Having to make tough decisions is one of the worst things about becoming an adult. You have to decide where to work, whom to marry and where to bank. Picking a bank isn’t as stressful as picking a mate, but it’s not easy. Here are five tips millennials should consider before choosing a bank.
Focus on the numbers
Find a bank that doesn’t levy unnecessary charges.
“Why would you pay $100 a year for checking, savings and basic banking if you can pay $30 or $5 or nothing?” said Douglas Boneparth, president of a New York City-based financial adviser firm. Online banks have less overhead and usually don’t charge as many fees as brick-and-mortar banks. Online banks tend to have better rates for savers, too.
Pay attention to overdraft fees
Millennials should consider the cost of overdrawing a checking account. Bankrate data reveals that the average overdraft fee is around $33.38. Many banks offer overdraft protection programs, but it can be expensive. The CFPB found that those who opt in pay about seven times more in fees than those who don’t.
When shopping for a new bank, find one that has more lenient overdraft policies.
Think about accessibility
J.D. Power’s 2017 Retail Banking Satisfaction Study revealed that among millennials, the happiest bank customers had access to both digital and in-branch services. The company found similar results in its 2018 study. Younger millennials, in particular, may feel the need to visit banks because they are seeking to learn more about the basics of banking.
Don’t rule out credit unions
Finding out what local credit unions offer may take time. However, doing some research could pay off.
“Credit unions are an ideal financial solution for millennials,” said Brad Calhoun, chief retail and marketing officer for First Tech Federal Credit Union. “Credit unions return value to members through lower fees and loan rates since we don’t answer to investors.”
Examine digital features
Not all banks have the same digital capabilities. Some online banks, for example, don’t offer a smartphone app.
For millennials, that could be a problem. Reading reviews online can show what customers think about their banking apps. You will also need to find out whether a bank or credit union offers features you want, such as text alerts and mobile check deposit.