Switching Banks: Everything to Consider Beforehand
Are you thinking about switching banks? It can seem strenuous, but it's actually an easy process if you break it down into small, simple tasks and you're diligent about keeping track of your funds during the transition. Here's what you should keep in mind if you're ready to make the transition.
Rationales for Shifting Over
There are a variety of reasons why you may be considering a switch. Maybe you're moving and your bank doesn't have a nearby branch, or perhaps you need a bank that offers a safe deposit box. Other reasons may include wanting to open a joint bank account with someone who has a strong relationship with a different institution or perhaps you're searching for features or products your current bank doesn't offer — like the ability to deposit checks from a smartphone.
Other factors could also be at play. For example, you may feel tempted to cut ties after repeatedly receiving poor customer service or because you're frustrated by high fees.
Finding a Perfect Match
If you're set on a switch, your new destination should be a good fit for your banking needs. For instance, if you find yourself relying on account balance alerts to help you avoid overdrafts, you should ensure your new bank offers that feature. You'll also need to be comfortable with the bank's fees and terms, including those relating to minimum balance requirements.
Likewise, if you enjoy visiting your bank, finding a branch that is convenient to your home or office should be a top priority.
Steps for Switching Banks
When you're ready to make the move, focus first on your checking account. You'll need to open a new one and begin funding it as soon as you can. Linking your new and old checking account will also make it easy to transfer funds when you need to. You'll also have to activate your debit card and order checks.
If you use your bank's online bill pay service, you'll need to set up the process of paying those bills through your new bank.
Perhaps you've given companies permission to interact directly with your account in a way that's different from paying bills online. For instance, your mortgage servicer or utilities may directly withdraw payments. You should look at your transactions over the past year to determine which companies you'll need to inform about your new account and reauthorize automatic payments.
Likewise, you need to work with your employer to change where your paychecks are electronically deposited.
Before closing your old checking account, make sure all of your outstanding checks have cleared and transactions have gone through. Otherwise, you could end up paying overdraft or insufficient funds fees.
You may find it necessary to maintain two accounts for a while to ensure that your automated deposits and withdraws are rerouted properly. During this time, try to keep a minimum balance in your old account to avoid fees.
After you're confident that nothing more will be deposited into or withdrawn from your checking account, download any bank records you may need in the future. If you have a safe deposit box and have been transferring over its contents to a new box, double check so that you're not leaving anything behind.
Then be sure to contact the bank to learn how to close your accounts and receive a check for any remaining balances. Shred any remaining checks as well as ATM and debit cards.
A local branch manager can answer any questions you have when you set up an appointment. Or you can simply establish an account online. Easy Transfer Kits are a great resource for managing a transition that can ultimately improve your financial wellness.