Banking often has a bad rap, and for legitimate reasons — widespread bank failures that have occurred, particularly during the Great Depression and more recently, the Great Recession.However, banking has its upsides, and for those who know how to bank effectively, having a banking relationship can be lucrative and helpful. We’ve gathered up the best banking tips the editorial staff at MyBankTracker wholeheartedly believes in. Here are the top five.
1. Saving this way is so simple, it’s brilliant!
According to Jim Saulnier, a Certified Financial Planner Professional, most people trying to save for retirement and an emergency fund have to sacrifice assets from one to supply the other. However, opening a Roth IRA at one’s bank can represent both simultaneously.
“The Roth IRA, unlike a standalone bank account, has Federal protection from bankruptcy and many states offer protection from general creditors as well. Since the money you contribute to a Roth IRA can be removed at any time, at any age, without any taxes and any penalties, the Roth bank account is completely “liquid,” explains Saulnier.
“Any earnings made while the emergency reserve money is inside the Roth must remain inside the IRA until the Roth is 5 years old, and the owner must be over the age of 59 ½ in order to be removed 100% tax free as well! Access is easy if there is an emergency, but it often does require signing a distribution form at the bank. This simple extra step to access the money helps avoid temptation for cashing in an emergency reserve account for a frivolous expense or spur of the money buying spree.”
2. The timesaver
Simon, MyBankTracker’s financial analyst, uses account automation in order to help him make his pay dates without any effort.
“I’m a big believer in account automation so that I don’t have to worry about missing due dates and deal with the tedious chore of paying bills and transferring funds on different dates of every month. Set up to have bills paid with a credit card and/or checking account and use recurring transfers to fund savings accounts and IRAs. Then, just use Mint to monitor everything.”
3. Free ATM use everywhere
Claire, the editor of MyBankTracker, gets free ATM use wherever she goes.
“I think the best tip I ever received and actually followed through with, was signing up for free checking at Ally Bank and using it as backup in case I can’t find a Chase ATM nearby. I keep a certain amount in there, and I avoid ATM fees no matter where I go, because Ally is free!”
4. Text to see your balance
Holly Wolf, the Chief Marketing Officer at Conestoga Bank, advocates receiving text messages to get your current balance, as a way of avoiding an overdraft charge for something minor, like a $2 cup of coffee. This tip is ideal for cell phone users who don’t have a data plan or access to their bank’s apps on their device.
5. Elevate issues to upper management
Liran Hirschkorn, a former bank manager spills a secret on getting your customer complaint addressed right away. “If you have a bad customer service experience, or have trouble with a local branch, ask for the address of the executive office and write them a letter. Every bank has a President’s office that takes customer complaints very seriously. Write them a letter and they will resolve your issue.”