Even with the rise of online banking, many customers still prefer the traditional ease and safety of a passbook savings account. Before you create one, though, it's a good idea to shop around and compare the terms offered by competing banks.
Shop for the most favorable terms and rates on your passbook savings account. Though interest rates are likely to be relatively low, with little significant variation in what's offered from one bank to the next, the terms and conditions of the savings account as offered by the various banks can vary considerably.
Do business with a bank that offers the best combination of account access and reasonable fees. Create a passbook savings account that still allows you to access your money with an ATM card, but balk if you're not pleased with the monthly service fees. Banking is competitive, and institutions might be flexible on the terms and condition your account is subject to.
Ask if you're required to keep a minimum balance in the passbook savings account you create. Generally, the higher the minimum balance, the higher the interest rate and the lower your monthly service fees should be. However, most of the larger banks do not require customers to keep a minimum balance in basic passbook savings accounts.
Read the terms and conditions associated with the savings account closely before committing to opening it. These are typically available on the bank's website. If not, visit the bank and request a brochure, pamphlet or other literature that explicitly states the terms and conditions of the account you're interested in.
Visit the bank that offers the terms you're happiest with on their passbook savings accounts. Speak in person to a customer service representative who will help you open your new savings account. Be prepared to make your initial deposit the day you open the account.
Update your passbook regularly, ideally every time you visit the bank to make a transaction. Review your account statement closely at the end of every month to ensure your schedule of fees is being administered correctly.
Consider opening a high-interest savings account with a wholesale financial institution as an alternative to the standard passbook savings account. You might get a better interest rate, but you may be required to keep a minimum balance in the account at all times. Bring a book or magazine with you when you head to the bank to open your account. Chances are you will have to wait before speaking with the bank representative.