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The bank or credit union you choose to do business with can play an important role in your financial life. But if you're like most people, you probably don't give your banking relationship much thought on a day-to-day basis. Once you take the time to set up a bank account, you likely go about your life without thinking about whether your current deposit accounts are still the best fit for your financial needs.
Yet deep down, many Americans aren't happy with their banks. According to a 2022 J.D. Power retail banking study, 56% of people feel their banks aren't delivering the type of support they want and need. Nonetheless, many consumers haven't taken the step to change financial institutions, despite being unhappy with the service and products they're receiving.
Switching from one bank or credit union to another can be a headache. But the payoff could be worth it in the long run—especially if the change saves you money or helps you earn more interest on your savings. Below are four signs that it's time to switch your bank, along with some suggestions on how to choose the best bank for your lifestyle when you're ready.
1. You’re Not Getting the Highest Interest Available
Not all banks are the same where interest rates are concerned. As of November 2022, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reports that the average national deposit rate that banks offered customers on savings accounts was 0.24%. Yet the best high-yield savings accounts feature annual percentage yields (APYs) over 10 times higher than average—some exceeding 4.00% at time of writing.
If your bank isn't offering you competitive interest rates on the balances you maintain in your checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, or certificates of deposit (CDs), it may be time to look at opening accounts with other financial institutions. The key to earning the highest interest possible on your money might be to open multiple bank accounts. (Just be sure you have a plan to manage multiple bank accounts wisely so you don't run into potential problems.)
Recommended High-Yield Savings Account
UFB Direct Preferred Savings Account
This product is currently not available via Slickdeals. All information about this product was collected by Slickdeals and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
- Our Rating 5/5 How our ratings work Read the review
UFB Direct breaks balances into five tiers, but, currently, there is only one interest rate.
- Intro Bonus N/A
The UFB Preferred Savings Account has one of the highest interest rates we’ve seen for a high-yield savings account at up to 5.02% APY. Plus, there are no monthly fees and no minimum balance to open.
With one of the strongest high-yield savings interest rates on the market, as well as no monthly fees or minimum opening deposit, UFB Direct’s Preferred Savings Account is an extremely attractive package.
- Strong interest rate
- No maintenance fees or minimum monthly balances
- Free complimentary ATM card
- Mobile app and SMS banking
- No signup bonus
- No associated checking account
2. The Fees Are Adding Up
Most people dislike paying extra fees to their banks. So, it's no surprise that the same J.D. Power study above found that customers who have to pay regular bank fees such as low balance fees or overdraft fees are three times more likely to think about changing banks. Other examples of fees that banks may charge include monthly maintenance fees, ATM fees and bill pay fees.
Some banks offer customers the chance to avoid bank account fees by meeting certain criteria each month. Yet there are also free checking accounts (and other types of deposit accounts) with no fees and no hoops you have to jump through either. If you decide to change bank accounts to avoid recurring monthly fees, just remember to close your bank account after you make your move. Otherwise, you may continue to incur monthly maintenance fees on your original bank account despite transferring your money elsewhere.
Recommended Fee-Free Checking Account
Axos Rewards Checking Account
- Our Rating 5/5 How our ratings work Read the review
- APYUp to 3.30%
Earn up to 3.30% APY for completing qualifying activities.
$100Expires April 12, 2023
Use the promo code RC100 when you apply for a Rewards Checking account by 4/12/2023. Then have qualifying direct deposit(s) to earn a $100 welcome bonus!
Axos Bank Rewards Checking frequently offers a solid sign-up bonus for new accounts, has no monthly fees, and has let customers earn up to a 3.30% APY on their deposits. These are all terrific features for a checking account, but Axos is digital-only, so if you deal with cash regularly it’s probably not the best fit for you.
While it takes a bit of work to unlock the maximum interest rate, Axos Rewards Checking customers can potentially earn an impressive 3.30% APY. This account also does not include any monthly fees.
- Strong APY compared to similar accounts
- No monthly maintenance fee or monthly minimum balance
- No overdraft or non-sufficient fund fees
- Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
- Minimum deposit required for account opening
- Several qualifying activities required to earn maximum interest
- No physical branch locations
3. Your Bank Isn’t Keeping Up With the Times
Many banks provide online services and mobile apps that can make banking more convenient for their customers. Yet some banks outperform others in this area. Furthermore, smaller financial institutions might not be equipped to keep up with the times when it comes to digital upgrades.
Make an honest assessment about whether your bank lacks features that are available elsewhere such as mobile deposit and online transfer capabilities, online budgeting tools and other useful technology. If you find that your bank doesn't measure up where current technology is concerned, it might be time to see what other financial institutions (especially the best online banks) have to offer in this department.
Best Online Banks
4. You Want More In-Person Banking Options
Online banks don't have the same overhead that banks with brick-and-mortar branches have to factor into their budgets. As a result, these financial institutions often pass those savings along to their customers in the form of higher interest rates on deposit accounts and lower fees.
Despite this benefit, some people need (or simply prefer) in-person banking options. If you're someone who deposits a lot of cash, for example, you may need access to a bank with physical branches. Or you might just prefer face-to-face customer service where financial transactions are concerned.
Over time, however, bank branches frequently close or relocate. CNBC Select reports that there are under 4,200 commercial banks in the United States as of March 2022. That number is down from roughly twice that amount—8,400—in the year 2000 (according to FDIC data). If your bank has closed or doesn't have enough branches to meet your needs anymore, it might be time to shop around for an alternative.
Recommended Brick-and-Mortar Bank
Chase Total Checking® Account
- Our Rating 4/5 How our ratings work Read the review
$200Expires April 19, 2023
New Chase Total Checking customers can earn a $200 bonus when they open an account and set up direct deposit.
Chase Total Checking® is among the best entry-level accounts. It typically offers a $200 bonus, and historically all you have to do to earn it is set up direct deposit. On top of that, it’s fairly simple to waive the $12 monthly fee. However, it's worth noting that it doesn’t offer many valuable features or benefits and it’s not an interest-bearing checking account.
Chase Total Checking® is a basic checking account that doesn’t offer many premium features. However, if you can easily meet the qualifications required for the new account bonus (and to waive its monthly fee), it’s a good option for those who want an entry-level account.
- No minimum opening balance
- Multiple ways to waive monthly fee
- Bonus is relatively easy to earn
- Access to nationwide Chase branches and ATM network
- Monthly maintenance fee
- Account does not earn interest
How to Choose the Best Bank
If you're unhappy with your current banking relationship, your best bet is to ask yourself some questions about the services and products you would like to find in an ideal bank or credit union:
- Do you want to earn a high APY on your savings account, checking account, CD or money market account?
- Are you looking for deposit accounts that charge no fees or limited fees?
- Is the ability to do business in person (in your local area and beyond) important to you?
- Do you prefer to do business with a bank that also offers financing products (e.g., loans, credit cards, or lines of credit)?
Explore the Best Checking AccountsVisit the Marketplace
Whatever your banking priorities may be, shop around and search for banks and credit unions that can meet your specific needs. You'll find that the "perfect" financial institution doesn't exist. Yet it may be quite possible to find a bank or credit union that matches the priorities you have added to your banking wish list.