Submitted by Jen Jones on Thu, 04/08/2010 - 11:18am
This blog talks at length about savings strategies and offers a great deal of consumer spending advice. Our goal is to create an all-encompassing approach to helping readers, clients and potential clients be financially successful after bankruptcy.
Having a healthy savings account should be the goal of anyone rebuilding after bankruptcy. But after the great bank fallout of the last two years, it's becoming hard for a lot Americans to trust some of our nation's largest financial institutions. Not only are the rate of return on these accounts very low, it seems every day banks are surprising account holders with a sudden fee or reduction in service.
If you remain skeptic and trust your tech-savvy, Web-based banks offer a number of attractive reasons to earn your savings account business.
Online banks can limit fees and offer higher interest rates because they do not have expensive overhead to cover, like hundreds of brick-and-mortar branches, thousands of employees and millions in advertising budgets. It also costs them less to service the customer because the means by which they do it—typically e-mail and instant messaging—costs much less than a person standing behind a counter.
Many online banks do offer phone service, so you can speak to someone when necessary. Another way they can limit fees—and this is a good thing—is by limiting access to your cash. No, not in a negative, "you can't have it" kind of way but more so by not having ATM machines or again, physical branches.
Since everything is set up electronically, you can establish a line of connection between your online savings account and a local branch where you maintain a checking account. So yes, you may still have to deal with the big guys to some extent. In that respect, look around for a regional bank with only a few branches. Many of these institutions still do business like they used to, with neighbors working behind the desk and managers who remember your name.
Many online banks also limit the number of transfers you can arrange in a given month. Again, a good thing. Savings accounts are not meant to be accessed like a checking account. Unless you need it, it's best to let the money sit. It should be noted though, that the transfer limit is set by federal law, not the banks.
Lastly, these banks are experts in user studies, creating Web sites that are very easy to use, navigate and set up. Thus, you don't need to be a Web genius to online and start saving. If interested, do some comparisons. A site with current comparisons can be found at: http://moneyning.com/online-savings-accounts/.
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