7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Opening a New Bank Account

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page. APY = Annual Percentage Yield

KEY POINTS

  • If you rush to open a bank account without thorough research, you may end up with the wrong one for your needs.
  • Asking yourself the following questions can help you find the right bank account for you.
  • Consider fees, balance requirements, interest rates, and how you will be able to access your money.

Choosing a bank account that works for your needs and goals is the best move.

Bank accounts are excellent personal finance tools. If you're in the market for a new bank account, you want to make sure you're choosing the right one for your needs. You can do this by considering what you're looking for in a bank account and comparing accounts. Here are some questions to ask yourself before opening a new bank account.

1. Are there any monthly fees?

It's possible to find no-fee checking accounts and savings accounts. But some banks charge monthly maintenance fees for some of their accounts, and these fees can add up. Research all bank fees before choosing an account, so you don't waste your hard-earned money.

2. Is there a minimum balance requirement?

Some banks set a minimum balance requirement and may waive monthly maintenance fees if you keep enough money in your account each month. It's not a bad idea to check and see if there are minimum balance requirements before you officially open an account.

Doing this is especially important if you're planning to transfer a significant amount of money from your checking account to your savings account on a regular basis. After all, money sitting in your checking account won't earn interest -- but it will if you put it in a savings account.

If you're focused on meeting big savings goals, you may choose to maintain a smaller checking account balance. But make sure that doing so doesn't cost you money in the form of fees. The good news is there are bank accounts without minimum balance requirements.

3. How much interest will you earn?

If you're planning to open a new savings account, you'll want to know the annual percentage yield (APY) being offered. The APY is the rate at which you'll earn interest on your savings in a year.

Before choosing a savings account, you should compare rates at different banks. You could boost your earnings potential by opening a bank account with a bank that has a higher APY. Why not spend a little extra time choosing a bank in order to earn as much money as possible?

4. Will you be able to access your money easily?

It's also important to consider whether you can access your money easily.

If it's a checking account that you plan to use regularly, you may want to go with a bank that has at least a few branches in your local area. You should also consider the availability of ATMs. Will you be able to take out cash easily when you need it without paying extra fees?

If you're opening a savings account and plan to let your money sit for a long time or are opening a backup checking account, this question may not apply to you.

5. Does the bank reimburse you for out-of-network ATM fees?

Some banks reimburse their customers for out-of-network ATM fees. If your bank doesn't have in-network ATMs in your community or you want to avoid paying fees when traveling, choosing to open a bank account with a bank that reimburses these fees may be a good idea. Otherwise, you'll waste money when using an out-of-network ATM to get cash.

6. Does the bank offer excellent customer service?

You want to feel confident that your bank will treat you well. When looking at bank account options, consider the bank's reputation with customer service. Many banks have fantastic customer service, but not every bank will go above and beyond when you need help. Choosing a bank that treats you right is essential.

7. Will you be able to handle your online banking needs?

Many people rely on online banking tools to handle their banking affairs. Whether you like to use your bank's website or mobile app, these virtual tools can offer convenience and keep you better informed about your finances.

Before opening up a new bank account, check to see what online banking tools the bank offers -- being able to handle your banking needs easily while on the go is a huge win.

Research your options first to find the right fit

Asking these questions before you open a new bank account can give you a better banking experience. There is a bank account out there that will meet your needs and goals, but you may need to look around and compare several options to find the best fit for you and your money.

Review our list of best checking accounts to learn more.

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Two of our top online savings account picks:

Rates as of Apr 21, 2024 Ratings Methodology
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SoFi Checking and Savings Barclays Online Savings
Member FDIC. Member FDIC.
Rating image, 4.75 out of 5 stars.
4.75/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor

APY: up to 4.60%

APY: 4.35%

Min. to earn APY: $0

Min. to earn APY: $0

Our Research Expert

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