Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Small Banking Upgrade

For a while, we banked with one of the "big boys" in town, but grew increasingly unhappy with the number of mistakes they were making with our accounts. We decided to move our money to a smaller bank.

We've had a good experience with our current bank. They offer a "totally free" checking account with no minimum balance requirement, and they haven't made any errors with our account in more than a year. The only drawback has been that they are located in the next suburb north of here. It's usually on Shane's way home (depending on where he's working at any given time), but is almost never convenient for me.

That alone wouldn't cause us to change banks again, but last week we received a brochure in the mail for another home-town bank. Still not in our hometown, its two branches are more convenient to me than our current bank, and no less convenient for Shane.

What's more, they are offering a totally free checking account that pays 6.01% APY interest on balances between 1¢ and $25,000 (somewhat less for higher balances, but that isn't something the Jones family needs to worry about right now). They also waive their fees for using ATM machines outside their network.

The requirements are simple:

  1. Use their debit card for at least 10 purchases each month (not including ATM transactions),
  2. Have either one automatic monthly payment paid from the account or one direct deposit to the account each month, and
  3. Sign up for e-statements rather than paper statements.

We are already doing these three things each month with our current bank, so it should be easy to meet the requirements. And if we don't for some reason, the account will still earn .30 APY.

As if that weren't enough, they will give us a small CorningWare Mini Set and will pay us $10 toward our new checks if we bring our old ones in for them to destroy. (Yes, we still use checks for a few of our transactions.)

We won't be carrying a large balance, so our earnings won't make us rich by any means, but why shouldn't we take advantage of the earnings and convenience?

We'll be moving our account this weekend.


Donna said...

I love it when you talk finances!!! LOL...Really...This helps so many people get back in touch with what they do with their money! I, for one, do NOT want to be 70 and all I have to show for it is...nothing!

Annie Jones said...

Donna: I hope my posts will help people, but I feel I have so far to go with this goal, and there is so much more I need to learn. There are many, many great blogs and websites about personal finance. I'm just a student...an overwhelmed student most of the time.

DadGuy said...

Sounds like a good move. I think the smaller banks have the potential to be getting some really good local business if they are paying attention.

Annie Jones said...

Dadguy: I agree. A lot of local businesses like to stay with business who are "little guys" just like them. And non-commercial customers can often get better service from smaller banks, in my experience.