money-bagSo, do you need a bank to bank? Do you have to get a loan from a bank or credit union? Do you need to have branch access in order to have a good banking experience? Can you get the best rates without a branch?

The Branchless Bank

Internet banking is not just online banking, it’s becoming a new service model. Companies like ING offer all of their services without a single local branch. This allows them to cut out branch cost and pass the savings on with better rates. You can still get your check card, and all other services like a traditional brick and mortar bank. Just don’t call them too much, or they might just tell you that you don’t belong.

Peer to Peer Lending

Some people have figured out that with the right tools, they can lend out money and make some interest on it. Internet tools like Zopa, Prosper, CircleLending, and Lending Club make it easy for you to loan out your money if you have excess and borrow money as well. This helps cut out the banks and some of the overhead they may charge.

Money Management Tools

Tools like Quicken and Money have been around forever, but new players have entered the market. They are offering free money management software and will proactively help you find the lowest fees and best interest rates. Sites like Mint.com and Wesabe.com will not only help you understand how you’re spending, but they will recommend you to change banks or credit unions to get the best bank rate around. The only problem is they don’t take the service aspect into account. Sometimes a lower rate mean a drop in service,
and that can be more than enough reason to stay with your current financial institution.