8 (Really) Good Reasons to Change Banks (Even in Retirement)

From security to convenience, retirees are rekindling their romance with banks.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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If you’re a retiree or over a certain age, banks may have been a part of your life for as long as you can remember. For example, you might have gone in person with a parent to open your first checking account. Or perhaps you used to make weekly trips to your local branch to deposit a check.

Even though the financial landscape has changed over the last few decades, your relationship with banking might be as strong as ever. But here’s the thing: As a retiree, your banking needs might be different than they once were. 

Many options are available, whether you're moving to a new location and looking for a primary bank or want to switch it up in your hometown.

Here are some unique selling points to look for as you shop for the best bank account for your needs.

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No fees

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Some banks may charge a monthly maintenance fee or require a minimum balance, but plenty offer free accounts. So if you're shopping for a new bank, consider banks that don't charge fees. 

You might also want to avoid fees that can be “waived” if you maintain a specific balance or deposit a certain amount each month.

Seniors may waste money in many ways, and banking fees shouldn't be one of them. As a retiree, it’s nice to simplify life as much as possible. After all, this is your time to relax and pursue your hobbies. It’s not time to worry about a $10 monthly fee.

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High interest rates

Poca Wander Stock/Adobe businessman using calculator to calculate the bank interest rate

It might be more expensive to borrow money right now due to high interest rates, but that also means that your money may earn more money in high-yield savings accounts

As a retiree, you might consider banks offering checking accounts and high-yield savings accounts with competitive interest rates.

This can be a great option if you’re trying to boost your bank account. Banks are eager for your business and often try to outperform one another with enticing rates. You can use the competition to your advantage and open an account with a great offer.

Easy-to-use technology

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It’s never fun to learn new technology, and banks understand that. Most banks offer customers simple apps and websites to manage their money.

As you shop for a new bank, look at the technology options and make sure they're user-friendly. For example, can you deposit checks from your phone or pay your bills via the app?

Be sure to check how long your monthly statements are available and if you can see the actual checks that were cashed online. 

Some banks offer educational resources, financial checklists, and tutorials online, which can be useful if you’re interested in new products.

Accounts for seniors

Nattakorn/Adobe asian woman teaches senior man how to use credit card

Most major banks, and even some smaller banks, offer specific accounts for retirees and seniors. The accounts might include perks like free checks or discounted safe deposit boxes. 

If the benefits seem like a good fit for you, taking advantage of this type of account might be a good idea.

But make sure to review the list of benefits before you sign up. Even though it's marketed to those over a certain age, there may be better options for you than the account. Either way, it’s nice to know the accounts exist.

Convenient locations

Moon Safari/Adobe senior entrepreneur in suit using ATM machine

No matter your age, having a bank branch or your bank’s ATM near where you live or work should be a consideration. For seniors, convenience may be even more important.

If you plan to travel, you may need foreign currency, which you can only get in a branch. And when you’re traveling, being able to use an ATM affiliated with your bank will save you money. 

You may also need to have documents notarized. Most banks have notaries available and do not charge customers for the service. So be sure to consider where your bank has locations before you open an account.

Friendly customer representatives

Delmaine Donson/peopleimages.com/Adobe businesspeople looking at camera

Customers knew their local bankers and tellers when all banking was done face-to-face. Of course, you may never set foot in a branch with most banking done online now. But banks are emphasizing customer service again, and many use it as a marketing tool.

Once you retire, you might have fewer social interactions than when you went to an office daily. Having a team of friendly bank tellers can be an excellent way to include additional weekly or monthly exchanges.

Free ATM withdrawals

MiguelAngel/Adobe elderly woman with a credit card at an ATM

Even though much of banking has become digital, you probably need cash sometimes. Cash is still a part of daily life, whether it’s to pay for your produce at the local farmers market or to give to your grandson as a birthday present.

Many banks offer free ATM withdrawals as a customer service. Some banks even reimburse ATM fees if you get cash from an ATM that is out of network. 

Fee-free ATMs may help you save money and time. After all, there are many more exciting things to spend your money on than paying to access your money.

Generous sign-up bonuses

Charlie's/Adobe money stack coins and dollar banknotes

One of the more recent banking trends to become mainstream is a sign-up bonus. If you want to open a new bank account, consider reviewing which banks currently pay bonuses.

Bonuses are usually cash and may require you to set up direct deposit or maintain a certain monthly balance. Or, the bank may pay a bonus for setting up a virtual wallet.

While free money to open a new account may be enticing, consider all of the bank's features before you open one account and close another.

Bottom line

NanSan/Adobe mature asian woman using credit card

You have options if you’re looking for a new bank as a retiree. Banks across the country and online are eager for your business. 

Review your choices and shop around for the best bank accounts. You can even check out our list of best banks for seniors. You might be surprised by the excellent options available.

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