If you’ve been shopping around for a new financial institution to do business with — consider some of the best bank services we’ve found in our recent experience. Since, like us, you may like to spread your banking across online banks and credit unions as well as traditional banks, we’ve included a sampling of their products, too.
Never pay for ATM fees again
The absolute best service to come along lately in our eyes is offered by Charles Schwab Bank — unlimited reimbursement of ATM fees from any bank. Charles Schwab received an overall “A+” rating on MyBankTracker.
If you rack up $200 worth of ATM fees in a month, you’ll get a $200 deposit into your account from Schwab before the month ends. This means you can use any ATM — corner stores, other banks, whatever — without having to look for some specific bank’s ATM.
Ally Bank, another “A+” bank on MyBankTracker, also offers ATM reimbursements.
Another online bank, Capital One 360, offers a host of services, including high-yield checking and savings accounts, CDs, money market accounts, IRAs, and mortgage accounts — all of which can be linked to each other, and even linked with other accounts in outside institutions. Capital One 360 also received an “A+” rating on MyBankTracker.
You can have your paycheck deposited to each account automatically, or deposited to your Capital One 360 savings account, and from there to each account automatically.
Banks embrace technology
ATM with Teller Assist is a new tool from Bank of America that gives you access to a range of services during extended hours for all banking needs. With these new ATM-camera combinations, you can speak with a teller via real-time video and receive the same quality of personal assistance you’d get if you walked up to a teller at a banking center counter.
Envelope-less ATMS are becoming the norm. You’ll appreciate one if you’ve ever visited the ATM without a pen handy, or lacked a deposit envelope. You can deposit up to 30 checks, or up to 50 bills in one transaction, without any envelope or pen. You simply feed the checks or notes into the machine, everything is scanned and counted for you.
Thanks to the smartphone, you can now deposit checks with your phone’s camera. Of course, America’s biggest banks like Chase and Bank of America were quick to adopt mobile check deposit, and many more banks are following suit. With this app, the physical check never has to actually make it into the bank for processing. Keep in mind there are mobile check deposit limits, meaning, you won’t be able to go over a certain amount. If you do, you’ll probably have to visit your bank’s ATM to deposit the funds. Here are the mobile check deposit limits for the top 10 banks in the U.S.
Avoid monthly fees and learn to manage your money better
One of the newer players in online banking, Green Dot’s GoBank, is mobile-only and provides an application in which you can open accounts, order debit cards, and pay your bills. Best of all, the bank has a transparent fee schedule — you decide how much you want to pay each month — between $0 and $9. The voluntary monthly fee is in response to customers who are fed up with too many expensive fees from big banks.
For managing your money, PNC’s Virtual Wallet online and mobile banking interface is one of the best. It gives you three ways to group your money: everyday spending and bills, short-term savings, and long-term growth. And a calendar described as “a digital assistant that simplifies your banking needs,” shows you everything from your spending habits to bill payment reminders. It will even let you know when your balance falls below zero.
Similarly, Wells Fargo online banking offers account access and bill pay with Quicken, which enable you to do more than just pay bills, you can also better monitor and manage all your finances.
Customer service readily available for online banking
Some online banks now offer a 24/7 customer support, and lets you know the wait time for customer service. You can also access a “chat with an agent” feature that pops up for you if you’re on their website for an extended period of time. This is convenient compared to call centers in far away lands which never seem to quite understand when you are looking for help.
Best credit union services
It used to be that a credit union was a local institution that had little reach away from home. Now, if you’re a member of a credit union that belongs to the CU Service Centers network, you can access your accounts nearly anywhere. All you have to do is go to a branch of any participating credit union, give the teller the name of your home credit union, your account number, and a government-issued photo ID. The network also includes more than 2,000 self-service kiosks located in convenience stores.
Some credit unions have established point systems, and when you earn a certain number of points — usually by using more services or buying more products — you get a lower interest rate on a car loan or mortgage loan. To encourage members to use more of their products and services, other credit unions offer rewards programs featuring perks such as free travelers checks, free withdrawals from ATMs not owned by the credit union, and reduced car loan and mortgage loan rates.
Credit unions would also like to see more growth in business lending, but they work under regulatory restrictions that limit the amount of business loans they make to 12.25 percent of their assets. Looking for other opportunities, several credit unions have partnered to provide and service your student loans — a new potential growth market for them.
Before you choose a new financial institution with which to bank, check out for yourself the selection of best bank services, online bank services and credit union services we’ve summarized here. Check out MyBankTracker’s search page to find a bank and learn more about the bank’s rating. You can also read reviews from real customers, or leave your own review.