Whether you are looking for a new current account for yourself or a loved one, checking accounts for senior citizens are sometimes different than other accounts. However, just because it is labelled as a “senior” account does not mean that it is the better option. Sometimes a bank’s regular offering is a better deal, according to www.thebalance.com.
Why get a bank special account?
Because some banks offer special perks and pricing for senior citizens—often defined as people of 55 years of age and above. Banks live and die in the senior age group. In fact, three out of every five depositors was born before 1964. That is 70 per cent of bank balances! Every bank is highly motivated to load their books with senior customers. Look at some of the perks offered by well-known banks:
There are some banks that if you are over the age of 65, some fees are waived. You get free debit card, cheque book and SMS (GeNs) transaction notifications. No minimum account opening balance and zero charges for debit transactions etc.
Some banks offer the 60 plus current account, which gives free money orders, and cashier’s cheques and the fee is waived with a minimum daily balance.
If you are 55 or older, you also get free personal cheques in some banks, and your fee is waived if your monthly average is more than a specified amount.
Some other banks offer perks. Wherever you decide to shop for a new account, don’t forget to ask about any senior discounts.
What should I look for?
Assessing your needs is not much different than when you were younger but you might have different answers for some of the questions.
Are you looking for a bank with physical branches?
Are there branches close to you?
Are you a snowbird looking for a national bank versus a regional?
Do you write a lot of cheques?
Is a high-interest rate on deposit accounts important to you?
What’s the fee structure?
If you use ATMs a lot, what is that fee structure?
How is their online portal? Easy to navigate and understand?
How does the bank compare to a small microfinance?
Is a senior current account really the best option?
Just because a bank account is marketed as ideal for senior citizens does not mean that it is a better deal. For example, you might find a senior current account offered with a specific maintenance fee when their fee on other accounts is less.
In other instances, you might find that a current account of any sort does not make sense. If you have to keep some amount in the account to qualify for a payment, you might be better off keeping the money in a savings account or in a fixed deposit where interest is paid regardless of the balance.
Also, look at which fees are waived and if that is a perk for you. If you don’t send cashier’s cheques or money orders, the perk of getting those for free is not a perk for you.
Other bank accounts to consider
Even if an account is labelled as “senior” or “retiree” does not mean that it is not a good fit for that age group. Here are a few of the best as of late 2018:
How to open a bank account
Opening a bank account can seem intimidating. Fortunately, most banks follow a process similar to the one described below. Getting your account open is just a matter of providing certain details and funding your account. Once the formalities are done, you can start using your account — and save time and money.
Choose a bank
You might already know where you want to bank. If not, shop around. Start by finding the best match for your immediate need (a current account, for example). As you compare institutions, be especially mindful of fees that can eat into your savings.
Basic categories of banks
Banks: These might be well-known brands in your local community (or nationwide), and they offer most of the basic services you need. Local and regional banks tend to have more friendly fee structures, but it may be possible to get fees waived at big banks.
Online banks: Some institutions operate entirely online. There is no branch to visit (or pay for), and you’ll handle most service requests yourself. If you are comfortable with your computer or mobile device — and most basic banking transactions — an online bank can help you earn higher interest rates on savings and get free checking. That said, you don’t have to pick just one type of bank — it’s wise to open an online bank account and keep your brick-and-mortar bank.
Visit the bank branch or website
The easiest way to open an account is to visit the institution’s website. Search for the bank on Google, or visit the website listed on the bank’s marketing materials (be careful when you type in the web address — impostor sites with similar names may exist).