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How To Switch Banks

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Deciding to switch banks can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Switching banks allows you to find an institution that better fits your needs and offers products more tailored to your banking preferences. The key is to make sure you plan your transition carefully so nothing falls through the cracks.

This guide will walk you through all the necessary steps when switching banks, including choosing the right bank for your needs, setting up new accounts, closing old ones, transferring direct deposits and automatic payments, and moving funds.

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If you follow these steps, your bank switch should be relatively smooth, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of your new bank without hassle.

Choosing the Right Bank for You

The first and most critical step when switching banks is deciding which bank is right for your individual needs. Here are a few key factors to consider when selecting a new institution:

Branch and ATM Locations

Make sure your new bank has accessible and convenient branches and ATMs based on places you frequent like work, home, etc.

Account and Service Fees

Review all monthly maintenance fees for checking and savings accounts as well as overdraft or transfer charges to avoid surprises.

Interest Rates

Compare savings and lending interest rates across banks to maximize returns on deposits.

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Digital Services

Assess online banking and mobile app options for convenience such as mobile check deposit, bill pay, transfers, etc.

Customer Service Reputation

Research reviews and ratings for each bank’s customer support.

Take the time to weigh which features and services carry the most importance for your banking preferences. Gathering quotes with specifics on available account types and fees from a couple of most-aligned institutions can further assist in determining the best fit.

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Setting Up Your New Bank Accounts

Once you have selected your new bank, it’s time to set up your accounts. The first step is choosing your checking and savings products carefully by reviewing monthly fees, minimum balances to waive fees, interest rates, and accessibility options side-by-side. Next, schedule an appointment to open the accounts at your nearest branch. Be prepared to provide the following:

• Valid government-issued photo ID
• Social Security Number
• Initial deposit amount (minimum to open account)
• Employer information for payroll direct deposit purposes

While meeting with the banker, discuss needs like debit cards, checks, online banking login, linking savings accounts, etc. so everything is ready when you close existing bank accounts. Don’t forget to ask about any new account bonuses that offer incentive money when certain deposit or usage thresholds are met.

Closing Old Bank Accounts

Once your new bank accounts are open, established and ready for deposits/withdrawals, it’s time to cut ties with the old bank. Follow these key steps for smooth account closures:

• Stop all automatic payments and deposits going to old accounts (detailed in next section).
• Transfer remaining balances to your new bank via electronic transfer, wire transfer or teller’s check.
• Destroy old checks, debit cards and deposit slips by shredding to avoid future misuse.
• Request a final account statement to ensure no lingering charges.
• Submit written letter or bank’s account closure form to finalize request. This is usually available on bank’s website or at a branch. Follow up verbally with bankers to confirm accounts are closed.

Keep old accounts open with minimum balances until all pending transactions clear, then shift funds and formally close. Routing any remaining checks or debits from closed checking accounts depends on policies, so discuss options with an banker before submitting the closure request.

Moving Direct Deposits and Automatic Payments

In order to seamlessly transition your transactions, updating companies with your new bank account information is key. This includes:

Payroll Direct Deposits

Provide the payroll or human resources department your new bank account and routing numbers to reroute your paychecks. Monitor your new account transaction history over the next pay cycles to guarantee successful transfers.

Automatic Bill Payments

If you use bank bill pay, remake all recurring payments scheduled through your old bank with new payee details. Redirect additional automatic payments for utilities, loans, subscriptions, etc. with each company using their change request contact form or customer service line. Monitor for any missed payments over the next billing cycles until the switch is complete.

Move any electronic deposits like rewards programs or client payments. Change associated account information when you log into the applicable website or mobile app. Provide the routing and account number to clients or companies making one-off deposits for the foreseeable future.

Transferring Money to New Bank

When transitioning banks, you’ll need to move your existing funds into the appropriate new accounts. Consider these money transfer options:

External Bank-to-Bank Transfer

Most banks, whether brick-and-mortar branches or online institutions, provide incoming and outgoing electronic transfer (EFT) capabilities between unaffiliated institutions. Log into online/mobile banking to move funds for free or nominal fees.

