How to Choose an Online Bank
Years ago, finding a legitimate online bank was just about Mission Impossible. Today there are banks that are online only. In addition, some of traditional major banks offer online banking.
In any case, there a lot of options now and a lot of things to figure out before you can choose your bank. For that reason, this article will provide some guidelines on things to watch for when making your choice.
Requirement One – FDIC Insured
There is no reason to play Russian roulette with your money. The only banks you should even consider are banks insured by the U.S. FDIC. It is quite easy to confirm a bank is FDIC insured without even asking the bank. Use the FDIC’s own online application to confirm your bank is covered.
Since only U.S. banks can be insured by FDIC a lot of the guesswork in picking an online bank has just been taken care of for you. You will not be able to take advantage of that 20% interest Nigerian savings account but your money will be safely insured by the FDIC. By the way, the IRS is much happier when your bank is a U.S. bank.
Requirement Two – Competitive Interest Rate
You are looking for an online bank, not shopping for a food processor or any other gift a bank offers for signing up. The only bottom line you should care about is your own. Do some competitive shopping and give serious weight to online bank offerings with the best interest rate.
Requirement Three – No Fees and No Minimums
Why should you pay any type of banking fees? There are FDIC insured banks that provide stellar online account service with no fees. For same reason, there is no reason to be forced to keep a minimum amount on deposit or always in the account.
Requirement Four – 24/7 Customer Support
You may never use the local branch of your online bank but that doesn’t mean you won’t have problems that require a real persons help. You want a bank with 24/7 support because problems never seem to arise during normal business hours. It will be easier to get help or voice a complaint if you know someone is always available.
Requirement Five – Solvency, Performance and Service
There are online services that check the solvency of any bank and rank for high yield performance. If you have access to an online bank that clears both of those hurdles that is great. It also helps if the online bank you choose has collaboration set up with the most popular personal or small business financial software programs.
Requirement Six – Test Drive and Incentives
The best banks will let you open an account and let you check out all the features before making a final commitment. You may end up with several banks meeting the same number of requirements listed above. In that case, it is time to give weight to sign up incentives. Do they reimburse you for ATM fees? Do they let you order checks online at a deep discount? If everything else is equal, then go for the bank that gives you the most extras.
If you have followed these suggestions, you may rest assured you have done everything possible to find a safe, secure online bank.