Changing Banks? Use These Tips for a Smooth Transition

Maybe you’ve wanted to change banks for a long time, or maybe you’re in the process of changing banks. You’re not alone!

Banks have become less hospitable to the average customer. Many banks claim that they lose money on the average bank customer, so the system is not geared to make the average customer happy.

Regardless of why you want to change banks, follow these tips to make a smooth transition:

1. Find a new bank. It only makes sense to find a new bank before you close your old account. There are many things to consider; fees, location, online bill paying, and customer service are all important factors. Be sure that your new bank has all the features you need and is conveniently located.

2. Open a new account. Obtain or order everything you need, including a debit card and checks. You might not have written a check in years, but you’ll need a check and deposit slip to set up your direct deposit.

* Get the business card of the person that helps you set up the account. They might be a better contact to have than the standard customer service number.

3. Find out how long it will take before you have access to your funds. Many times, deposits in new accounts (even cash deposits) are held for a while in the name of security. Be sure you know how long you’re going to have to wait.

* One solution to help you get past the waiting period is to only transfer half of your money to the new account and wait until the holding period is over to transfer the remainder.

4. Setup your direct deposit. Make a quick trip by your human resources department and give your new account information to them. It can take longer than you might think, so be sure to ask how long it will take for them to change their records. You’ll probably need a check and deposit slip to set up direct deposit of your paychecks to your new account.

5. Consider transferring your old debt. It can be nice to have everything at the same bank. So consider if it might be advantageous to have your credit cards and loans at your new bank. You might not be able to transfer everything, but it never hurts to ask.

6. Move your bill payments over to you new account. If you pay your bills electronically, move the payments over to the new bank. If there are any payments that are automatically deducted from your old account, you’ll need to notify those creditors and provide them with the new account information.

7. Close your old account. After everything is set up at your new bank, you can close your old account. Just be sure that any checks and other outstanding payments have cleared the account before you close it. Be prepared for your old bank to try to talk you out of it. Be polite but be firm.

8. Provide worthwhile feedback. You’ll be asked why you’re closing your account. Tell them the truth. Feel free to tell them that the fees were too high or that the interest rates are better at the new bank. It’s unlikely that your feedback will change anything, but if enough people feel the same way, maybe they’ll get their act together.

Opening a new bank account can be a detailed process, but if you’re not happy with your current bank, don’t hesitate to see if you can find something better. Think about what you need in a bank and then go find it. Following the steps in this article will make the transition go more smoothly.

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