Featured

Questions to Ask The Bank

First_Bank_of_Hope,_AR_IMG_6453With over 70 banks in Orange County, finding the right bank takes time.  When you’ve narrowed your search down, or think you have settled on one, go for a visit.

Once you visit the branch, pay attention to the employees working.  They should greet you when you walk in, there should be chatter between customers and the bankers, and someone should introduce his or herself to you.  Once you explain your intentions, a good hearty conversation should follow.  Bankers should ask questions and listen to understand your needs. You should expect questions about how you like to bank, if you use online banking, have direct deposit, use a debit card or write checks.  Banks have more than one account type and they should be promoting the one that best works for you, not them.  

Questions to Ask

Pay attention to the bankers willingness to answer questions.  Here are some basic questions. Feel free to add your own.

What account types do you offer?  What are the fees?  How do I avoid fees?

  • What savings account options are there?  What costs are associated with them?
  • What perks come with your checking accounts?  Ask about free checks, ATM fees, and other bank services.
  • What are typical branch hours? Are there branches with weekend hours?
  • Who handles customer service issues?  Is the branch equipped or does telephone banking handle these?
  • What other services does the branch offer? Notary? Fax? Copies?
  • What is the best way to reach your banker?  Phone, email or a visit?

Consider carefully the answers to those questions.  You’ll need to balance their answers against what you like.  With so many options of where to bank, you don’t need to conform to a bank, really find one that meets your needs.  Some banks have incredible accounts and services with no fees for military service members.  Some have student and senior accounts.  Others have perks for customers with certain balances or direct deposit.  

Branch hours may be important at well. If the branch is open only during normal banking hours, this may pose a problem if your work schedule mirrors those.  You’ll be finding yourself rushing over on lunch, leaving work early or sandbagging needs into am errands-day-off.  Or you’ll be forced to use telephone customer service.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, being referred to a phone representative might work for you.  If you like to talk with someone face to face, you want the option of the branch helping you.  If your banker uses email for communication, this is another bonus.  Best option is bank that has branches with weekend hours not too far away.

Your dialogue with the branch should be conversational, not an interrogation. You’re looking for a banking relationship more than a bank account.  You want to be known as a customer not as an account. When you leave with your answers, you should feel like you just met someone, not left an appointment. One business owner used these questions to find the perfect bank to finance his business, “patio covers orange county“. If you have any questions on how to use this information to find the right bank for you, please contact us.

Quick Tips: Don’t Make These Mistakes With Your Debit Card

With credit card theft being so prevalent these days, we wanted to share with you some quick and not so obvious tips that can help you avoid years of headache down the road. When your credit or debit card information is stolen, you have a whole lot more to worry about than just recovering some stolen money out of your accounts. Many identity thieves start off with your credit card than use that information to gain more sensitive information about you including your social security number. Once your social security number gets stolen, it can take you an average of six years to erase the damages that have been done. Does that sound fun to you? We didn’t think so. Here are some tips to help you avoid this nightmare.

  1. Don’t use your credit or debit card at the gas station! Many people fell victim to theft from using their cards at the gas pumps because thieves will secretly install card readers into gas station pumps. This is a pretty unsuspecting place because most gas stations have security cameras but an experience thief can accomplish this feat pretty easily. Long story short, use cash when you fill up with gas!
  2. Don’t everplug your credit card information into a website that doesn’t have the security lock on the left hand corner of the URL section. prevent credit card theftIt is extremely important that when you do put in your credit or debit card numbers into a website, this lock must be in the top left hand corner. If there is no lock that means the server is not secure and hackers can pretty easily get your information without much effort. All of the big corporations and trusted websites have this security lock but a lot of smaller online stores do not have this. Even if you see your favorite pair of jeans on sale at an online retail store and you are very tempted to buy them, if there’s no lock, don’t do it!

We know these tips MIGHT seem pretty obvious but we can’t even begin to tell you how many stories we’ve heard from our friends and family about getting ripped off by credit card thieves. Please always remember these quick tips because the two methods that we’ve mentioned above are the most common ways people are getting their credit cards and identities stolen! If you have any questions or comments about credit card theft or keeping your identity secure, please contact us here.