Spring 2011 – Special Edition: Shop and Save…at the Bank
Shopping at the Bank: A Basic To-Do List
Make sure you're getting a good deal on bank products by following these simple steps:
Periodically review your existing accounts to make sure they still fit your needs. Also look at the features you use the most and the fees you're paying, then ask if you can do better. Start by going to your bank's Web site or speaking with a customer service representative.
Shop and compare. Start by looking at other banks' products by reviewing advertisements in local newspapers or marketing pages on Web sites. Also visit or call banks for information. If you find better deals than what you already have, see if your bank is willing to match those offers.
Before you leave one bank for another, dig deeper into the literature to make sure you know the most important fees, terms and limitations on the new account(s) you're considering, so you compare apples to apples and you won't be surprised later.
Before applying for a bank product online and providing personal information, make sure you're dealing with a legitimate financial institution. For guidance on whether a bank or bank Web site you encounter on the Internet is legitimate, call the FDIC at 1-877-275-3342 or use Bank Find, our online directory of FDIC-insured institutions that provides contact information, such as Web sites. For additional tips on avoiding Internet fraud, visit www.onguardonline.gov.
Check your credit reports for errors or incomplete information that could prevent you from getting the best deals on credit cards, mortgages or other loans. You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Although you can ask to receive copies from all three credit bureaus at the same time, you also can spread out your requests throughout the year to check for major changes or inconsistencies. To order your free reports, go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call toll-free 1-877-322-8228.