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What is the best bank for me?

As VA I have a lot of experience with banks.  Small banks, big banks, local banks, national banks and I have to say, not all of them are created equal.  Pretty much all of them have online bill pay now, so that shouldn’t be a big draw if you are considering changing banks or opening a new business.  What you have to look at is what is included and what is extra.  Many of the big, national banks have a lot included for a small or no monthly fee.  For example, if you need a merchant account (that’s an account that allows you take credit cards and not use something like PayPal) Bank of American and Chase will waive your monthly fees.  Some banks will waive your business account fees if your mortgage is serviced by them.  My bank offers the ability to pay people and businesses by ACH (similar to direct deposit) for a low monthly fee.  My experience working with Chase in person has been great — their small business bankers really bend over backward for you, but their online banking has had issues in the past year.  National banks also offer super low payroll services.

So, what I am getting at is that you have to carefully review your choices, add up the costs, and actually talk with someone at each bank you are considering.  While choosing the wrong bank isn’t fatal mistake, it can be a costly one.  It helps to have someone to help you compare apples with apples.  Not every bank calls every service by the same name.

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