3 Banking Tips to Make Your Life Easier Immediately


Chances are, you’ve been using the same bank that your parents did and haven’t given it a second thought. Have you been holding onto the same account number that you had since high school? If so, it may be time to reexamine your financial institution options. Modern banks have changed, and most customers rarely, if ever, step foot into a traditional branch.

With the advent of digital payment methods, online shopping, and plastic-preferred kiosks, you have a broader range of options. While local institutions have their place, it’s a good idea to consider nationwide banking institutions. Looking for your perfect financial fit might feel overwhelming, but there are three tips most customers should consider.

1. Look for a Wide Array of Financial Products


Most customers need at least a couple of financial products as a baseline for money management. A checking account will serve as a credit and debit portal for direct deposit, bill pay, and automatic deductions. Savvy customers will also choose a regular savings account to set aside money for financial goals and unexpected expenses. Beyond that, consider what other products and services might suit your needs.

According to Due, customers who use a primary financial institution have an easier time staying organized. When you use a credit card issued by your bank, its profile will exist on your online dashboard. This feature gives you an at-a-glance view of your total financial picture. Plus, when it’s time to pay your bill, an immediate transfer can be made between your checking and credit account. This connection makes it easier for you to make on-time payments, even in a pinch.

Consider institutions that also offer multiple savings accounts within your same profile. Some people find this useful when segmenting savings goals. Establish savings accounts for long-term objectives like a major vacation or short-term goals like car repairs or annual taxes. Instead of lumping your savings into one bucket, name your separate accounts to stay on track with your goals.

2. Use Complementary Products, Tools, and Features to Improve Your Financial Life


Many banks offer a financial dashboard that can help customers with their overall financial wellness. Some offer a credit score aggregator, which can help you stay on top of the factors impacting your score. Updated every week or so, it gives you a near-real-time view of your credit utilization and other high-impact factors. If you see that your score is slumping, you may have an easier time adjusting your habits or balances. Your credit score is one of the most important components of financial wellness, so keep this top of mind.

Other institutions offer budgeting tools that can help you track your regular expenses. These tools automatically label certain transactions through your debit card as dining out, groceries, and other standard categories. Set a limit for certain categories, and your account will alert you when you get close to or surpass your number. Often, these alerts can be sent via text or email, giving you real-time updates so you can make informed choices.

Many institutions also offer overdraft protection, a tool you hope you never need but are glad to have when you do. Some offerings set up automatic transfers between checking and savings. Others will spot you the difference for a fixed amount of time, allowing you to repay it on a deadline. Set this up in case of a rainy day, and you’ll be covered, even when budgetary plans go awry.

3. Get the Best Rates on Loans


You’ve been a customer of your bank for several years. Now it’s time to purchase a new car. Existing customers are frequently at an advantage when it comes to securing a loan. Often, current customers get preferred rates or can even prequalify for certain financial products, making shopping around easier. Review the loan options your institution offers, noting the rates and terms available.

Typically, you have a greater command of the negotiation if you bring your own funding for a vehicle purchase. When you aren’t relying on a car dealership for both the best price and loan rate, you have more control. Instead, you can focus on getting the best price for the value of the vehicle. Plus, your loan activity will be visible on the same dashboard as the rest of your finances. Plan to set up automatic payments to streamline your bills and avoid late fees.

The same goes for home loan products. Since you have an existing relationship with the institution, they know more about you as a customer. This helps your bank feel more confident in your ability to repay the loan. They may be able to honor your loyalty with better rates, cash-back offers, and reduced closing costs. This makes finding a banking institution you trust one of the best uses of your time.

Relationships Matter, Especially When It Comes to Your Finances


When you think about relationships, you may primarily envision those you have face-to-face. But our digitized way of communicating can also help establish virtual relationships, even when you don’t contact a particular person.

The way a financial institution treats its customers through daily touchpoints like chat, social media, and online experiences is impactful. Find a bank that does it right, and you’ll have a good feeling when interacting with them. If they get it wrong, you’ll likely continue shopping around. Pay attention to the total customer experience when you search out and work with an institution.

You’re never under any obligation to stick to a particular bank, so realize the value you have as a customer. If you switch, change all of your direct deposit and online bill pay preferences before doing so. Savvy customers establish their relationship with a new institution and switch over key deposits and debits over months. Once they’ve ensured that everything is in place and working, they can confidently cut ties with their old bank.

Your financial relationships are critical to your daily life, so research and choose them wisely. When you work with a bank that you can trust and that aligns with your needs, you can go about your day with financial confidence.

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