You’ve probably seen Ally commercials where the kids are getting ripped off. They make a wonderful point about banking – treating customer right should be a part of their business. I know that Ally (formally GMAC) is trying to rebrand itself, but the commercials remind us that we should have to fight to get good service when we bank.

I wanted to review a few things banks do to gain new customers and then profit from them.

Teaser Specials

Focus on what the long term rates are instead of just rate hopping. Do they have a history of being competitive? Do offer a higher rate, but then later bad customer service?

By the way, don’t get sucked in with the teaser rates, they don’t tell the whole story. Depending on the bank, your monthly maintenance fee may wipe out any interest you earn.

Fees and Expenses

Fees and expenses are ways for banks to make money from their current customers. You can’t get something for nothing, but you should expect good, solid service from your bank. When hunting for the right spot to deposit your money in, compose a list of features that interest you.

What features should you look for in a bank? I’d look into the following things:

  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • No minimum balance
  • Free online billPay service
  • Conviently located ATMs
  • Earn some interest rate if possible

It pays to also understand your banking habits. If you constantly take cash out of ATMs to spend, then pur conviently located ATMS on the top of your feature list.

Ask Your Friends

Seeing great commercials and having wonderful teaser rates can’t help you see the day to day operations. Asking your friends about their experiences can be eye opening. I was considering a bank, but I couldn’t find too many enthusiastic people. it’s not worth it, I’m hoping to have a long term relationship with the bank or credit union. Feedback from people I know gives me an idea of how they’ll treat me down the line.

Bank Contact Information

If you’re curious about what your bank is offering, contact them and see if you can get a better deal. If not, here is a list of a few places to check out.

Your Thoughts on Banking

Banks are businesses so they are entitled to treat their customers as they want. We have the power though to go ahead and vote with our money. Sometimes it’s better to just switch banks or credit unions.

How do you feel about your bank or credit union’s service? Have you ever had a difficult time getting good service?