Top Tips on Choosing the Right Bank if You Manage Your Finances Online

Online banking has become popular in recent years. That’s so because it is convenient and offers low or free-fee services with smooth websites and apps. But what should one consider when choosing the right bank to manage finances online? Let’s dig deeper.

1. Security

It’s crucial to check the bank’s security operations before settling on one. Banking with bricks-and-mortar financial institutions has the advantage that your money is secure, safe, and sound. But for online banking, that may be a bit challenging, considering the current high internet fraud. So, how does one know if a bank’s secure? Here are tips to help with that.

2. FDIC Insurance

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is a government agency that insures banks in the US in case of eventualities or failure. FDIC insures different deposit accounts, savings, checking, CDs, and money market accounts. If an FDIC bank fails, the insurance protects bank users up to $250,000 per ownership category or depositor.

FDIC-insured banks usually have logos (letters FDIC and an icon in the “C”) displayed on the bank’s website. If the bank’s website doesn’t have a logo, visit FDIC’s official website and check its status.

3. Best Interest Rates

Generally, online banks offer higher interest rates, although the rates differ depending on the financial institution. For this reason, it’s essential to compare online banks to know which ones have the best interest rates. Then settling on the ones paying the most interest.

4. Website’s URL

A website’s URL tells how secure it is. A trustable website protects users from identity theft. To know if a site is safe, check if there’s a locked icon near or in its address bar. Trusted websites also have a URL starting with HTTPS, contrary to HTTP.

5. Bank’s Rating from BauerFinancial

BauerFinancial is a company that analyzes US banks’ performance and credit unions by giving them a 1-5-star rating. Consider banks with a four or 5-star score and avoid those with three or lower ratings.

6. Secure Passwords and Backup Authentication

Before settling on a bank, inquire about its password standards to know how they take security issues. To prevent fraud, highly secure banks would have secondary authentication on top of passwords.

7. Know the Bank’s and Assets History

A bank with a long history shows its success and, therefore, may last for long. Similarly, banks with huge sums of money or assets indicate they are stable and trusted by many people and companies.

8. Fees and Rates

Overall, online banks charge fewer fees and offer more rates when compared to brick-and-mortar banks. But it’s still vital to consider rates and charges when it comes to banking online. For rates and fees, choose banks with:

9. Fee-Free ATMs

The best online banks make it easy for their customers to withdraw money from ATMs without incurring extra charges. When picking online banks, choose the ones with a network of ATMs where customers can pull out cash for free. If the bank doesn’t have a network of ATMs, select those that reimburse fees incurred when using other banks’ ATMs machines.

10. Convenience

Convenience is a crucial aspect of online banking. Studies suggest that about a third of Americans use mobile banking applications more than any app on their phones. To get the best online banking experience, look for banks that have:

11. 24-Hour Customer Support

In the case of internet fraud, immediate customer support is crucial. That’s where online banks with 24/7 customer support win. When considering banks for online financial management, check the ones with full-time customer support. Look at the bank’s website to see if they have 24-hour online chat or call lines where customers can communicate with a representative. 24-hour customer support is essential in preventing cash loss in identity theft. If a bank doesn’t have 24/7 customer support, consider other options.

12. Easy-to-Use Site or App

Unlike brick-and-mortar institutions, online banking requires a flexible and easy-to-use website or app interface. So, visit the bank’s website first and explore it to understand how easy it would be to manage finances.

While using websites is easy, mobile apps are more convenient and can check account balances or pay bills when one is on the go. For mobile apps, visit Apple or Google Play stores to read reviews of the app. This way, it would be easy to know if the app is worth it or has issues or challenges.

There’s a bank for everyone, depending on needs and preferences. So, don’t rush the process when looking for the right bank for online finance management. Take time, research, learn the possible charges, risks, and drawbacks. Then make a sound and well-informed decision that aligns with your financial goals.

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