How to Choose the Right Savings Account

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how to choose the right savings account

By: Richard Jenkins

Right now, many people are choosing to save their income instead of spending recklessly. This is because, with an ever worsening economy and outlook, it is a good idea to stash some cash for safety. Choosing the right savings account is a good step to getting your financial house in order.

Can you have a checking and savings account and transfer the money between the two. Many institutions allow this, which is an easy way to move over money. Ideally the bank or credit union would allow this online, which makes it much easier. Some even allow automatic sweeps of your money over. This can make it very easy to not forget, and to stick with it.

You should find out the interest rate. This is of course the most important thing as far as your return on investment. Right now interest is low, so it may not make a huge difference. But every penny counts, not only that for a large account it could still make a big difference.

How Big
You should choose a bank or credit union with a size you are comfortable with. Some people are not fans of big banks and credit unions. Other people prefer larger because they feel safer, not only that, but it may be easier to access your money while out of state. You should look for one that is obviously convenient to you, but also may be easy to find when you are not home. So, if you frequent an area a lot, or have a second home, find out if they have a location.

If a savings account has fees, do not open it. Almost all do not at this point, but any fees are certainly going to cut into your savings and return on investment. Not only that, but if you have a small account, the fees may negate any returns you have. Again, this is rare in these days, but certainly verify that they do not have one.’

Methods of deposit
Make sure you can deposit money easily to the savings account. Whether it be from another bank, bank to bank, mailing a payment in, or even walking into the bank. Keep in mind, some banks have begun to institute a fee to see the teller. Furthermore, some banks even have a fee to deposit via the internet. If you are really technologically sound, a bank that has a smart phone app with deposit ability may be something you should look for.

Other Products
See if their other products and services are competitive. Many bank relationships start with a savings account. So if you can see what else they have to offer, you can see if they will be worth it in the end. How a bank treats a low paying customer shows how good they are. Banks should be good to all customers as they may get more lucrative products in the future.

Online Banking
Almost any serious bank has the ability to do online banking. Unless you do not care about this feature, you should skip any bank that does not offer this. It is much more convenient to keep track of everything with online banking.

Whatever you do, opening a savings account is a great idea. At this point, the interest rate is not going to vary much. But as they rise in the future, it would be prudent to make sure you are always getting a competitive rate.

Richard Jenkins writes about finance, shopping & home equity loans.