(Closed) Which bank should we use for our first combined account?

posted 7 years ago in Married Life
Post # 3
1046 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

My Fiance and I went with his bank because his business account was with that bank, I had a credit card with Bank of America but I can still go to bank of america for help with that (even tho I dont’ think I’ve used it in a couple years haha).  Maybe go with a bank with better offers? If you find a new bank sometimes they will give you like $100 free or really good savings account interest rates!

Post # 4
7431 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2009

If you can get into a credit union, I would definitely do that. They are owned by the shareholders, they aren’t corporate, and you usually get better interest rates. They also have lower fees than big time banks. I currently have BOA and am probably going to start using our Tower account exclusively

Post # 5
13099 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

Well Darling Husband and I reserached a handful of banks when we combined accounts and we ended up going with Chase and have loved them (so I guess that isn’t that helpful).

I’d go talk to someone there about their different types of accounts though because our minimums are no where near that high.

Post # 7
328 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I second credit unions. I’ve been with mine for years, and I love it. However, something major to consider is if you want a big national bank, such as BofA, or if you don’t mind having a smaller, more local bank or credit union. I’ve generally found I like working with the smaller banks better because it’s easier to get ahold if someone if there’s an issue, but if you travel often and feel like you need/want the convenience of a large bank, that’s something to consider too.

Here are some things to look for from a bank/credit union. Not ALL credit unions are automatically better than banks, so keep the following in mind. You should be able to find all of this information on a bank/credit union’s website. If not, I’d call the bank and ask.

-Is there a minimum balance? If there is, are there ways to get around it? For instance, some banks forgo the minimum balance if you have certain features, such as direct deposit over a certain dollar amount, or using a debit card X times in a month. In that case, the minimum balance isn’t really a big deal. Always be sure to explicitly ask the banker if those features exist, because I’ve found sometimes they aren’t very forthcoming with that information.

-Do they charge you to have a debit card? You should never have to pay to have a debit card, but some banks are starting to tack on a small fee each month if you have one.

-Does your bank/CU charge you if you use your debit card over X times in a month? Again, some banks do, and this shouldn’t be something you should be charged for. 

-What is the minimum balance on a savings account? My credit union has a minimum balance of $5, but some banks have minimum balances of $100 or even $500. Something to consider.

-Online Banking should always be free. Do NOT pay for it! Again, some banks charge for this. Total rip off. The exception is if you have a business account; many banks do charge a small fee for this if you have a business account, but I still think it’s kind of a rip off.

-Are you able to set up overdraft protection for free? Again, something you may never need, but a nice feature to have just in case. If you are super responsible and don’t feel like you will ever need it, do not pay for this feature. Some banks will charge you monthly to have it. Some banks will only charge you if you use it (say $10/transfer, which is theoretically better than an overdraft).

-If you are someone who overdrafts even occasionally, what are the bank’s fees? Some banks charge $25/overdraft, and some charge $40. 

-How long after I deposit a check is it available? Direct deposit should always be available for you to use immediately. If you are depositing a physical check, some banks hold the funds for one business day, and some hold them anywhere from 3-5 business days. Business days are Monday-Friday, not counting holidays. So, those funds are in your account, but you get charged if you use them before they’re available. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, this is a big deal. 

-If you use ATM’s frequently, do they charge you to do an ATM withdrawal at a competitor’s ATM? You might get sacked with a fee from your bank AND from the competitor. HOWEVER, this one isn’t that big of a deal as long as you aren’t charged for your regular debit transactions. I always advise people to simply go to a store and buy something small, like a pack of gum, and get cash back. That way you avoid the fee.

I know that looking for banks and comparing features can be confusing. I used to be in banking, so I’m pretty familiar with what is standard. Feel free to PM me if you have any more questions. 

Post # 9
328 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I’m glad to help! I know this stuff is really confusing.

Post # 10
7173 posts
Busy Beekeeper

Another credit union fan.  See which are in your area and what kind of rates / perks they have.  Visit a local branch and see if you like it.  Chances are you’ll be blown away by their customer service and what they can offer.  I love my credit union!

Post # 11
2142 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Credit Unions are awesome (I am a member of a local for where I grew up) but Darling Husband and I are members of USAA which allows anyone for banking (not credit cards though) and they are AMAZING. Great customer service (we have a friend who used to be management in their customer service and she’s now the VP of a bank) and are in general great to work with.

I personally don’t care for BofA. Darling Husband had problems dealing with them in the past.

Post # 12
3255 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Another vote for the credit union. They are usually much more dedicated to their customers and it’s easier to get loans and financial counseling.

Post # 13
5498 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

We left Chase for a local Credit Union! It is amazing and we don’t have to pay monthly for the account.

Post # 14
1126 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I think it’s a good idea to keep a long relationship with somewhere, so Bank of America might be a good idea since you’ve been there so long.  We went with M&T, which has been fantastic for our mortgage and everything, but Darling Husband has had an account there since third grade, and both our families have business accounts and stuff.  If M&T is strong in your region, I’d definitely recommend them, because they do it all and care about relationships.

Also, for savings, I added Darling Husband on to my ING account, because interest rates are awesome.  Before the economy tanked (back in 2007), my interest rates were above 4%, and even now it’s steady at 1% (whereas other banks give like 0.25% at best).  So I’d look into that.

(Also if anyone wants an ING referral, PM me, bonus for both of us).

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