Not happy with your bank but think it's too much hassle to switch?
You may think your bank's fees are too high or it doesn't pay high interest on savings accounts or maybe you're looking for higher-touch customer service. But if you've been avoiding finding a better bank because of the hassle, it's time to take charge. Switching banks takes some planning and good timing, but you may save money and be happier with your new bank.
Many banks offer switch kits online to make it easy for you to move your account to their bank. If the new bank you have your eye on doesn't offer a switch kit online, you can do it yourself by following the steps in this guide.
1. Find a new bank
Think about what you want in a bank. Convenient branches and ATMs? Low fees? Many products for deposits, such as CDs and money market accounts, and loans, such as mortgages and car loans? Flexible hours? Or maybe you're considering an online bank.
You can find a bank by asking family and friends about their bank. Or you can research different banks on SavingsAccounts.com to find the right bank for your needs.
When you've narrowed down the search, look at the details, such as the new bank's fee schedule as a part of your due diligence and what balance you need to qualify for free checking.
2. Open the new bank account
Here's the first timing step: Open your new account before you close the old account. You'll want to have the new account ready to go, complete with debit card and checks, before you drop your old bank.
Most banks require identification forms in order to open an account. These include a valid photo ID such as a driver's license or passport, your Social Security number or alien registration number, and proof of your address.
If you're going to do an electronic funds transfer (EFT) to open the new account with money from your old account, you'll need your old account number and the bank's routing number, which can be found on the bottom of your checks.
3. Change your direct deposit
Once you have the new account open, you'll need to fill out the forms to switch your direct deposit for payroll or Social Security, for example, into the new account.
You'll need to provide your employer with your new nine-digit bank routing number and your account number, which appear on the bottom of your new checks.
4. Don't forget automatic payments
If you pay any of your bills automatically from your checking account or have automatic transfers into savings or mutual funds, you'll need to change them to your new account.
Remember to keep enough money in the old account to cover any payments made before you make the switch.
5. Say Adios to your old bank account
Does your old bank charge a fee to close the account? Find out how much it is. Most banks don't charge a fee to close the account; those that do usually charge if the account has been open for under three to six months.
You can finally close your old account after all of the checks from that account have cleared and the automatic payments and deposits have been set up for the new account.