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Do You Need to Use Traditional Banking Services?

We’ve been brought up to think that traditional banks are the place to go for anything financial, especially as a place to keep and withdraw your money. Is that really still true? Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Traditional Bank Checking Accounts
A checking account is probably the first thing you think of when you think of banking services. Every bank and credit union offers a range of checking account services, and they usually charge for them. Those monthly charges can range from fairly minimal—under $20—to higher amounts. They can also be free if you keep a minimum balance in your account, or if you also have a savings account with a minimum balance. Those minimum balances will differ from bank to bank, and from account type to account type. The message here is: Be sure to shop around, be clear on the rules of your accounts, keep your paperwork, and read the fine print.

One much-complained-about feature of bank checking accounts is their hefty overdraft fee. Those fees have increased, and can very quickly add up to a serious amount, as much as between $50 and $100 for a single overdraft and bounced check(s).

Checking Account Alternatives
What do you use your checking account for? For most of us, it’s to pay bills. But thanks to modern technology, there are several alternatives to writing out a paper bank check and mailing it.

Most utilities and other services have electronic bill-pay options, and you can frequently use a credit or pre-paid card to pay electronically, as you can with Hawaiian Electric, for example.

You can also drop off your payment at a utility’s office, or come in to PayDayHawaii to pay most of your monthly bills in one place. We offer our Billpay service–it’s fast, easy, and secure, with no checks or stamps required. You can pay your monthly HECO, Hawaiian Telcom, Time-Warner Oceanic bills with just stop in one of our convenient locations. You can even pay many car payments and mortgages. Call your local PayDayHawaii for more details.

Traditional Bank Savings Accounts
There are many ways to set aside your money for savings, including traditional bank savings accounts. You may be able to get a free savings account if you also have a checking account at that bank, or if you keep a minimum balance in your account. Interest rates are usually very low. Also available: Online saving accounts, which are a little more flexible—but make sure the institution is federally insured.

Other options include U.S. Savings Bonds, CDs (Certificates of Deposit), and Money Market Accounts. These accounts tend to be much less flexible, with less convenient access to your account and money–but they do offer higher interest rates. CDs and Money Market Accounts will probably have a higher initial deposit required, as well.

Savings Account Alternatives
Why not use prepaid debit cards as savings tools? Totally flexible, always handy, and no monthly fees! Prepaid debit cards can be used as one, or several, savings accounts. Use one to set aside money for the holidays, one for vacation savings, or one to set aside funds for unexpected expenses. Save for college expenses, or any other purpose. Set up a schedule to add money to it, or add as is convenient for you.

At PayDayHawaii we offer the NetSpend prepaid debit card, with which you are eligible for a NetSpend Savings Account: No minimum deposit, and NetSpend offers a 5.00% interest—much higher than traditional bank savings accounts.

What About Convenience?
It does seem sometimes that there’s a traditional bank on just about every corner, so it could make sense that it would be easier and more convenient to use them for your services.

But now that online services are the standard, it may actually more convenient to manage your finances from home.

And if you are not comfortable using online services, there are many physical locations where you can pay bills, drop-off payments, and take care of other tasks, from our own handy PayDayHawaii locations to Wal-Mart to supermarkets and more.

How you set up your finance handling, from paying bills to saving money, really depends on what you are comfortable with, how much money you have to manage, and how flexible you want that money to be.

Confused? It CAN be confusing! Just stop by any PayDayHawaii location and we’ll be happy to explain our services, and help you decide what options work best for you.

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