Did you know you can have more than one bank?
It’s true! And in fact, it could actually be good for you and your financial situation. You can spread your money out among as many banks, credit unions, and investment firms as you like. Fidelity (the act of being faithful, not, y’know, the giant international banking corporation of the same name) counts for very little in the world of money management.
This topic was inspired by some of our wee baby bitchlings agonizing over the idea of spreading their money around to two or—gasp!—even more banks. These aspiring rich bitches came to us, all cute and nervous because they were worried about being disloyal, or even risking punishment by starting a savings or investment account outside of their primary bank.
“Am I allowed to put my money in multiple banks?” they asked. To which we replied: “Cheat away!” As Camilla Parker Bowles-Windsor is my witness, side
chicks banks are totally allowed.
It’s one of those things no one really tells you when you’re first getting your adult finances together. Because of course you can use more than one bank!
And in fact, it may even be in your best interest. Here’s why.
You can have more than one bank—they’re not girlfriends!
With apologies to those in consensually open or polyamorous relationships… I couldn’t help the central analogy of this article. It sprang fully formed from my brain when I was outlining this article—like Athena from the head of Zeus! Know that we still support you and your relationships are valid.
But I digress. The fact is you will face no punishment as a bank customer by cheating on your bank… or banks. They don’t get to dump you for being unfaithful. They don’t get to issue ultimatums (“Stop seeing Wells Fargo or I’m throwing your checking account out on the lawn and changing the locks!”) or threaten you.
The worst they can do is try to coax you to consolidate under one roof by advertising all the sweet deals they offer. And if these “sweet deals” can’t compete with the other banks you use, you can safely ignore them.
All my banks
When it comes to banks, I am a proud philanderer. Practically a libertine! A player! I keep money here, I keep money there… it all depends on what’s most useful and effective for both my long- and short-term money goals. Here’s where I keep my money and why:
- Bank 1: A large regional bank with lots of branches and ATMs in my area. Home of my checking and savings accounts. I keep these two accounts at the same bank so I can easily and quickly transfer between them.
- Bank 2: An online-only bank. This is where I have the high yield savings account that I use as my emergency fund.
- Bank 3: It’s fucking Vanguard, y’all. Birthplace of the low-cost index fund itself. Here I have my Roth IRA and non-retirement general brokerage account.
- Bank 4: The bank my employer uses for employee retirement accounts. I don’t really have a choice on this one, so it’s just where my 401(k) lives.
- Bank 5: Our beloved sponsor Acorns, because here at Bitches Get Riches, we practice what we preach. This is my happy little micro-investing account.
- Bank 6: Home of my very first credit card, Credit Card A. Because a long credit history is good for my credit score, I’ll likely never close this card. This is also where I keep the joint checking account I share with my husband for bills and household maintenance. This bank is the only one we share, as our finances are mostly separate.
- Bank 7: Home of my second credit card, Credit Card B… which comes with a sweet rewards program.
- Bank 8: Last but not least, this is a bank that specializes in small business banking. And it’s where Kitty and I keep the joint business checking account that we use for Bitches Get Riches.
That’s eight banks. I’m basically the titular boy in Brandy and Monica’s 1998 classic The Boy Is Mine.
How my money is divided
Because each account at my various banks has a very specific purpose, I don’t feel any reason to try to “even things out” among them. Some of these accounts hold significantly more money than others. And I use some of them far more often than others.
To be clear: I don’t use eight different financial institutions as a method of diversification. I’m not thinking about eggs in baskets and spreading risk around.
I’m strictly bargain-hunting. I want the best terms for the financial products I use. And often, that means cheating on banks.
Why you might want more than one bank
Banks want your money. When they get to hold onto your money, they make more money off of it… most of which they keep for themselves. Whether it’s through charging you banking fees or investing your money in exchange for paltry interest returns, banks can get very, very rich off the backs of their customers.
I hope you didn’t think your hard-earned dollars sat safe and secure in a bank vault somewhere, pristine and unhandled! Not so, my sweet summer child. In the banking relationship, you are the sugar daddy. And your bank will do whatever they can to get more out of you.
Not all banks are created equal
This is why you want to comparison shop for banks. Some are really good at one thing but bad at another! One may have exactly the terms you want to help you reach your personalized financial goals… and it might not be the bank where you keep your primary checking account. And some banks might not even offer all the financial products you need (good luck finding a brick and mortar bank in your neighborhood that will issue you a high yield savings account).
For example, let’s look at my credit cards.
I’ve had Credit Card A since I was 18 years old. (All our Gen Z readers just heaved a wistful sigh. It’s now way harder for a young person with no credit to get a credit card these days. I’m so sorry, my lambs.) It’s a good little card with modest cash back rewards and no fees.
Credit Card B, however, gives very generous travel rewards points for a moderate fee. I love traveling, but I’m also a cheap queen. I compared the two cards and realized that I could make far more money in travel rewards using Credit Card B than I could in cash back rewards from Credit Card A in the same amount of time. And compared to the rewards, Credit Card B’s fee is negligible.
So I opened Credit Card B and now use it as my primary method of payment. Two basically free international trips later and I regret nothing.
Similarly, I have two savings accounts: one for transfer convenience, one to get that bread. And I keep my IRA and brokerage account at a separate bank from my employer-sponsored 401(k) because I got to choose one and not the other. It would be silly to move my IRA over to the same bank as my 401(k) just for the sake of consolidation. I like my IRA’s bank way better!
And if your pretty little head is spinning at the mention of all these different accounts, here are a few explainers:
- How the Hell Does One Open a Bank Account? Asking for a Friend.
- What’s the Difference Between Savings and Checking Accounts, and How Should I Be Using Them?
- How Do You Write and Cash Checks? Asking for a Friend.
- Dafuq Is a Retirement Plan and Why Do You Need One?
- A Hand-holding Guide To Getting Your First Credit Card
How many banks is too many banks?
Can you ever have too many banks? I asked myself this question when I started writing this article. I even decided to review my banks to see if there was a reason to consolidate. And based on that research, I might leave one bank! I’m pretty excited about this break-up, because I get the house. And the car. And literally all the assets while they get nothing because they are a bank and not, in fact, my girlfriend.
The point is to weigh convenience, customer service, fees, product availability, and features before choosing a banking product, no matter the bank. If you make those decisions wisely and intentionally, you’re at no risk of using too many banks.
But for the sake of argument, let’s pretend you are neither wise nor intentional (HAVE WE TAUGHT YOU NOTHING?!). You’ve opened accounts with reckless abandon, and practically forgotten why. Your money is spread thin for no reason at all, and your carelessness is costing you money in banking fees. In this case you have too many banks. It’s time to consolidate. Don’t waste money paying fees for the same kind of account at multiple banks.
A good example of this is the Multiple Retirement Account Fallacy. If you’ve job-hopped a bit, you might have two or three 401(k) accounts languishing along your career path, costing you fees. If you were to roll those accounts over into your current 401(k), or even into an IRA, you’d save money on fees and increase your power of compound interest. Our partner Capitalize can help make this process quick, easy, and FREE.
Personal finance is personal
Say it with me now: Personal finance is personal.
Maybe eight banks is a lot??? I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that they each serve a very specific purpose in my financial plan. I have no qualms about adding more banks, or closing any of my existing accounts. They’re banks! They don’t give a shit about me! Not beyond the amount of money I can add to their bottom lines.
So in return, I absolve myself of any guilt for cheating on my various banks. And so should you. Choose your bank—or banks—based on what they can do for you. Choose them based on how they help you reach your personal, individual, wonderfully eclectic financial goals. Whatever those may be.
16 thoughts to “Cheat on Your Bank—It’s Not Your Girlfriend”
I feel this post completely. I have four banks. Bank A is brick-and-mortar for all my going-into-a-branch-type, basic checking needs (which are becoming fewer and fewer but are still not zero), Bank B is for my HYSA, Bank C is for my IRA (and the checking account that feeds it that’s also my one-month cash reserve in case something goes wrong at Bank A), and Bank D is an international account in another currency that I transfer money into when I visit family in a country where paying with credit cards isn’t as reliably a thing. Each has a purpose and they vary wildly in amounts because those purposes have wildly varying requirements. And it works! As long as each bank has a purpose, I don’t think it’s really that confusing.
Thanks for this article! I’ve been feeling a little guilty, as I just opened up a second savings account, at a different (gasp) bank. My primary savings account is with a high-interest online bank, but I got an offer from another high-interest online bank, for $350 whole dollars if I move $25K over and keep that minimum for 4 months. Not a bad deal!
One point I’d like to make for the consolidation side: there’s less to keep tabs on, which can be a bonus if years go by and you literally forget about some accounts. Sounds like I might be swimming in money; I’m not. Just saying I found it easier when I consolidated my IRA, Roth, and individual investment accounts under one roof…
Looks like I currently have 13 banks. And that’s down from past years when I was chasing those sweet sweet bank account sign up bonuses.
Can’t wait to get rid of this mortgage so I can close my account with the local credit union that pays me nothing on the money they require me to keep with them to be a member.
I was hoping you would comment!!! One of these days I want to pick your brain about your bonus churning practices. I am in awe.
Certified Gen Z here,
I use 2 “banks”- one is my hometown’s locale credit union that all my major savings are in, and another is a large corporation bank with locations all over.
While it’s a pain to move money from the credit union cause I’m not living at home with family any more, having the second account was necessary for college, and allowed me to get my first student credit card at 18. (It also came in handy when my family was traveling at Christmas a while back and relatives gave my family cash for gifts- more than my parents felt comfortable carrying on them. Large bank had an ATM in the next town over, and we safely deposited it there, and withdrew it when we were home)
I have multiple accounts at multiple banks too!
But speaking of Fidelity… I recently had a free consultation through work regarding retirement and due to my youthfulness (I’m under 30 still) one of the things he recommended to fill the gap between my pension and what I will supposedly need in retirement was a IUL policy with cash benefits. I know you guys are team Roth IRA, but I was wondering if you gals had any ideas or knowledge around those as well. It seems like a good product, but most of what I can find has a sales-pitch vibe to it.
Indexed universal life? I found a post on white coat investor:
Don’t completely write off local federal credit unions. Ours has brick and mortar branches with terrific personnel, several ATMs, no fee checking, better-than-banks savings accounts, and a new cash reward credit card. It’s not my only bank, but it covers a lot of bases quite well.
Cheating on your bank is the only way to go…why should you be captive to a place paying you 0.5% on your savings when they turn around and lend it at 8%? Online banks have their purpose, as do national banks and credit unions. Plus, checking up on bank account opening bonuses is an easy way to get hundreds or thousands a year without much work.
Amen, brother! I’ve yet to dive into making money through bonuses, but I am always looking for a good deal. If a bank’s fees are too high, I have no problem cheating on them.
I have 4 banks by these standards. My cash savings/checking are all at a local credit union. They definitely incentivize having more accounts with them–literally you get more “profit payout” once a year the more different type of accounts you have (savings, checking, loan, retirement, etc).
I also have 2 credit card “banks”, and 1 retirement “bank” (also Vanguard).
Another reason to spread your savings (in the form of savings accounts or CDs, not retirement) among different banks is FDIC insurance. FDIC insures your deposits at member banks (basically any reputable bank) up to $250,000 per depositor per institution. So if you had $250k in cash savings at one place (lol how), it would be smart to park your next $250k in cash savings somewhere else. Okay, maybe this doesn’t apply to you, but it might apply to your parents with lots of cash savings, etc.
FDIC insurance is important in the unlikely event a bank fails (it does happen!). I’d love to see BGR do an explainer of the FDIC and other federal regulators and how they affect normal people’s lives!
The filthy mouths. Ruins the info. Cringe.
Yep, that’s the plan! Ruin all our own hard work with our filthy, naughty little mouths. Thanks for stopping by!
LOL Y’all are my favorite, thanks for helping me feel less weird about having multiple banks!! Might be open to another one soon!
That’s the spirit!!!