How to Select a Bank to Open an Account With

There is a lot of dilemma as to which banks to work with when in school or at work or for some purpose or the other. This article aims to help you select between a few choices of banks when opening a savings account for a student or for an upcoming entrepreneur.

When opening a bank account, there are a number of things you should consider in this day and age

  • Proximity of the bank to your primary location: The closeness of the bank is paramount in case of emergencies such as loss of ATM or hacking of your account.
  • Customer service/ ease of access: Personally, I find it hard to work with a bank with poor customer service and having to wait in line for 2 hours to see a customer service agent is very unappealing.
  • E-Services like online banking and e-payment: In this day and age, a lot of people really don’t have the time to go to the bank and wait in queue to make payments into your accounts. Banks with strong online services are very appealing as they make payments 24/7 365 i.e. they (websites) work on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Reliability: Some banks are unreliable in that for whole days their ATM cards might not work at all on their machines and then you have no access to your accounts which can mean the loss of a deal or a significant sum.

Spread of the bank i.e. how many branches does the bank have in remote areas or cities or even outside the country.

  • Minimum balance: Some banks operate the ‘zero accounts’ where your account can be totally empty and won’t be closed (within a specific period). Most banks have a minimum balance of N1, 000 and a few have N5, 000 and even rarer are the N25, 000 minimum balance accounts.

There are few banks which meet all the positive requirements listed above so I would list three that make at least a good impression.

First Bank Plc.: FBN is one of the most reliable banks in Nigeria with branches in every major city and more. With top notch customer support and a 24/7 call center, FBN tops my list. The major problem I have with FBN is that the online services are not very strong and a lot of their ‘innovations’ (such as Firstmonie and Firstmobile) don’t work. Also, FBN’s Naira Mastercards are totally unreliable for international transactions.

Guarantee Trust Bank Plc.: GT Bank is without a doubt the best bank for e-services and online banking. With their policies which favour ICT and online services, GT is the best bank for a young entrepreneur. GT has a spread almost as wide as FBN; the major downside is that GT Bank has very terrible customer service. If you can manage this, GT Bank is the bank for you.

Diamond Bank Plc.: Diamond bank like GT is also skewed towards ICT and online banking services. While they generally have better customer service than GT Bank and even FBN, their spread is a bit limited and they have a few branches nationwide.


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