Imagine if there were no bank accounts.. having to carry cash everywhere, no debit cards, no cheque books.. Life would be really dangerous and difficult, wouldn’t it be? Well thanks to our fore-fathers we do not need to worry about it anymore. These days we are spoilt for choices. There are hundreds of banks trying to sell their accounts to us.
Types of bank accounts
Banks offer different kinds of accounts viz. savings bank account, current account, loan account, overdraft account, investment account, deposit account, etc etc. Out of these we’ll cover the current account in this article.
Current accounts are transactional accounts opened for businesses (non-individuals). These accounts help businesses to collect payments from their customers and make payments to their vendors.
Things to look for when opening a current account:
How trustworthy is the bank? How good is its reputation? This is the most important parameter. Safety of your money is of utmost importance.
Business, especially small, are always short of working capital and look towards their bank to support them at reasonable interest rates.
Online Banking facility
With increasing popularity of internet, you’ll hardly find an office without computers and internet connection. Online banking is quick and convenient. Online banking involves checking account balance, transferring funds, paying taxes and other normal banking services. This has become a hygiene factor while evaluating banking options these days.
Phone Banking facility
Ability to transact on your account over phone. This is also a useful facility. However, automated answering machines making you hold the line for hours before you can talk to an actual person make it frustrating to use. Still, a good facility to have.
Mobile Banking facility
A few banks have started providing apps that can be downloaded on mobile phones. These apps allow a multitude of banking transactions over the mobile phone making it super convenient. However, the apps are still not very stable and highly unreliable.
Number of branches and ATMs
In the current scenario, when all the banks are offering more or less the same facilities, their charges is what sets them apart. The charges should be evaluated along with the quality and quantity of services the bank provides.
Having looked at the major parameters for evaluating banks for their current account offering, let’s look at which are the top banks in we’ve checked. We have had current accounts in the following banks (and hence will be able to give you our judgement only on them):
Citibank, HSBC, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, IDBI Bank, Bank of India and SBI.
In terms of charges, the multinational banks are at the most expensive. However, their services do not necessarily match their charges. A false feeling of exclusivity and status aside, we found these banks poor value for money.
Among the nationalised banks, we found Bank of India to be really good. Really low minimum account balance requirement, all the modern banking facilities, really low charges and above all, a personal touch and warmth that is missing in all modern private banks.
Among, the private Indian banks, it’s a tough fight between ICICI and HDFC. Both are almost equal in terms of services offered, charges, etc. However, ICICI scores over HDFC in terms of sheer number of branches and ATMs and hence the reach.
The final fight is between Bank of India and ICICI. The only key difference we see between the two is that ICICI is very well integrated with all merchant establishments and payment gateways though lacking the personal touch of Bank of India.
Tough decision but the final winner has to be ICICI Bank.
As we said earlier, this result is from the fixed list of banks that we have compared. It may well be possible that some bank that we have not included in the comparison may be better. If that is the case, we would like to know about it and all our readers will appreciate if you could share it in the comments below.
We would also like to know if we’ve missed any parameter or have gone wrong somewhere. Do share your feedback. Also, do share this post with your friends by sharing it on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ using buttons below.