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A new survey has revealed how men and women bank differently, from how likely they are to switch banks to the types of accounts they are more likely to utilize. Though some differences may just signal a contrast in preference, others could be a detriment to women’s financial health.

Here’s a look at some of the key differences between men’s and women’s banking behaviors, including the biggest banking mistakes that could be costing women.

Key Findings

  • More than half (54%) of the women surveyed have $500 or less in their savings accounts, compared to 45% of men.
  • Women have fewer bank accounts than men: 6% of women have a CD compared to 11% of men, 9% of women have a high-yield savings account compared to 11% of men, 8% of women have a money market account compared to 9% of men and 9% of women have a premier checking account compared to 11% of men.
  • Men are more likely to consider changing banks. Less than one-third (32%) of women say they’ve considered changing banks in the last year compared to 38% of men.
  • Women are less likely to bank in person: 60% of women prefer mobile banking compared to 48% of men.
  • Half (50%) of women have not written a physical check in the past year compared to 43% of men.

Women’s Biggest Banking Mistakes

Although there is nothing “wrong” with preferring to bank on a mobile device or writing infrequent checks, there are some common banking behaviors among women that could end up hurting them financially.

Here’s a look at the biggest banking mistakes women make, according to the survey.

Not Having a Robust Emergency Fund

The majority of women (54%) have less than $500 in savings. An ideal emergency fund will have three to six months’ worth of living expenses, so $500 (or less) likely won’t cut it.

“You never know what might be down the road. Knowing you have enough to pay your bills if your income is reduced or gone can be a huge stress reliever in uncertain times,” said Jane Voorhees, CFP, director of financial planning at ALINE Wealth.

Not Optimizing Their Bank Accounts

Very few women utilize bank accounts beyond traditional checking and savings accounts. This can mean a missed opportunity to make their money grow. More women should be taking advantage of options such as high-yield savings accounts, money market accounts and CDs.

“High-yield savings accounts offer higher interest rates compared to traditional savings accounts, making them an excellent choice,” said Taylor Kovar, CFP, CEO and founder of Kovar Wealth Management. “These accounts are particularly beneficial for those who want a combination of easy access to their funds and a decent return on their savings.”

Money market accounts can also help women grow their wealth, while maintaining access to their funds.

“Money market accounts often provide higher interest rates than regular savings accounts, and sometimes even high-yield savings accounts, depending on the bank,” Kovar said. “They also offer check-writing privileges and debit card access, making them a flexible option for those who might need occasional, easy access to their funds.”

Certificates of deposit are a smart option if you know you won’t need to touch your money for a set amount of time.

“Locking in your interest rate with a CD might be a good option,” said Jay Zigmont, Ph.D., CFP, founder of Childfree Wealth. “Just be 100% sure you don’t need the money before you put it in a CD, as you may be hit with fees or lose the interest if you pull it out before the CD matures.”

Being Unwilling To Switch Banks

Switching banks can come with benefits that far outweigh the potential inconvenience of the transition.

“Women need to actively seek better deals and higher interest rates,” said Stacy Njimu, portfolio manager at Amana Capital. “Switching banks may seem like a hassle, but it can lead to significant savings in the long run. Women should also keep an eye on account fees and charges that could add up over time. Knowing what fees to expect and how to avoid them can help women save money and avoid unnecessary expenses.”

Methodology: surveyed 1,063 Americans ages 18 and older from across the country between Nov. 27 and Nov. 29, 2023, asking 22 different questions: (1) What category best describes your current financial institution?; (2) Have you considered changing banks within the past year?; (3) If you have considered changing banks in the past year, were any of the following factors? (Select all that apply.); (4) Which feature, perk or other offering is most important to you when opening an account with a new institution?; (5) Are you currently satisfied with all of the banking products and services offered by your bank/credit union?; (6) Would you ever have different types of accounts across multiple banks (i.e. checking at Chase, but savings at TD Bank)?; (7) What is your most preferred method of banking?; (8) Which of the following is the biggest factor of you staying with your current bank?; (9) Which of the following bank accounts do you currently use/have open? (Select all that apply.); (10) How much is the minimum balance you keep in your checking account?; (11) How much do you currently have in your savings account?; (12) What amount of a sign-up bonus would make you consider switching banks?; (13) Have you considered using any app-only banking platforms (aka neobanks) in the past year (e.g. Current, Chime, Dave, etc.); (14) How important is it to you for your bank to be affiliated with a crypto exchange/platform?; (15) In the past year, how often have you written a physical check?; (16) When was the last time you visited your bank in person?; (17) Why would you choose to visit your bank in person? (Select all that apply.); (18) Have you had an overdraft on your checking account in the past year?; (19) How much do you trust your current bank to act in your best interest?; (20) How much do you trust your current bank to protect your private information?; (21) Do you trust regional banks more than national banks?; and (22) How much cash do you keep at home? used PureSpectrum’s survey platform to conduct the poll.

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