3 Key Features I Look for When Picking a Bank

by Christy Bieber | Published on Aug. 30, 2021

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A young woman is at the bank. A teller is counting out her money.

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I'm picky about which banks I am willing to do business with.

For many years, I stuck with a bank I didn't like just because I'd opened an account with the institution when I was in college. But after facing endless fees and other problems, I finally decided I was going to take the time to look for a financial institution that deserved my business.

As part of my search for the perfect bank, there were three key features that I determined were extremely important to me:

  • No fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • High mobile deposit limit

And I won't open an account with a bank that doesn't offer these features. Here's why.

1. No fees

I view bank fees as a huge waste of money, especially when they apply every month. I don't want to pay for the privilege of doing business with a bank, and I don't want to see my hard-earned dollars disappear on a steady basis because I'm being charged unnecessary fees -- especially when there are banks that don't impose this financial burden.

As a result, when I looked for a bank, my first priority was finding one that did not charge any kind of monthly maintenance fee. I also wanted a bank that provided free checks. Finally, I wanted to be able to access my cash where and when I needed it, so I made sure my bank didn't charge ATM fees and that it reimbursed the ATM fees charged by others.

Now, I haven't paid a bank fee in many years since I switched to my preferred bank.

2. No minimum balance requirements

I don't like feeling forced to keep money in my checking account.

While I have a small cushion to prevent overdrafts, I've set up automatic transfers of money into different high-yield savings accounts. That way, I can earmark the cash for specific purposes rather than leaving it to sit in my regular checking account where it's more likely to be spent without much forethought.

As a result, I made it a priority to find a bank that wouldn't require me to just leave thousands of dollars sitting in it to meet minimum balance requirements.

3. High mobile deposit limit

Finally, I am not a big fan of visiting a bank in person -- I wanted to be able to handle virtually all of my important tasks digitally, including depositing checks.

Occasionally, I'll get some larger checks. And with many banks, I found that I was running into low mobile deposit limits. This left me forced between going to the bank branch to do an in-person deposit or mailing a check into the bank for deposit and waiting weeks for it to arrive and get processed.

Since neither of those options was very attractive to me, I made it a priority to find a bank that allowed me to deposit checks up to $50,000 via my mobile phone.

My bank has maintained all three of these features since I signed up years ago, so I've stuck with it. Should anything change, I would make sure to look for a new financial institution that fulfills all of these requirements since there's no reason to pay fees or let your bank make life less convenient.

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