You know that it’s a good idea to ask utility providers for better deals once or twice a year. But did you know that you can apply the same principle to be sure you’re getting the best deal at your bank?

If, like me, you still use a brick-and-mortar bank (or credit union), ask your teller to point out any improvements that could be made to your accounts. Every few months, research:

  • Better interest rates — Is there a similar account that will give you a better return?
  • Lower fees — It’s a shame to throw money away on service charges and other fees. Ask about free checking.
  • Automation — Does the bank have a new web site? Do they now offer free billpay? Can they help you set up a direct deposit of your paycheck?
  • Special offers — Is the bank running any promotions?

Banks often introduce new products and services to meet customer demand. They’re perfectly content, however, to let you keep your old low-interest, high-fee accounts. You need to take the initiative to ask. Pay attention to mailers and to signage in the lobby. Most of all: ask your teller to recommend better deals. Keep your bank accounts optimized!