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by Ashley Maready | Published on Sept. 8, 2022
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The bank fits my life and a lot of my financial needs.
Check out The Ascent's picks for best high yield savings accounts
If you're a frequent reader of The Ascent and our personal finance coverage, you know we're big fans of online-only banks. There are several good reasons for this, including lower account fees (or none at all), ease of account sign-up, and higher APY offerings on savings accounts. While I will concede all of these points, and do in fact have a high-yield savings account with one of the highest-rated online banks, I currently do most of my banking with a big national bank. It's where my most-used checking account is kept, and over the years, I've taken advantage of many of its other financial offerings.
Why have I been so loyal to a big bank? There are five key reasons.
Big national banks offer auto loans, mortgages, credit cards, and more. I first formed a relationship with the bank at age 21 when I financed a car through it. I was new to adult money management, and I was happy with the customer service I received. Several years later, I also got a mortgage with the same bank, and while it wasn't a wise move for me to buy a house at that time, the mortgage application and approval process with such an established lender was pretty easy and reasonably low stress. And my bank has a partnership deal with a brokerage, so I'm considering opening an account with them next year when I'm ready to start investing.
When I got my first career position several months after I finished graduate school, I moved to a new city in a new part of the country, 1,000 miles away from where I had lived for school. I needed to switch banks immediately, since I had been with a regional bank that had no locations anywhere near my city. So I decided to join the national bank, having had a good experience of financing a car with it, and noting that it had locations everywhere. It's rare these days that I need to bank in person, but even as I've continued to move around the country, I've more often than not been near at least one of its branches, should the need arise.
You can sometimes get a touch of local investment from a big bank when it forms partnerships with local entities. For example, my checking account was fee-free because of my professional association with one of the larger employers in the city. I haven't worked there in 10 years, and no longer live anywhere near that city, but I still enjoy that checking account with no account maintenance fees. This is rare, as many brick-and-mortar bank accounts come with fees. If you're opening an account with a big bank, ask if you might qualify for such a deal.
You can get a credit card from a lot of banks, including your small neighborhood bank, but these aren't necessarily a great deal. Big banks, on the other hand, often offer excellent credit cards, with valuable rewards and easy account management. I have a few credit cards through my bank, and they have no annual fees and I earn a nice rate of cash back on my purchases in a few categories where I spend a lot of money.
My big national bank has a constantly evolving web presence, including a highly rated mobile app that I use nearly every day to check my account balance, pay bills, and move money around. I can get just about all my questions answered by visiting the app or the website, and on the off chance I need to speak to a human, they have a 24/7 customer service line I can call.
It's always a good idea to sit down and evaluate your relationships with your financial institutions. My big national bank has been working well for me for almost two decades, and as long as they continue to do so, I intend to remain a customer.
Many people are missing out on guaranteed returns as their money languishes in a big bank savings account earning next to no interest. Our picks of the best online savings accounts can earn you more than 19x the national average savings account rate. Click here to uncover the best-in-class picks that landed a spot on our shortlist of the best savings accounts for 2022.
On CIT's Secure Website.
On American Express' Secure Website.
APY: 2.10%
APY: 1.75%
Best For:
Best For:
Min. to earn APY: $100
Min. to earn APY: $1
Ashley Maready is a former history museum professional who entered digital content writing and editing in 2021. She has a BA from Hood College and an MA from Shippensburg University.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
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