Bank Products and Services Shopper’s Guide

  • What to Know About Mortgages – Choices used to be simple with fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgages, but now there are many new loan product offers (e.g. interest-only, option ARM, no down payment, little or no documentation, or 40 year fixed-rate) that might benefit some but not others, so what is right for you and your family?
  • What to Know About Home Equity Products – Tapping into the equity of your house is one way to borrow money when home values are on the rise, but does this make sense to do this for you and what are the potential risks that you might be facing?
  • What to Know About Credit Cards – Will you be paying off the balance by the due date, incurring interesting on a monthly basis, or possibly getting a card that does not have an annual membership fee, make a plan and choose the credit card that suites your needs in order to prevent unwanted fee accumulation.
  • What to Know About Checking Accounts – Are you still getting paper bills or need a safer way to donate to your favorite charities, determine how you will use a checking account and prevent the costly fees associated with features that are not applicable to your needs.
  • What to Know About Bank CDs – Do you need a secure short or long-term investment that could net you a better return than the interest rate of a saving or check account, look at investing in a bank CD (i.e. certificate of deposit) with money that you probably do not need at the moment, but still want access to just in case.
  • Your Buying Power in Relation to Credit Reports and Scores – Find out the importance of why an accurate credit record affects you, actions you can implement to increase your score, who you should contact for credit history issues and corrections, and how a high-quality score aids in getting better loan terms, which in turn equates to lower payments.
  • The Good and Bad of Internet Banking – Conveniences from banking via the internet are defiantly appealing, but the advantages and disadvantages that could pertain to your situation need thorough research with measures implemented to secure yourself and personal finances online.
  • Do New Account Gifts Make Sense? – Who does not love a gift, but as a gift for opening a new financial account (e.g. checking, savings, credit card, or certificate of deposit) may seem advantageous, you will want to examine the fine print attached to that gift and conclude whether that new piggy bank is worth any potential fees you may face in the future.
  • Banks Becoming One Stop Shops – Banks are not just a place for savings and checking accounts anymore, now days they provide many offerings in a variety of products and services (e.g. investments and insurance) that may or may not be an attractive substitute for higher rates of return on your money.
  • Bank Customer Research To-do List – Once you have acquired services or products from a bank you do not want to flip on autopilot, make sure to periodically review your existing accounts, research your current products and services offered by competitors, and keep a file of updated disclosures.
  • Shopping with a Little Help from the FDIC – Do not go at it alone when learning about handling money, dealing with complaint resolution or shopping for financial goods and services, visit the FDIC web site for news articles, pamphlets, alerts, and interactive educational programs and get the answers to your questions.
  • What to Do After a Personal Data Security Breach – When retailers, credit card processing firms, or companies responsible for handling your personal finance data have a security breach and make it into the nightly news headlines it can be scary, find out what actions you should take when these types of situations transpire.
  • How to Identify a Fake Check – Counterfeit cashier’s checks, money orders, and personal check fraudsters use postal mail, electronic mail (i.e. email) and nefarious internet websites to locate and defraud their victims, do not fall for these types of solicitations and see what you can do to give yourself a heads-up to this type of activity.
  • Credit Card Minimum Payment Increases and Medical Data Usage by Lenders – Regulators of federal banking fearing a borrower’s depth of debt and length of time to pay off (i.e. repayment) card balances have credit card issuers beginning to increase the minimum monthly payment requirements and whether or not an institution can us a creditors medical situation (e.g. status or prognosis) when considering decisions based credit eligibility.
  • New FDIC Service for Bank Research Service – The FDIC has released a new service that will allows you to find the answers to questions you may have about your bank (e.g. are they insured, branch locations, website, or previous name changes) or a financial institution you might have an interest in moving your financial business to.

"Consumer News Summer 2005." FDIC. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, . Web. .

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