How to choose reliable financial institutions and companies

Choosing the right bank or credit union can make all the difference when it comes to safeguarding your money, handling payments and establishing credit. It is worth taking the time to compare fees, interest rates and services.

This is especially important if you plan to use a bank for small business banking.

1. Reputation

Reputation is a crucial factor in choosing a financial institution, bank or company. Choosing a bank with a good reputation can ensure that you have access to the products and services you need, is secure and provides a high level of customer service. Using the right tools, you can assess a bank’s reputation and stability by looking at its history, fees, interest rates, credit ratings, customer reviews, and financial statements.

The key to understanding reputation is to view it as a socially transmitted meta-belief that results from the attitudes other actors have about some socially desirable behaviour, such as reciprocity or norm compliance. This is different from image, which moves directly from individual cognition to social propagation, but also differs from perception, which involves the transmission of information that may or may not be true.

Understanding how a bank’s reputation is evolving can help you make informed decisions. Various techniques exist for evaluating reputation, such as media analysis, surveys of customers, employees, investors and NGOs, and industry expert opinions.

2. Fees

Choosing a financial institution to hold your money can be an intimidating process. Banks and alternative financial services providers all offer the ability to save and borrow, but they charge different fees and pay interest on your money at differing rates. Choosing the best one for you requires research and comparison, and sometimes takes time to find the right fit. You should consider your own banking habits and personal preferences, as well as those of your friends and family. Make a chart or list to rank the institutions you are considering against these criteria, and use the process of elimination to find your perfect match. You can always change banks later as your needs and finances evolve. However, do not forget to diversify your accounts.

3. Convenience

Convenience is a term that describes procedures, products or services which make something easier to access or use than the traditional way. When it comes to choosing financial institutions, convenience is a big factor in making the right choice. You should choose a bank that is close to your home or office, has easy access to online and mobile banking, offers competitive interest rates, charges reasonable fees and doesn’t penalize you for things like overdrafts. It’s a good idea to compare several banks against these criteria and choose the one that best fits your personal needs. You can even use a comparison chart to help you sort through the options. You may be surprised at how far a little research can go!

It might take some time to find the perfect fit, but in the end you’ll be happy you did.

4. Customer Service

Although you may be tempted to go with your friends’ suggestions or the latest trend, you should find a financial institution that puts its customers first. Regardless of the industry, good customer service is a crucial way to boost revenues and grow your brand.

Motteram notes that there are 3 important qualities to look for in a company’s customer service strategy: professionalism, patience and people-first attitude. Professionalism involves having clear guidelines and procedures that can help you address any issue or problem. It also means providing relevant and timely information in a friendly manner.

Patience is a key attribute to consider because it helps you stay calm when dealing with difficult customers. It also allows you to be flexible with your standard guidelines when a situation calls for it. For example, if you know your customer has an emotional issue and needs to be reassured, you can provide a solution that goes beyond what’s expected in order to make them happy.