If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? That’s the motto people all too often apply to their financial strategy, especially when it comes to a very basic matter: where they bank.
The good news? There’s an easy solution.
The source of the problem: Most folks choose a bank when they head to college—either for proximity or because it’s the one their parents banked at. But according to Torabi, this is where things can get dicey. “When it comes to your cash, if you don’t park it in the right place, you’re not making the most of your money.”
So what exactly do you want in a bank? You want to make sure fees are low or non-existent (on both transactions and account maintenance). You should strive for a savings interest rate of a 1 to 2 percent APY. You should make sure physical bank locations and ATMs are convenient to your life. And you should also ask what other services it can offer you down the road—for instance, is this a place where you’d be comfortable taking out a mortgage or even a business loan?
But how often should you really change banks? Not often, says Torabi. But for anyone who’s had the same bank since their freshman year, it’s worth reviewing the checklist above and seeking out an alternative if your current financial institution just isn’t cutting it. “You want your bank to be a conscious choice,” says Torabi. “Not something you inherited simply because your parents recommended it once.”