With a little common sense, most people won’t have any trouble selecting a reputable bank. It’s true that even big-name banks can fail (like Washington Mutual did in 2008), but FDIC insurance will protect your money in those situations. It provides $250,000 in coverage per owner, per account. So if you have a joint account with a spouse, a balance of up to $500,000 would be covered.
If you’ve come from a developing country that doesn’t have deposit insurance, where you couldn’t trust that your money was safe in the bank, the U.S. system should come as a big relief.
It’s hard to make a major mistake when choosing where to bank, but some options are better than others in terms of convenience, fees, and interest rates. Here are the key criteria to consider when deciding where to open your checking account.