Today is the day. Almost two months ago, I declared I would do it. I’m changing banks this afternoon. My husband and I have banked with Washington Mutual, now Chase, for 14 years. It’s time to start a new era of banking. We’ve decided to move our money to South Valley Bank and Trust.
It’s not easy, from a practical standpoint. We had considered changing banks when we moved here 7 years ago, but the hassle of closing one account and opening another deterred us from taking action. But there’s no time like the present to deal with the pesky little details. Fortunately there are ways to make changing banks a little easier.
Before making the move, make sure you check out your banking options thoroughly. The last thing you want is to be moving banks again in a year or two, because you made a poor choice.
Things to consider in your research are:
This is something you should be doing anyway, but if you’re a bit sloppy in the record keeping department, now is the time to get it together.
Make sure you know what transactions are floating out in space, before you even consider switching accounts. The last thing you need is a forgotten transaction coming through AFTER you close your account.
Most people these days use direct deposits and direct debits to take care of at least some of their bills. When you switch banks, you need to make sure every automatic transaction is transferred to your new bank.
First list your direct deposits:
Then list automatic debits:
It’s time to head on down to your bank of choice to open your account. Make sure you have the required minimum deposit with you. Opening the account should be a relatively painless process. You’ll get some temporary checks, while you wait for your official checks to arrive, and you’ll receive your account number.
Once your account is opened, contact every company you listed in the step above. Give them your new bank information, so they can begin making deposits and debits from the correct account.
Alternatively, you can fill out a “Switch Kit” for your new bank, if they offer one. The switch kit will give the bank the information they need to switch your automatic transactions, so you don’t have to.
Ideally, you should keep your old account open for a month or so after you open your new account. Leave a little money cushion in your account, in case one of your automatic transactions doesn’t transfer over as soon as it should.
When you are certain that all of your automatic transactions are working correctly, you have your new checking account and debit card in hand, and you are sure that all transactions have cleared your old account, THEN you can close your old account.
Take a deep breath, celebrate (if you had a compelling reason to leave your old bank), and move on with your financial life.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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