A good deal from a bank can save you interest payments, and bank offers might include freebies, drawings, free checking or temporary reductions in or eliminations of credit card interest. With so many banks and so many offers, it can be challenging to find one that fits your needs. Taking the time to ask for a special offer and to research the promotions various banks are running can help you get the best deal.
Take stock of your spending habits. A zero-interest credit card won't do you much good if you rarely use credit, and a waiver of ATM fees won't help if there's a branch of your bank just up the road. Examine areas where you're losing the most money in fees and interest. These are the areas in which you need to save. For example, if you find that you get charged overdraft fees every month, a bank that offers overdraft waivers or lower overdraft fees might be the best option.
Compare bank rates by reviewing advertisements, talking to friends and family and reading online reviews. Focus on your specific needs rather than going with the bank that has the most deals or the biggest fan base. Then, gather evidence of the deals each bank offers to serve as leverage in negotiations with your local bank.
Go to your local bank branch and directly request a better deal. When you chat with someone in person at the branch, you're more likely to win them over. Explain specifically which deals you want, and point to evidence that other banks are offering similar deals. You'll need to be prepared to close your account if you aren't offered the deal you want.
Visit a small, local bank or credit union. Locally-owned banks sometimes offer better rates, so if you're sick of your bank or don't have an account, opening your first account at a credit union can be a wise strategy. Ask for the bank's best rates, and explain exactly what you want. Don't allow yourself to be taken in by advertisements for products you don't need. A low-rate credit card won't help you if overdraft and ATM fees are the problem.
- Banks are often willing to offer deals to new customers, so consider trying a new bank if your current bank can't give you what you need.
- Don't argue or become aggressive with customer service representatives. Being mean rarely gets people what they want. Instead, point to reasons why you want the deal you're requesting and offer evidence that other banks provide similar deals.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.