IN THIS CHAPTER
Understanding what banks are good for and not good for
Evaluating, selecting, and even negotiating with banks
Accessing credit unions and other alternatives to banks
Customer visits to stand-alone bank branches with a lobby and tellers are going the way of the big-city-newspaper business. Both are in decline and in industries that are being revolutionized and changed by the Internet.
Who needs retail banks, with their costly-to-maintain branches, when you can do your banking online? You can conduct most transactions quicker online, and it saves the bank money, which enables it to offer you better account terms. And there’s no need to rush out at lunchtime to be sure you make it to your bank during its limited open hours. Online banking is generally available 24/7.
But I have even bigger questions for you to consider: Do you even need a bank account, and what are your best alternatives? That’s what this chapter explores.
Everyone needs an account or two from which to conduct transactions, including paying bills and storing newly earned money. Such foundational accounts are essential to get in order before proceeding with investing that has the potential to produce higher returns.
What makes keeping your money in a U.S. bank unique is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance that protects bank deposits. If your bank fails (and as history clearly suggests, ...