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Tips for choosing a new bank

A bank is more than just a financial institution. For generations, banks have been a financial partner to families. That is why opting for a new bank becomes a challenging task for a young person. The deep trust, the emotional value of retaining parents' bank accounts in the old bank and so many other factors can cloud your judgment. So, people often forget that a bank is for banking services. If your selection procedure is about choosing the perfect banking partner, here are 5 tips that will help you do the job.

  1. Look at charges

    Banking services have different categories, starting from the very basic, regular to premium. Depending on the nature of charges, the associated costs rise or fall. Decide what type of services do you want. Once you have made that call, compare the charges across banks. Every bank has a schedule of charges. Look at the charges of different services such as savings account, zero balance savings accounts with a card or without a card, salary account, home loans, loan against property, credit cards, personal loans, auto loans and NRI banking. Small charges like ATM transaction fees, chequebook fees, outstation cheque collection fees, interest, non-base bank branch cash deposit etc. can take some money away over the long-term

  2. Digital Capabilities

    Not everybody needs branch banking services. Millenials today hardly go to their bank. They do digital banking from internet, mobile etc. Many of them don't even know how their bank branch looks or know any person in the bank. All they know is a service screen. If you are somebody who is looking at digital capabilities of a bank, do not go for a bank with heavy branch presence but inadequate digital capabilities. Digital-savvy banks will also charge you less in terms of charges because there are very little costs in terms of sending printed material to customers.

  3. Look at complaints

    While there is not enough publically available data in terms of specific banks, prospective customers should always talk to other individuals when trying to assess all banking solutions. Customer complaints and grievances are a very good indicator of the actual service quality. Before you actually use the banking services of a new bank, you can only rely on their promises. Spending some time to talk to the new bank's customers is a good strategy. You can also read customer reviews of the bank online on the internet. Are there specific areas where customers are complaining about? Social media is also a vibrant indicator of service quality. Usually, tech-savvy customers, these days complain about a bank's service first on social media.

  4. Branch banking staff

    If you use banking mostly at the branch banking level, look at the number of staff a bank has employed. You should ideally look at this scenario in the branch you wish to open a bank account. The number of branch staff, their service speed, attention to detail, responsiveness to customer needs and the final outcome are very important things. Do bear in mind that not all banking solutions can be delivered fast. But a few basic indicators always point in the right direction. For instance, consistently long queues at branches for basic banking services like cheque deposit or cash withdrawal are not a good sign. However, do remember that during certain periods like month-end or quarter-end such queues are a common sight.

  5. Lifestyle compatibility

    Every banking customer has unique needs. This is why good banks develop their services in such a way that all types of customers prefer their banking solutions. However, customers should look at lifestyle compatibility when they are selecting a new bank. Customers with a high-flying lifestyle may not find a good fit with a very retail-oriented bank. A banking customer with small business needs may not get a great fit in a corporate bank. You should choose a bank that offers banking services which are most compatible with your lifestyle choices in terms of offers, benefits, privileges etc. Studies have shown customer satisfaction is a function of the lifestyle compatibility. It is like a marriage, where both partners have to be compatible and also complement each other's weak points.