While there are many banks to choose from, the way banks treat their customers is still quite archaic. Even though nearly all money today is electronic, and all transactions happen quickly and instantly, banks still charge their customers high fees, as if they must cover the cost of pre-internet era labour and logistics.
Unfair and unjustified prices are still the norm, and it is the consumer who carries the burdens of this exchange. It doesn’t cost the bank anything, practically, to have you as a customer, but they still put a price tag on their various services simply because they can. This is why it’s important to be aware of the various types of banks and bank accounts out there.
While the most prominent banking institutions have a strong presence in the marketplace, there are many alternative options that are ready to treat you better as a customer. A quick overview of the best bank accounts is always a good idea and being up to date with the latest options is an essential part of your financial strategy.
When comparing different banks, you want to consider a few different factors. Obviously you will want some sense of that institution’s credibility and stability. Some big and popular banks will catch your attention first but they are not necessarily the best choice.
Simply put, not all banks have the incentive to offer the best deal for the client. The giants of banking continue to grow no matter what, unlike their smaller boutique competitors, which have to compete for the customer’s business.
This is why comparing prices is essential. FinecoBank for example has a 0GBP monthly rate both on open accounts and trading, and no minimum deposit. They also offer competitive currency exchange rates, and no fees on transactions between accounts.
Another factor is the variety of services offered. Some may be more limited (and hopefully specialized), while others have a comprehensive services spectrum that will take care of all your needs.
Another important criteria is the customer services section. Can you contact your bank whenever you need to? Can you reach a representative on the phone or other types of correspondence whenever you want and need to? Do you receive quality responses and service? Such questions are often ignored, but they can make a decisive impact on not only your experience, but your outcome as well.
Not to mention, it is expected that you will have many questions, no matter your level of experience, and the way your bank will communicate with you will affect not only your financial growth, but your personal growth as an investor as well.
Speaking of the customer’s experience, you’ll want to make sure that the bank has a solid app, website, and any other type of software you may need, such as a trading platform. It goes without saying that not all are the same. A good app that is intuitive and allows for all needed actions easily, and capable of fast and smooth usage while never bugging or crashing, is not something that can be taken for granted. A bank might offer competitive fees and services but will turn out to be unusable in most day-to-day instances. Those who are savvy with their smartphones know that good apps are the exception, not the rule, and even popular ones struggle to maintain a good user rating on app stores, especially with a high number of feedback from users.
Fineco for example has 4.5/5 in the Apple app store and Google Play, which is exceptionally high for a service that is prone to user frustration, whether it is justified or not, and goes to show what a reliable service they are able to provide.
Whichever bank you go with, the most important thing is to take the first steps in the process. Opening an account is easy, and only requires:
- Your ID
- Tax identification number
- Smartphone on-hand
- An UK address.
A simple process, but one that can make a big difference in your bottom line.
Disclaimer: This content does not necessarily represent the views of IWB.