I’ve changed banks a few times over the years. Every time I switch banks I know it’s because I’m trying to find one that fits my current needs (even as they change). For me, it’s important that the bank I’m with helps me pay my bills and keeps me on track with my savings goals—which means a ton of help in the budgeting department. Here are a few banks (along with some must-have banking tools) that all offer comprehensive budgeting help—which makes them worthy of consideration if you decide to change banks.
Must-have budget-friendly banking tools
If you’ve determined that your current bank can’t provide the tools you need, be sure to review this checklist with any new bank before making the switch. Each of these tools is essential to helping you stick to your monthly budget!
- Comprehensive online banking: This includes real-time account updates, linked accounts (such as checking with savings), online statements (at least a 12-month history), account transfer options, transaction finder and eDeposit.
- Overdraft protection: With this service, you can prevent unexpected transactions from incurring extra fees.
- Option to sync with financial management tools: Mint.com, Quicken, TurboTax and other tools can sync with your bank—if it’s online-friendly.
- Auto–draft: With auto-draft, you can set up automatic transfers and bill payments. This is a huge help when it comes to automatically paying down debt and building savings.
- Online bill pay: With bill pay you can manage nearly all of your bills in one place. I’ve always paid water, sewer, gas, electric and car payments through bill pay—it’s nice to be able to get them all paid without having to go to multiple websites, or drive to go pay them in person.
3 Budget-friendly online banks
Some of the best banks today don't have physical branch locations—they operate 100% online. While this may not be what you’re used to, these new banks can offer some undeniable advantages—courtesy of low overhead and a focus on mobile-friendly banking.
1. Ally Bank
- Website: http://www.ally.com
- Perks: This bank has no monthly fees, an interest-bearing checking account (up to .10%), very low service fees (their insufficient funds fee is just $9 with a once-per-day limit) and they offer eDeposit, which means you can deposit checks just by snapping a picture of the check with your phone.
2. Capital 360
- Website: https://home.capitalone360.com
- Perks: Earn a $50 bonus when you sign up for a checking account (applied to your account on the 50th day after it’s opened), no fees or account minimums and .2% interest rates, 38,000 free ATMs nationwide, you can scan checks with the app or on your computer for an easy eDeposit, they’re FDIC-insured and you can even use their online stock trading portal for just $6.95 per trade!
- Website: http://www.nationwide.com/online-banking.jsp
- Perks: Open a checking account now and get $200, free use of partner ATMS (up to 6 times per month), full mobile banking which includes eDeposit and account fees are waived if you use direct deposit and your ATM card just 8 times per month.
3 Budget-friendly traditional banks
If you’re more comfortable being able to drive to your bank and deal with your banking in-person then the brick-and-mortar banks might be more your style.
1. Bank of America
- Website: https://www.bankofamerica.com/onlinebanking/financial-management-tools.go
- Perks: They have comprehensive online banking, a MyPortfolio tracking tool that brings all accounts together in one place so you can build and track your budget, you can also sync with Quicken and other budgeting and tax preparation tools, sign up for email and text alerts, auto-pay and much more.
2. TD Bank
- Website: http://www.tdbank.com
- Perks: TD Bank won top honors for the "Best Big Bank" this year, they have a huge network of branches and ATMs, online banking includes bill pay, transfers, statement viewing, apps for iOS and Android devices, eDeposit, account tracking and much more.
3. BBVA Compass Bank
- Website: https://www.bbvacompass.com
- Perks: They have online and app-based services with bill pay, funds transfer, statements, account alerts, a new Simple Cash Back program to match you with cash back offers based on your spending history, 43,000 ATMs nationwide, eDeposit and they now have the Pop Money feature, which lets you pay people from the app.
Need a bank matchmaker?
Time and Money have collaborated to create an online "bank matchmaker" tool to help you find the best bank for your needs and goals. All you have to do is answer four questions!
- Bank Selector Tool: http://time.com/money/page/money-bank-selector/
Need more budgeting tips? Make sure to keep up with our Budgeting Survival 101 series: