MoneyStrands 2018 FinTech Scholarship – Winning essay
By Jasmine Hidalgo of Colorado State University.
Is your relationship with your bank more of a Tinder fling or a long-term commitment?
It is important to have a healthy, and honest relationship with your bank in order to find your financial success. I have been through my ups and downs with my current and my previous banks, and I am happy to say I have finally found the one. But it was a journey getting there, and I had a lot to learn along the way.
I opened my first checking account when I turned sixteen and received my first job. My family had a bank just a couple of blocks from our house, so I walked right in, filled out the forms, and opened my first checking account. My first job did not have the option of direct deposits, so every other week I would drive over to my work, grab my paycheck, and drive it to the bank. Then I would march inside, fill out a deposit slip, and catch up with the teller while they completed my request. They would ask about school and work, and comment on how much I have grown up over the years. It was only two years later that I moved to college.
They say going long distance is the ultimate test of a relationship. I still had to find a way to take my paychecks in, and I was able to find a location for my bank forty five minutes outside of town. But it only took a few trips for the realization to set in that this might just not be working out the way I had hoped. I was debating what my next steps were when I got a letter in the mail. The location closest to me would no longer be available, and they were going to be adding fees. I thought to myself, wait…if I do not have enough money you are going to…take more money?
This was the breaking point for me.
I realized all of the excitement was gone, and we were out of the glow of the honeymoon phase, and I was seeing our relationship for what it was. A lot of take, and no more give. Over the next couple of weeks I asked my coworkers, classmates, and friends what they used for their bank.
After researching, I narrowed it down to two and set up appointments to meet with them. Sometimes they say when you know, you just know. That was how I felt with my new bank. I met and spoke with a member of the bank who was absolutely amazing. I asked the banker all of my thousand and one questions, and they were kind, patient, and hilarious. I set up a checking account with them that same day.
This bank had a college student card that was specifically for people like me. And they did not charge monthly fees. They also have a number of locations in the town I live in, in my hometown, and across the country. Even more, one of their ATM’s was just across the street from my apartment. I did not have any small talk with a teller, I did not fill out any forms, and it only took a matter of minutes. I began to wonder how I had ever functioned without ATM’s. Instead of taking a trip out of town to make a deposit, I just had to go across the street. I could go in the middle of the night in my pajamas, and no one cared. I was no longer constrained to the limited hours or locations of my previous bank.
Another aspect I love about my current bank is their website. They have a website and an app, where I can log into my account, see my balance, my credit score, my recent purchases, and any new updates immediately. I even have my ATM receipts emailed to me.
They have continued to provide their expertise and customer service, and I have yet to have a single negative interaction with them. In fact, I enjoy my bank so much that this year I opened my first credit card with them. I have been able to successfully build my credit, keep track of my purchases, and even build a budget all through one institution.
I finally have a relationship that has equal give and take, and I love every second of it. We have been going strong for about three years now, and I have never looked back.