If you are looking for a new bank or wonder whether your bank is the best, then you may be thinking about what features you should be looking out for with regards to finding the best bank. It can be tricky because it is not something that we generally do that often or talk about with other people. However, there are several things that you can try which could help you.

Consider What you Want

It is wise to start by thinking about what it is that you are looking for in a bank. If you are with a bank already then you can think about what you like and dislike about them. This will enable you to start putting together a list of features that you want. You may feel that there is no way you will get everything you want, but get it all written down and then you will be able to find the bank that is closest to your needs.

Look at the Differences Between Banks

It is a good idea to think about the ways that banks differ and you will be able to use these to compare them and then it will help you to decide which is the best. This can link in to the list of requirements that you have but it may also open you up to new ideas about what you should be looking for in a bank.

  • Costs – banks offer different services and they charge for most of them and therefore it is worth investigating their charges and how they compare. Obviously, you will not be using all of their services and so you need to compare the ones you will be using. Think about overdrafts rates, credit card charges and things like this as those are things you are likely to be using with the bank. The loans and mortgages might be relevant as well, but most people do always use their bank for these but shop around so that they get the best possible deals.
  • Interest – it is also good to look at savings interest. Many people have an instant access savings account with their bank so that they can keep some money available to transfer quickly into their current account if they are getting low on funds. If you do something like this, then note the interest rates on the savings accounts. Rates are low everywhere on interest access accounts but you may find there are some that are better than others and so it is worth investigating this.
  • Products – there might be certain products that you are specifically interested in and if this is the case then you will need to make sure that the bank that you are with will provide what you need.
  • Branch/phone/online – also think about how you would like to bank. Some people like to use a branch, some like to do telephone banking and others like to bank online. It is important to make sure that you will be able to bank in the way that suits you the best and therefore you need to check this out. Do not assume that you will be able to use a specific method, you may find that certain accounts can only be managed in a very precise way. For example, even if you have a local branch, you may find that there are some accounts which have to be managed online, so do check this out.
  • Reputation – it is important to find out a bit about the bank and what they are like. Asking a few people what they think of them and look at a few reviews so you have an idea of this.

There are some people that do worry a lot about bank security. They may rather deal in a branch face to face as they worry that any other form of banking may not be secure. However, as local branches are closing and more accounts are moving to only being able to be dealt with online or over the telephone then there are many of us that will have to change even if we do not want to. It is good to have some concern about security with regards to these methods but it is also good to realise that there are things that you can do which will mean that you will be more protected so the security of what you are doing will be better. So if you are telephone banking be aware of the following:

Only Call a Number you are Sure is Your Bank

It is a shame, but there are people out there who try to con us and pretend to be our bank that are not and they get our bank details so that they can steal our money. This can put a lot of people off telephone banking but there are lots of things that you can do to protect yourself from this sort of thing. The first is to make sure that when you are phoning your bank that you are completely sure it is them. If you get the number from their website, make sure that it really is their website. Type in the web address yourself rather than going through a link in a search engine which could be incorrect. Otherwise get a number off a leaflet or letter that you have from the bank and then you can be totally sure that you are going through to the right place.

Never Give Details to Someone that Calls You

A bank should never call you and ask you to give your bank details over the phone. If they need to get in touch with you, they should leave you a message and ask you to call them. So, if anyone calls, hang up and call the bank back to see if it was them and use a number, as above, that you are sure will work. Never give any details unless you have called them, even if you think it is the bank, because you can never be totally sure.

Only Make a Call When you are not Being Overheard

It is important to also make sure that no one overhears you when you are making a call to a bank. You will find that you will be asked to give details such as your security passwords etc, although this be done differently by different by different banks. Make sure that you are not overheard by anyone when you do this. It is better to do it from home, rather than when you are out and about as someone could easily listen to your conversation and then get your bank details.

Keep Your passwords Really Safe

It can be really hard to remember all of the passwords that we use for the different things and therefore many people will write them down. While this can be handy, we do need to be extremely careful about what we do with them. The best thing to do is to keep them locked in a safe or drawer somewhere so that only you can access them. Never keep them in the same place as your bank cards or statements so that your account details are not with them, as you normally have to provide both bits of information over the phone.