How to find a good bank

How to find a good bankIn the current economy, the importance of finding a good bank for all of your financial needs simply cannot be understated – but how do you go about selecting the best bank for you?

It’s not easy at all to find the best financial service provider that fits your needs perfectly. Whether you want to open up a personal current account or a small business bank account, there’s a myriad of providers out there, all offering different deals, and it’s easy to feel lost while you’re trying to sort through them all for the best offering for your particular set of requirements – but there are many things you can do to make the whole process much more manageable for you.

Focus on your needs

The first thing you should do – perhaps even before beginning your search in earnest – is to get a firm picture in your mind as to what exactly you’re hoping to get out of a banking institution. If all you need is a basic bank account, that’s one thing – you can go nearly anywhere and find rather decent offerings – but if your needs run to the more complex side, narrowing your focus will help you choose much more efficiently.

Each bank out there has various strengths and weaknesses; some excel ad handling online banking, while others boast long opening hours for their branches. Others offer good interest rates on savings accounts, while others provide low-cost business loans and mortgages – once you know exactly what it is you’re looking for, you’re going to find it much easier to make a final decision based on only a few candidates instead of just walking up and down the high street aimlessly until you find a bank that looks promising!

Don’t be afraid to switch

If you already have a banking solutions provider, but you feel dissatisfied with their service or offerings, don’t feel like it’s too much trouble to switch to a new provider instead. The process for switching from one bank or building society to another has become much more streamlined over the past few years, to the point where transferring funds has a much shorter turn-around, thanks to legislative changes that require swift action on the part of banks involved in the transfer.

Additionally, many of the best deals for several financial products are only available to those who are comfortable with switching from one provider to another. Saving products are notorious for this, as many banks and building societies will offer a savings account with a high introductory bonus rate that falls off the account after a set period of time – usually about 12 months – leaving savers with an abysmal rate of return, truly leaving you no choice but to move your cash to a new provider to find the next best deal.

If you’re reticent to switch your money, even after a high bonus rate drops off your savings product, think of the consequences: leaving your deposits languishing in an account that pays less than the current rate of inflation is not serving anyone, especially yourself. In fact, you’re effectively losing money, because after 12 months at 0.5 per cent interest, your money hasn’t kept up with the rising cost of living, so £100 pounds in 2013 will only be worth around £97 in 2012 dollars.