I started my first job when I was 16; I was a receptionist making $5.25 an hour. It wasn’t much, but I still needed a banking account to deposit my paychecks. Back then, I didn’t have a car (or a driver’s license) so the criterion for choosing my bank was simply proximity to my parent’s house.
After 13 years of excessive (and often unexpected) fees, zero rewards, and poor customer service, I closed my account. I have several reasons for keeping that account for as long as I did: some of my siblings used the same bank, making it easy to borrow and lend money; in addition to being close to where I live and went to school, there were many other accessible locations around the city and suburbs; I thought changing banks would be a hassle and not worth the trouble.
Ultimately, it came down to the fact that I just didn’t know enough about banking to realize that there were better choices for me. Sure, my banking choice made sense when I was 16 and couldn’t drive. But over time, all the benefits of banking there became insufficient reasons to stay: technology has made it easier to send money to family and friends; proximity became irrelevant once I started driving; and I discovered that it’s pretty easy to close a checking account and open another one somewhere else. And, with the low (and in some cases, non-existent) fees, rewards programs, and other benefits other banks offered with their checking accounts, I discovered that it was definitely worth changing banks.
What is your banking situation like? Are you completely happy with it? Your bank may have fit your needs in the past, but does it fit your needs now? If you think it’s time to review your banking situation, check out the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) article: What’s the Right Account for our Everyday banking Needs? You’ll find ten questions that can help you identify your banking needs so you can make sure your bank is meeting them; if it isn’t, then you’ll have a good idea of what to look for in your next bank.