Labeled as profit mongers who invent outrageous fees and give mediocre customer service, banks have not made a good impression on consumers. As a result, many of us end up looking for alternatives. One option: a credit union.
This year has been tough for bank revenues: changes to overdraft coverage, the CARDAct, and the upcoming regulation of debit card interchange fees are all hitting banks in the bottom line. That makes free checking harder to find, and any of the products I discuss could change their terms at any time. For now, however, these are some of the best.
recent financial sector reforms have largely outlawed these practices. And while consumers are no doubt jumping for joy, the banks are not quietly accepting the loss of billions of dollars in annual profit. Instead, they have already rolled out a series of new (and perfectly legal) fees, ranging from maintenance fees on previously free checking accounts to innovative charges on debit cards.
Surely you’ve heard that there are a lot of people in the US who don’t have a bank account. The “unbanked,” as they’re called, feature in all sorts of political arguments—about predatory lending, about personal responsibility, about the state of America’s finances.
Mobile banking has been a blessing to anyone who values quick, painless money management. Here in the United States, the ability to check account balances and transfer money via mobile phone has reduced the need to bank at physical branches (never a fun task), or even sit in front of a computer. However, in emerging economies, mobile banking means something far more profound.
Countless action and mystery movies depict Swiss bank accounts as places for villains to hide ill-gotten fortunes. But today, offshore banking is much more than a haven for underhanded financial shell games. Increasingly, legitimate businesses and individuals are finding it more advantageous than ever to utilize offshore banks for the privacy, flexibility and accessibility that they offer.
First came online banking which allowed you to pay bills, examine account balances and transfer funds with the click of a mouse. With the widespread use of smartphones and the arrival of mobile apps, it is now possible to do all of your banking from a mobile phone.