After a good 17 year run, I am ending my relationship with my local credit union. (I believe my savings account was opened for me sometime in my early childhood). While my credit union served me very well when I lived in Michigan, the move 8 states away has created a need for a something different. Therefore I went on the hunt for a new money partner. There were a few key features I was looking for:
-No ATM Fees
My credit union had a network of other credit union ATMs I could use free of charge around the country. However with traveling for work I have been using the nearest ATM I find and have been racking up the ATM fees to prove it. My lifestyle now requires free use of all ATMs.
-Free Checking Account
This is a given for me. I have never paid a fee for a checking account or had a required minimum balance in an account over $5. I am not about to change to a bank that had either of these burdens.
-Highest Savings Rate
Savings accounts in general do not have very high rates of return. However, with my recent goal to increase my savings I want to ensure I am getting the highest return possible.
-Easy Transfer of Funds Between Accounts
I am a big fan of having multiple savings accounts specifically labeled with a purpose and checking accounts that automatically transfer money into them each month. I need a bank that I can easily set up regular scheduled transfers so I can be sure I meeting my goals and paying myself first.
-User Friendly & Convenient
I usually bank on the go and therefore I knew that I needed a bank with a strong I-phone app and an easy to use website for all of my banking needs.
I quickly narrowed my search down to the “online only” banks. These banks currently have some of the highest savings rates primarily because they do not have the expense of multiple physical building locations. Additionally, almost all offer monthly reimbursement for ATM fees.
From there, I began to evaluate the reputations,desired features, size, customer service, and ease of doing business of each of the largest online banks.
In the end I made the big switch to Ally Bank.
They currently have the highest savings rate and the most user friendly website of the other online banks I considered (Charles Schwab Bank for instance).
So far it has been a seamless transition. Now I have the task of switching over all my automatic payments and direct deposits. However for the connivence and money saved, I think it is worth the effort.