What is BFBD?

BFBD is a Psycho-Electro Punk band from Toronto Canada. They generate power for their gear using dogsled generators and they eat a box of Creed for breakfast everyday! You don't mess with BFBD cause they'll gnaw off you legs and build a dam with them. You listen to BFBD cause you can't fathom what type of sound all this BS is backing up!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What's the best Online Bank? How to choose an Online Bank.

     So you are one of tens of thousands of people on the internet asking "What's the best online bank?" Depending on who you ask this may or may not be a good question, but we think its worth addressing at least. Choosing an online bank shouldn't be a matter of joining the top online bank in a google search  (ING Direct, last time I checked), nor should it be asking "What's the best online bank?" on an online bank forum and choosing the online bank that gets mentioned the most. If you are planning to join an online bank and start your journey in the world of online banking then you need to do your research!
     By this point if you've read any of the other posts on this blog you may be wondering why I'm not plugging ING Direct Canada and their orange key referral program that can earn you $2000...well it was only a matter of time. But I'd like to try to offer some unbiased help when it comes to choosing an online bank, rather than giving you my list of top 5 online banks. Get some info, do some research, make your own 'informed' decision. This is the process you should follow.

     Where to start...you can start in so many places, but I'll put your token at a good, safe starting point. Do you have any online banking experience? If you haven't used an online bank before I suggest getting some, and you probably don't need to know what the best online bank is to do it. You have a regular bank right? I'd hope so or else we need to step back quite a few spaces. Assuming you do thought, check out if your bank offers online banking. They don't?...garbage...but it't not my business who you bank with. Why not get an account at another local bank that does? Having an online bank account with your regular bank is a great place to start, and it's where I got my first experience online banking. The reason I'd recommend taking this route is because you know already you are choosing a credible online bank and also it should be a whole lot easier and faster to setup an account compared to other online banks.  I won't go into further detail with this point, give it a shot, see how things are done and learn in a relatively safe environment about how online banks and online banking works.
     Okay so you're lv.10 and ready to get off newbie island (...sorry, its another passion) what do you do? Well how about making a list of online banks. Browse the online bank forums, or even more helpful would be to ask friends and family what online bank or online banks they do their banking at. Got yourself a big list? Smell that list and make sure there isn't any crap on it (oopsie)! What I mean by that is are all the online banks on your list trust worthy? Are they all real online banks? This is your money we are talking about, don't get scammed! Look at your online bank list and type those names into google one by one, see if people are talking about the bank, find out if they are having good experiences or not. If you can't find much information about a particular bank or the top search result is about fraud maybe you should move on to the next candidate.
     Now your online bank list is smelling like a rose and lost a few pounds thanks to the proven research diet (not Jenny), let's move on! Wait...not yet, one last thing to check. Are the remaining online banks insured? In Canada for example banks are insured by CDICCanada Deposit Insurance Corporation. It's really important in case something unfortunate happens (sometimes even a good bank has trouble). Do a little more research and trim down your online bank options a bit more.
     Okay, now let's go! Not every bank is the same and this applies for online banks as well. Finding out what's the best online bank should be done through comparing a number of points and settling on the online bank which both comes out on top and you feel comfortable choosing. So what are the important points to consider when comparing online banks? Don't limit yourself to this list but use it to get started!
     1. Bank Fees! High bank fees, competitive bank fees, low bank fees, no bank fees...You need to know what fees the online bank will charge you, when they will do it and how much it will cost. One popular online bank fee is the withdraw fee, you can put your money in for free but it'll cost you to take it out! However a few online banks offer no fee online banking service which is great.
     2. Access to your money! Can you withdraw your money anytime you want? Is there a transaction limit? What holding times if any are placed on your money? Some online banks will place your money on hold until transactions pass, it's normal but you should know how long you'll need to wait before you can access your money again. Also you want to make sure thank you can reach your money when you need it. Can you withdraw straight from your online bank or do you need to transfer the money to your physical bank and withdraw from there? These things take a couple days...business days that is.
     3. Product range. What do the online banks offer? Or what do you need your online bank to offer? A Savings Account, Tax-Free Savings Account, Chequing Account, GIC, Mutual Fund, Mortgage, Loan, RRSP, Savings Bonds...did I hit all the Keywords? I know there's more, see for yourself what your needs are and if the online bank can meet them.
     4. Interest Rates! One nice thing about online banks is they tend to offer high interest rates, at least compared to a regular bank. THIS POST has a little more info on interest rates at various online banks, it's defiantly worth reading.
     5. Customer Service! Not only is this important when choosing an online bank but it's something we take into consideration with a variety of subjects, don't let online banking be any different. If you need help will you be able to get it and how? Does the online bank have a toll-free number, an address to sent written letters, an e-mail address for your inquiries, or even a live chat option so you can ask on the spot questions about as face to face as possible with an online bank? Forums are a good place to find information on this topic, everyone likes to complain and share their horror stories it seems.
     6. Promotions and Offers! Can you get anything for free from the online bank? A little bit of free money perhaps? Signing up, switching and transferring bank accounts are all reasons some online banks will give you a bonus. You are working really hard collecting information, you deserve something for it.

     I don't know about you but I need a break...These six points should be plenty enough to start your search for an online bank. If you've researched all the points and compared the banks than a couple online banks should stick out above the rest. So online bank A or online bank B, which one? B! Always B!! Unless A is a better choice...Feel free to decide any way you want.r, has a catchier trademark, uses your favorite color in the interface. You should feel good about the online bank you choose, everything comes together to create your online banking experience, make it a positive one and if possible fun!
     After a long read did you get an answer to the question 'What is the best online bank?' No. Why? Because you need to be smart when it comes to online banking and choosing an online bank, I'm not going to help you be dumb about it. But hopefully I gave you enough information to make a smart choice. Take your time, it' worth it!

     What are your opinions? Leave a comment and let me know. If you want to post your favorite online bank then go for it, but try to give some useful info at the same time such as pros and cons.

     And finally the links... If you think ING Direct Canada is a good choice then  -Sign Up Now at ING Direct.ca (don`t forget to copy an ING Direct Canada Orange Key  33885729S1 to get your free $25) See our original post about the ING Direct Orange Key program HERE for more information.

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