8.6.09

Opening A Bank Account 101

It is absolutely important that you have a bank account of some kind. This helps immensely in building your credit rating and overall management of your money. It also prevents you from having physical cash-on-hand that exposes you to thieves. It makes direct deposit possible from your employer and helps you get a cheque book with your name on it!
How do I know the right one for me

There are many banks and there are even many more account types. Branch Tellers/Sales persons will try to “download on you” their sales pitches when you visit. This will certainly get you confused the more. Remember the bank is in Business to make money! And the salesman/woman wants to maximize their sales commissions at the end of the month, so they will sometimes “sell” the account that you really do not need. Sometimes, they also say nothing at all about the account they are signing you on, but simply give you a heavy load of document (Disclosures) to read. Well, they know you will not read, so they will get away with it.

The first thing to do is your homework. Go to the website of the bank you like. All banks are different (in terms of size, customer service, location, ATM access, service charges etc) so take your time and search the few in your locality.

Select account type that meets your needs.
Calculate about how much cash you need in a month.
Figure out how many times you may want to use the ATM.
Also how many bills you will be paying in a month from your account.

The bank calculates all DEBIT TRANSACTION and charges you for all overages on the allowable debits for your account type. Some could be as high as $2 per transaction. If you do few debit transactions, i.e 15 or less, you probably do not l need to pay more than $9 monthly for your account. Your local banks may have varying amounts so do your search well.

Also do not ask for a savings account if you plan using the account for your everyday banking needs. Savings accounts are for SAVING money. They therefore have a very low limit of debit transactions. The highest I have seen is 3. Any transaction over the limit could be very costly. I recommend a current/checqueng account if its your everyday account.

If you know of a corporate plan or employee discounts with the bank, definitely go for it. It saves you a lot of money. Some discounts could give you free cheques, unlimited transaction, interests and lots more.

There is no point spreading your money with many financial institutions. My maximum will be two. The first one for my regular banking needs and the next for my investments (details will be in subsequent publications). Do not misunderstand this to mean that if you are getting poor service from one institution or the other, you should stay with them. I demand good service from all service providers. You are the customer and you do have a choice. Switch if you have to.

Whats neede for An accout to be Opened

1 Two pieces of Identification with at least one with a photograph
2 Your physical presence in the bank or branch
3 A co-signer if the account is joint or you are under the age on majority in your province or state.

Remember the bank can always refuse to open an account for you based on sevaral factors that will be talked about in detail in other posts.

Good Luck, and stay out out of trouble!


Source: Isaac TETTEH

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