Meet your perfect (money) match
(BPT) - For many, the relationship with your bank can be one of the longest and most important commitments you'll ever have.
More than half of consumers say they are committed to their bank, according to a recent survey from TD Bank
. Moreover, nearly two-thirds of those in a committed banking relationship also feel valued by their financial institution in return.
However, if you're among the few feeling as though you are in a one-sided relationship, maybe your bank is "just not that into you." Just as there are many fish in the sea, there is a banking match out there for everyone, which can easily be found by simply assessing your personal finance needs.
Feel the love
The first step to achieving a healthy relationship with your bank is to determine what you need to suit your lifestyle and what "value" means to you.
"Similar to personal relationships, the best banking relationships are built upon trust and knowing that your partner will be there when you need them," says John Rosenfeld, head of retail deposits for TD Bank. For some, feeling the love from your bank can be as simple as feeling the banking staff is there for you.
Studies have shown that the majority of consumers say helpful staff and personal service make them feel valued. If you are in the same boat, look for financial institutions that offer customer service beyond a teller. Look for banks that value your needs by offering 24/7, 365-days-a-year call centers with real people on the other end, are open when you want them to be and can even chat with you on Twitter.
Love don't cost a thing
According to Rosenfeld, perhaps the single most important step a person can take in determining their perfect banking connection is deciding on a checking account. Nearly two-thirds of respondents to the TD Bank poll noted that no monthly checking fees and low minimum balances are the top ways their bank shows its commitment.
Contrary to popular belief, new versions of checking accounts with perks like low to no fees, access to a vast network of ATMs and even no-fee instant issue debit cards are still available. According to a Bankrate survey, the average minimum checking balance to avoid a monthly fee rose from $249 to $585 last year. Some banks have minimum balance requirements as low as $100 to avoid charges and you still get a great checking account with lots of benefits. Avoid getting locked in to leaving huge balances just to avoid a fee.
Always there for you
Aside from product and service offerings, it's important that your bank is available when and where you need it. Consider how much access you need to a branch or ATM and if you prefer mobile banking. According to the TD Bank poll, more than 50 percent of respondents cited convenient banking locations and easy online banking as key components to a bank showing a commitment to customers.
Some banks have added fees for making in-person transactions through tellers, while others include unlimited access to store branches. Look for a bank with an extended network of ATMs and mobile banking, allowing you quick and easy access to your money.
Values and commitment are important things to share in any relationship, including ones related to your finances. Whether you are content in your banking relationship or if you are searching for your perfect match, choosing a bank is about more than finding a place to deposit money - it's about finding a bank that works with your lifestyle.