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Choosing the right bank or credit union

Several factors come in to play when choosing which bank or credit union is right for you. Learn more about what you should consider before opening a new account.

Products and services

Banks and credit unions offer a variety of deposit, credit, and other related services. Determine exactly what financial products and services you are looking for. For example, do you want online banking, a debit card, or loan options? After deciding what products and services you want, choose a bank or credit union that can best meet your needs.


You should consider whether you need a financial institution with few or many locations. Also consider whether you work a considerable distance from your home. If so, is it more important for your depository institution to be located close to home or close to work? Or, do you want to be able to access locations both at home and at work? If location does not matter, consider if online banking is available.

Hometown feel

Many people enjoy banking in an environment where the employees know you by name. Local community institutions may be able to provide a greater customer focus and personal connection.

ATM & debit cards

Do you plan on using your ATM or debit card and like to access your account(s) from multiple locations? Consider a bank or credit union with a large surcharge-free network of ATMs.

The SUM Network, Co-Op Network, and STAR Network offer surcharge-free ATM networks in Massachusetts. You can find a list of participating financial institutions on each network’s website.


Do you prefer to do your banking from your computer or mobile device? If so, consider a bank or credit union that offers this capability. Most banks and credit unions now offer eBanking options. Talk with your financial institution representative to determine which option may be best for you.


Federal laws require banks and credit unions to disclose all account fees in advance. Fees may vary depending on your account balance and the number and type of transactions you make. Many financial institutions will waive account fees if you have a large enough balance or use certain products and services.

Make sure you are aware of the fee structure you may be charged for the number of completed monthly transactions. This may include check writing, ATM transactions, and point of sale transactions. Some accounts charge for each transaction while others may limit the number of free transactions per month.

How to change banks or credit unions

The actual process of closing an account with one bank or credit union and opening a new account with another is simple. This can become complicated when dealing with checking accounts. There may be a delay of when you can write checks or access funds.

To avoid any issues, open a new checking account before closing your original account. This will allow you to begin writing new checks while waiting for any checks from the older account to clear. You may have to complete paperwork to update direct deposit and automatic deduction information.

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