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When shopping around for a bank, what do you look for before deciding? Do you care about reputation, banking fees or products and services? As the Digital Age has created new ways to bank and has increased super-banking innovation, it is now more challenging to differentiate between them. The Bankscope Global Banking Database records 32,000 different banks globally. In Norway, there are 105 savings, 17 commercial and several state-owned banks, including Instabank, which is overseen by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway. With so many choices, here’s a money expert’s advice on choosing the right bank for your needs.

Reputation Is Everything

Just as a consumer’s creditworthiness is a valid concern for lenders, so is a financial institution’s reputation to customers. Banks are transaction-specific institutions that are dependent on a stable framework, but their good standings are earned by offering personalized user experiences, customer interaction and user-friendly services.

Banks are also gaining reputations for all the wrong reasons. Before selecting a bank, take the time to visit their websites to determine if it fits your needs. Also, read online reviews and notice how each institution responds. While you should expect to see a few complaints, you also want a bank that respectfully responds with attentive care.

Based on reputation research in the 2019 Retail Banking Reputation Report, nearly nine out of ten consumers read reviews about retail bankers and nearly six-out-of-ten would not consider banking with an institution that had less than four stars. It is the very reason why customer interaction and social media engagement ensure reputation management.

Determine Customer Needs

Another crucial factor you must consider is your consumer need, which national banks, regional banks or digital banks will offer various products and services that you must weigh the value in the short and long-term. Do you need a checking account, or do you intend to apply for credit cards, invest in mutual funds or seek a personal loan? Do you anticipate needing higher funding to buy a home mortgage or go to college? Accessibility is incredibly vital, so you need to choose a bank that embodies your wants and needs.

Scrutinize Banking Fees

How often have you heard a bank offer free checking only to find out later that you need to meet certain deposit thresholds to quality? Always read the fine print as banks that offer free checking services for some clients will then apply penalties and fees to another subset of customers to recoup losses. Ask about the minimum balance requirement, checking fees and direct deposit perks. You will likely find that smaller financial institutions have friendlier customer service policies than bigger banks.

Availability and Scalability

While current product and service availability is significant to understand before choosing a bank, you also want an institution that can scale with your needs. Will a bank provide an unsecured loan? Do they increase lines of credit reasonably quickly for trustworthy customers? Are interest rates, banking services and fees beneficial?

Whether you are single, married, or retired, the right bank has the infrastructure to meet your needs regardless of your situation. Making financial decisions is as easy as what’s best for you.

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