The happenings "inside" the Wisconsin State Treasury and across the street at the State Capitol

Money Matters: Finding the Right Financial Institution Part II: Choosing the Right Account

Finding the Right Financial Institution


Last week, we discussed choosing the right bank.  During the month of November, we will take a much closer look at just how to do that in our “Money Matters” blog each Monday.  As with any financial decision, it’s important to figure out what you want and need beforehand. There are countless banks to consider—some nationwide and some local—and there are also credit unions, which some people opt to use instead of or in addition to banks for their savings and credit needs.

Here are a few things our friends at think you consider to be assure you are choosing the right account:

Choosing the Right Account

Most banks and credit unions offer a variety of checking account options. Some are free and others carry a monthly fee. Often the free checking requires that a minimum balance be maintained.

Pay particularly close attention to the additional fees that a bank may charge. The charges are generally small—from 10 cents to several dollars, but they add up. Here are some of the most common fees:

  • Check Fees. Banks sometimes charge a small fee for each check you write. Some accounts will allow a certain amount for free each month, and then charge for any above that amount.
  • Balance Inquiry Fees. Some institutions charge you to find out how much money you have in your account.
  • ATM Fees. If you withdraw cash from an ATM owned by a bank other than your own, your bank could charge you (for a withdrawal outside the system) while the other bank charges you for not being one of their customers.
  • Overdraft Fees. These are fees banks charge customers who withdraw money from an ATM or make a debit card purchase that exceeds the balance in their account. Under a new law that took effect July 1, 2010, consumers must opt for this service to be charged overdraft fees.

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