Location, location, location. That’s the mantra for real estate, but it’s also something that needs to be considered when deciding which is the best bank for you.
It’s all very well to look which banks have the best loans and which banks have the lowest fees, etc. Sure that’s important, and I’ll discuss each of those in more detail later, but choosing a great bank is no good if you can’t access it easily!
In the city where I live, there is one small bank that has a very strong reputation as having the best deals on interest rates, home loans, fees, etc. When you compare it to other banks, it wins hands downs. Great right? So everyone must use it? Nope.
The problem is that it only has a couple of offices and they’re all in the city center. If I want to go into the branch to pick up a new card, make a transaction, or even just ask a question or sort out a problem, I have to face a 40 minute train ride into the city. I personally chose a worse home loan than I could have got at this bank, because it was just too far away.
Of course, a lot of things can be done over the phone, or through the post, but being able to walk into the bank on those occasions when it’s necessary is extremely important.
A related issue is ATM location. How many ATMs do they have and where are the ATMs located?
I may have been tempted by the bank with a great home loan, despite the fact that I couldn’t get into the branch easily, but what really killed the deal was that the bank had no ATMs near where I lived. If they did, then it may have been worth considering them as the best bank for me. However, without being able to withdraw cash from an ATM near me, I just couldn’t consider them.
One other thing to consider with ATM location, is that some banks are part of ATM networks. You can use any ATM in the network, even if it belongs to another bank. Be careful of this, because many banks will let you use another bank’s ATM, but then charge a fee for doing so!
Of course, location is not important if you’re considering using an online bank, with internet banking only and no physical locations. But that’s a topic for another time. If you’re not after an online bank, then when deciding which is the best bank for you, make sure you find a bank with a convenient location.
Personally I find the convenience worth paying a little extra on fees etc. Think of all the other things in your life that you spend money on purely for convenience. Choosing a bank with a convenient location is surely worth it.