Banking and Finance

How to Choose a Bank Based on Your Needs?

July 27, 2021

Looking to open a new bank account? You’ve got lots of options!

From traditional banks such as Wells Fargo to online banks and even local credit unions, the options are practically endless. So, how do you choose a bank with so many options? 

Let us guide you through the difference between traditional banks, online banks, and credit unions. Then, we’ll give you some tips for choosing the bank that’s right for you based on your needs.

Understanding Different Types of Banks

What’s the same between traditional banks vs. online banks vs. credit unions? Encryption methods are taken by all modern financial institutions to ensure that your identity, sensitive information, and money are safely protected. However, aside from that, there are a few key differences.

Traditional Banks

Where traditional banks shine is in the fact that they offer easy access to physical branches, nationwide ATMs, and well-established customer service. Essentially, solid reputations are what a lot of traditional banks such as Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo have going for them.

When it comes down to it, that’s really the main difference between traditional banks and online banks besides fees. Traditional banks tend to charge higher monthly fees to cover overhead costs, but you can often waive them by meeting specific requirements. Traditional banks offer in-person customer service, check-writing abilities, and easy access to ATM networks all around the country (or even the world) where you can deposit and withdraw cash.

Online Banks

With online banks, there are no physical locations you can visit if you need assistance in person, which sometimes makes depositing a bit of a hassle. However, due to the lack of overhead costs, online banks can usually offer lower monthly banking fees and higher interest rates on savings accounts.

If you don’t plan to deposit checks or cash a lot, this might not be a problem. However, we’d still recommend checking out each online bank’s policy and fees related to making deposits, wiring money (if it’s even possible), and other associated costs.

Credit Unions

Now, what about credit unions? They’re similar to traditional banks in that they offer individuals the ability to write checks, make deposits, and open interest-earning accounts while also having access to physical locations. But, because they’re member-owned, they offer more perks.

As member-owned institutions, credit unions offer those who bank with them the chance to earn dividends. While this usually doesn’t translate into tons of cash, it’s still a nice perk. They’re also able to offer better interest rates on loans and higher APYs on their savings accounts.

How to Choose a Bank | Cheese Debit Card

Tips for How to Choose a Bank

Assess Your Banking Needs

Not sure whether a credit union, traditional bank or online bank makes sense for you? When learning how to choose a bank, focus on your needs. 

Do you travel a lot and need access to ATMs around the country? Do you need to write lots of checks? Are you more interested in a high interest rate or cashback deals? All of these will point you in the right direction. 

Online banks will be your best bet for higher interest rates and more savings overall. Traditional banks are great if you prefer access to in-person service and rest assured knowing you’ll be covered when traveling.

Look at Rates & Fees

Choosing a bank based on interest rates and monthly fees is pretty smart. Make sure you read the fine print. If they charge monthly fees, perhaps you’ll be able to waive those fees by meeting a specific requirement.

If you’d like, you can view our reviews of some of America’s most popular bank’s banking fees to help you start your journey:

Chase Baking Fees

Bank of America Banking Fees

Citibank Banking Fees

PNC Bank Banking Fees

US Bank Banking Fees

Discover Bank Banking Fees

Check Out the Mobile App

Let’s face it, we pretty much control every area of our lives via our smartphones nowadays. So, it’s crucial that when choosing a bank, you check out the bank’s mobile app. This is, unfortunately, where most credit unions get it wrong.

Due to the fact that online banks are, well, entirely online, they tend to offer fantastic mobile baning experiences with great features. The same goes for most major traditional banks, such as BOA and Chase. Credit unions, however, can lack up-to-date technology that makes mobile banking a bit underwhelming.

Read Online Reviews

The best way to choose a bank? Read reviews of them online! Read reviews on their social media pages, on the app, and even in online financial forums. Chances are that you’ll find someone who was looking for the same features you are (whether that’s excellent mobile banking options, cashback deals, or no fees), and you’ll be able to see how they’ve enjoyed banking with that particular bank.

As part of vetting the bank you’re thinking of opening an account with, don’t forget to ask friends and family for their opinions.

Choosing to Bank with Cheese

As long as you don’t require in-person service and don’t deposit a lot of cash, an online bank makes a lot more financial sense, in most cases, than a traditional bank or credit union. 

The Cheese Debit Card comes with zero banking fees, savings bonuses, and cashback. Not only do we make banking easy, but we also offer unique ways to earn more for your money while enjoying other perks such as our Double Cheese reward and so much more.

❌ No Monthly Fee                                    🧀️ $5 cash bonus    

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❌ No Overdraft Fee                                   🧀️ Potential Double Cheese Cashback

❌ No Insufficient Fund Fee                       🧀️ Up to 3% Saving Bonus

❌ No Minimum Balance Requirement      🧀️ Early Paychck

Click here to join us and begin your banking experience today.