Wire Transfers

Wiring money securely transfers funds quicker, usually in 24 hours or less. However, fees range from $10-$50 per transfer, so compare costs across banks. In-person teller assistance may be required.

Teller’s Checks

Traditional banks can issue check drafts against your account balance so you can deposit the amount at your new bank. This avoids transfer delays and ensures immediate availability since funds come from old bank’s reserves. Beware any cashier’s check issuing or receiving fees.

Transfer Frequency

Stagger moving money over a few weeks. For payroll or larger sums, use faster wire transfers or teller’s checks while utilizing no-fee EFTs for smaller amounts. Keep the minimum required to avoid old account fees until everything clears, then close.

Potential Bank Switch Challenges

While seamless bank switches are ideal, you may encounter a few speed bumps during the transition:

Fraud Detection Holds: Large incoming EFTs or wired sums may trigger fraud alerts temporarily freezing funds availability while identity is confirmed.

Direct Deposit Delays: Pay cycles mean payroll and benefits may still route to old accounts for a period. Monitor transaction history and transfer these stray deposits to new bank.

Automatic Payment Snags: Even after advance notice, some periodic debits by household billers or lending companies may pull from old accounts first. Stay vigilant for these lingering charges and request companies reverse misdirected payments.

Transaction Issues: Any transfers originating from external banks take diligent planning and execution. Should they be delayed or need reversal, notify both institutions immediately to investigate and resolve problems. Be proactive communicating with bankers to minimize troubles.

Overdraft Fees: Meticulously tracking all pending charges against old accounts is vital before submitting closure forms. But mistakes happen, so discuss overdraft policy and forgiveness if available. Shift lingering funds promptly once identified.

Stay Organized

Keep detailed lists of all automatic transactions scheduled for transfer including company names, payment frequency, amount owed and status updates throughout the process. Create file folders for all physical documents and correspondence during the switch. Setting calendar reminders on important deadlines provides critical visibility keeping your transition on track without dropping balls.

Bank Switch Advantages

Beyond frustrations, changing banks also cultivates new opportunities worth highlighting:

Rate Shopping: Openly compare offerings across institutions with frequent account churning, benefiting from sign-up bonuses and short-term higher yields.

Fee Leveraging: Negotiate fee waivers and relationship pricing packages around desired services that reduce costs. Discover optimal account combos saving money.

Digital Advancements: Supporting fintech evolution via online banks passes savings to you through higher interest rates and reduced expenses.

Customer Advantage: Modern consumers hold the power. Shifting business away from unsatisfactory institutions drives competition, better pricing and service enhancements industry-wide.

Financial Assessment: Big picture, switching banks provides invaluable perspective reevaluating your banking priorities and relationships with institutions. What once served your needs may have fallen short, so defining ideal experience is key.

Bank Switch Next Steps

As you get ready to embark on your bank switching journey, here are a few closing tips to ensure changing institutions goes off without a hitch:

• Start planning 60-90 days before making the move to give adequate time to complete all steps.
• Thoroughly scan old statements highlighting any recurring transactions for transfer.
• Keep a minimum amount to avoid fees in old accounts until positive all items clear.
• Set calendar reminders on pending transfer due dates or final account closure date.
• Save e-statements or paperwork related to switch if questions arise later.
• Notify impacted contacts of new account details supported by physical documentation.
• Leverage external transfer features in online banking for easiest money movement.
• Contact bankers promptly regarding any payment snags or fraud flags holding fund availability.

Conclusion

While transitioning financial institutions involves some logistical planning, the banking choice flexibility and customized products available to consumers make committing the time worthwhile. Approaching a bank switch proactively by outlining tasks, giving plenty of lead time and following up meticulously will enable near seamless execution. So don’t settle for low rates, services or treatment when alternatives exist. Taking control to transfer your accounts to a better bank match depends only on you taking that first step.

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