Today, there are so many choices for consumers when it comes to banking. If you’re unhappy with your current financial institution, why not think about switching? One of the biggest reasons most people stay with their financial institution is because switching seems like a difficult process, it really isn’t. In fact, here’s a simple checklist of steps to follow. You may find yourself saying, “Wow. That was easier than I thought.”
Step 1: Do your research
If you’re thinking of leaving your financial institution for another, do some research and look at other options. Those could include national banks, community banks, credit unions, and even online options. For instance, check out your local credit union. These not-for-profit financial cooperatives are owned by their members, and return earnings through fewer fees, better rates, and free or exclusive programs. And what you might not know is that nearly anyone can join a credit union
. For instance, in the state of Nevada, anyone living or working in a county within the state can join Greater Nevada Credit Union
Step 2: Open your new account
Once you open and fund your new account, you can begin using it for daily transactions, like buying gas or groceries. However, make sure you keep enough funds in your old account to cover any upcoming automatic payments or withdrawals until your new account is completely set up for that.
Ask your old bank what the minimum balance is in the account. You don’t want to pay any fees for not maintaining the minimum or for over drafting during the switching process.
Step 3: Setting up automatic deposits/payments
Your employer should be able to help you set up direct deposit into your new account. With a simple form, they will be able to redirect your paycheck.
Setting up automatic payments and withdrawals in your new account should also be an easy process through your financial institution’s online banking tools
. It also helps to make a list of what payments are automatically paid each month from your account to make sure you’ve covered everything, such as:
- Mortgage payments
- Utility bills
- Loans, such as automobile, home equity, or personal
- Cell phone, cable, and Internet service providers
- Credit cards
- Memberships, such as health clubs
- Insurance, including auto, home and life
- Online payment services, such as PayPal
Look to see which of these payments are taken out by the company (i.e Apple, Utilities, etc.) and which ones are being paid through your old financial institution’s bill pay. For those accounts not on an online bill pay, you will have to go into their payment portal and change the payment information yourself.
Last, don’t forget about your online accounts, for example PayPal or Venmo. These changes should be as easy as logging in and entering the new account information, which takes only a few minutes.
Step 4: Close the old account
Once you're certain that everything has successfully transferred over to your new financial institution’s account and all outstanding checks have cleared (and that you haven’t written any new ones), you can officially close your old account so you don't incur any charges for inactivity or low balances. You'll also want to cash out any existing funds in it and destroy your old checkbook.
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