One Bank or Many: Where Should I Keep My Accounts?


What’s your banking strategy: One bank, many accounts—or do you like to, literally, spread the wealth?

Believe it or not, how you bank not only helps you organize your funds, but if done right, it can also make you money. Which is why we spoke to LearnVest certified financial planner™ Elizabeth Sklaver to help you decide on the best scenario for you.

The One-Bank Advantage

Maybe you got that first checking account that came free with your first job and never looked back. Maybe every account you’ve opened since has been at My First Bank. If that describes you, we get it: There’s one advantage to keeping your checking and savings accounts in the same bank … simplicity.

With everything in the same place, you only have to visit one bank—or make transfers between accounts at one bank—and remember one set of login information. (And who hasn’t wasted precious moments of their lives trying to remember their passwords?)

But as your financial life changes, the one-size-fits-all approach may no longer suit you. In fact, depending on your money needs, there are also a few good reasons you may want to open accounts at more than one bank—and a variety of factors that go into choosing the right one for you.

Why Multiple Banks Might Be Better: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

1. Are You Likely to ‘Borrow From Yourself’?

Keeping your checking and savings at separate institutions takes advantage of the idea, “Out of sight, out of mind.” In other words, if your hard-earned savings isn’t linked directly to your checking account, and it takes 24 to 48 hours to free up funds, you might think twice about spending that money.

And, keeping both accounts in the same place can lead to some funky mental math: If you’re just taking a minute to check the balance on your checking account, but see all of the money in your savings as well, you’re more likely to feel like you have all of those funds available to spend, says Sklaver.

RELATED: The Top Saving Mistakes to Avoid

But what if you like the way having one bank keeps you organized? If the idea of checking in with accounts on multiple sites sounds like a little too much work, you can always monitor all of your accounts in the free LearnVest Money Center, where you can check the balances without the temptation to spend.

  • aggie-

    I have done more than one bank forever and will change banks if all needs are not met/ In past many banks have disappeared in the stae mainly reason for change. I do not trust large banks now with government checking our accounts perhaps best place is to kep money elsewhere

  • Tahnya Kristina

    I have been a client with my primary bank for a long time, but my secondary bank has changed four times over the years. I am a big fan of convenience so if there is a branch on every corner I will be a client.

  • Drew B.

    If you have enough money to worry about the FDIC limit, and are still keeping it in a savings account, you may be doing it wrong. Another place to look besides the online banking for the additional savings account would be local credit unions. They may offer different benefits from a traditional bank, so having a relationship with one can prove worthwhile.

  • Regius Jean Collode

    I guess it would depend on your needs. If you need several banks with good checking accounts, or one with a reliable checking account, you would go for those.