this by looking into the fine print.
However, you must note that sometimes this will entirely depend on your transactional behavior such as minimum balance, or account linking to other accounts.
4. Security Features
Are online banks safe? This might be the most important thing you should consider. Always ensure, before anything else, that your money will be secure in that bank. This means that the bank must be FDIC insured. You don’t want to lose your hard-earned cash to some scams.
And, although we’ve not yet seen any significant hacks on the online banks, staying safe won’t hurt. There have been several cases of other headline-grabbing hacks in different online platforms like eBay and Target. This means that it’s still a possibility with online banks.
A bank that has the FDIC backing makes it virtually impossible for you to lose your money. So, always look out for this feature.
5. Quality of Their Customer Support
The quality of customer support in online banking is a vital feature that you must consider. Since you have no physical branch to visit when you have a banking problem, then the customer support must be there to handle your issues. The support must be efficient and effective.
And, just because they have indicated that they have a 24/7 customer support on their website, it doesn’t mean you take their word for it. You should do thorough research and find customer reviews to help you make up your mind. You can find these reviews on various social media platforms like Facebook or a website like Consumerist.
Make sure that the current customers offer positive reviews before you can decide to open that account. You never know when you’ll need that customer support.
6. Be Keen on Every Detail
Apart from the monthly fees, you should note that banks usually have other multiple fees. Understating these fees will help you avoid incurring most of them.
So, make sure that you read even the fine print. This will help ensure that you have full information about what you are about to commit to. You don’t want to be paying for some costs which you were not previously privy to.
7. Usability of the Website and the App
How easily can you use their website? Since this is the primary way of communicating with the bank, it should be smooth and effective. Their mobile app should also have the best usability features.
You should, however, note that not all the online bank accounts have the smartphone app. Also, not all will have round-the-clock support. So, depending on your needs, prioritize them and identify an account that best suits your list of requirements.
Although some people still prefer visiting their banks physically, online banking comes with a myriad of benefits. And with the ever-busy life, we are experiencing nowadays, and it makes perfect sense to look for an easier way to manage your finances.
Therefore, if you want to experience flexibility, peace of mind, and accessibility in your financial transactions, try an online bank account.