FDIC Consumer News
Important Update: Changes in FDIC Deposit Insurance Coverage
The FDIC deposit insurance rules have undergone a series of changes starting in the fall of 2008. As a result, certain previously published information related to FDIC insurance coverage may not reflect the current rules. For details about the changes, visit Changes in FDIC Deposit Insurance Coverage. For more information about FDIC insurance, go to www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/index.html or call toll-free 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342). For the hearing-impaired, the number is 1-800-925-4618.
Special 10th Anniversary Edition - Fall 2003
How to Be More at Home with Your Bank
You're not married to your bank. But you can enjoy a nicer long-term relationship using these tips for getting attractive interest rates, low fees and solid service.
Chances are you're pretty satisfied with your bank. But as with any business transaction, there's always something you can do differently or better… and perhaps save some time and money.
Ask yourself, and your bank, if you're getting the best deal.
About once a year, talk to a customer service representative at your bank to make sure you're signed up for the right programs to meet your needs. Every three or four years (if not more often), comparison-shop to see if you can do significantly better at another bank.
Make sure your funds are fully protected.
The FDIC protects bank and savings association depositors to at least $100,000 at each institution. But depending on how your accounts are structured, you can be insured for more than that. (For more information about FDIC insurance, see the "Are All Your Deposits FDIC Insured? How to Protect Yourself".)
Simplify your life.
Your bank can arrange for the direct deposit of your pay and benefit checks and other regular income. You also can have your bank automatically make some of your regular payments, such as your mortgage and utility bills. Also think about doing your banking from home by phone or computer. (See
"Long-Distance Banking: Your Rights and Risks" for more about long-distance banking.)
Don't be afraid to ask for a break.
Depending on the circumstances, your bank might be willing to reduce or waive a fee or penalty. If you're having problems repaying your loan, your banker may agree to temporary or permanent reductions in your loan interest rate, monthly payment or other charges.
Read your monthly statements.
Review your bank statements, credit card bills and other mailings from your bank as soon as possible after they arrive to make sure there are no unauthorized charges or other problems. Also, your bank may tuck into the envelope notices about new fees or penalties for certain accounts. If you're not aware of the changes, you could end up paying more for your banking and not even realize it.
Read the fine print.
Knowing the costs and requirements of an account before you sign on the dotted line can prevent a complaint or hassle later. Example: Be very clear about whether an attractive interest rate on a credit card or a deposit is just a short-term, introductory "teaser" rate that is good for just
a short time.
Don't be afraid to complain.
Your bank's managers probably would prefer you bring a problem to their attention so they're given a chance to fix it before you take your business elsewhere or tell all your friends about "that lousy bank." For more tips on how to resolve a dispute with your bank, see "Don't Get Mad, Get Answers".
Excerpted from "How to Be More at Home with Your Bank," Summer 1998.