Many people fail to realize that their banking institution is, in fact, a business. And as such, they’re using a wide range of marketing and sales strategies on you, whether you realize it or not. It’s up to you to be the smart customer. Let’s review five of the sales strategies you should keep an eye on.
1. Cash or Gift Card Offer for Opening an Account
When a new bank branch opens in your neighborhood, you may receive a mailer informing you that you could receive a hefty cash bonus or gift card for opening a new account. Free money may sound great, until you realize that there is a catch. Very often you have to meet a minimum balance deposit for a required period of time, effectively locking you into doing business with the bank. Think about it: How often do you switch banks? Consider whether you really want to deal with having a new bank account before you jump at the offer.
2. Free Checking Account
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and some free checking accounts are no exception. Common requirements that banks impose on their customers include:
- Maintaining a minimum balance. Some banks require a minimum daily balance per statement cycle to have a $0 monthly maintenance fee;
- Meeting a minimum number of transactions. Some banks may require you to use your debit card a minimum of 10 to 12 times per month; or
- Making at least one monthly deposit. Often, that monthly deposit must be a direct deposit from your employer.
Banks may set only one of these requirements or a combination of them. If you were to fall short on any of these requirements — such as making only 11 out of 12 required monthly transactions, or having an account balance below the required minimum for even just…