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Have you considered switching your checking account to a new bank?  Maybe you are tired of exorbitant fees or poor customer services.  Or you know you can get better interest rates if you switch. Whatever the reason, if you’re like many people, you’re still stuck with a checking account you outgrew years ago. 

Consider what is holding you back from making the switch. Some worry about bouncing an important check or having an automatic transfer fail.  Others don’t want to lose the convenience of having a branch on every corner, even if it has been years since your last visit to an actual office. These are valid concerns, but the truth is it is very easy to switch your checking account to a new bank without an overwhelming amount of hassle.

Consider this checklist to reduce your stress about switching, and help you gain peace of mind for the road ahead.

  1. Find a new bank

It’s time to consider what you WANT from your bank.  Are you looking for great customer service?  Did you see an ad with a great interest rate on a checking account?  Do you care about a bank with local ties that invests in the community?  You can do a little research and find some great banks with a lot to offer including:

  • Personalized Service
  • Lower fees
  • Higher interest rates (for savings and checking accounts)
  • Lower loan rates
  • Convenient, no fee ATM network that provides service in as many locations as a big bank

Rest assured that every bank, regardless of size, is FDIC Insured.  Your money will be safe.

  1. Open Your New Account

Now it’s time to open your new account. If you open the account online you can transfer funds from your old account.  Or you can open the account in person and deposit cash.  You’ll want to be sure to leave enough funds in your old account for any lingering transactions that have not cleared yet. 

It’s also a good idea to get set-up for all the extras right away as well. Get your debit card, sign up for eStatements, online and mobile banking. Talk to your personal banker on how you will use your account so you can begin to use all the new services immediately.

  1. Set Up Automatic Payments and Direct Deposit

When people think about switching checking accounts this is the part many get hung up on.  But with a little planning, it can be a seamless process.

  • Direct Deposit. Check with your employer for a form you can fill out to change your direct deposit information. This usually can be done by the next pay cycle, but make sure you know when the change will take place.
  • Automatic Payments. Collect your current bank statement, and company info for your monthly auto-pay bills. List all of your payments that are automatically debited from your account. Then determine which ones were set up through the company you’re paying, and any that were set up through the Bill Pay system at your old bank. Set up the online payments through your new bank and change the account information for payments automatically debited by companies.
  • Venmo, Paypal, Zelle. Finally, switch your banking information in any online payment systems you have set up.
  1. Stop activity on your previous checking account

Stopping activities on your previous checking account can be happening simultaneously as you begin to use your new account. To prepare to leave your checking account you will need to let final transactions clear (such as checks and debit card transactions). You’ve already made sure to leave some funds in this old checking account to cover any of those lingering transactions.

Watch your account to verify that your outstanding transactions have cleared.  Debit card transactions should clear within 3 days.  If you have outstanding checks those can take a bit longer and you may have to remind the check holder that it would be appreciated if they got that check deposited.

  1. Close Your Old Account

Take a final look at your old account to be sure everything has cleared.  Once you are certain this is done, it’s time to visit your old bank and close the account.  You will have to show identification in order to close the account.  To save time it may be a good idea to call the bank and let them know you are coming in to close your account and ask what will be required of you.

 

At Charter Bank, we want to help you succeed with your financial goals.  If we can be of assistance, please schedule an appointment with a Personal Banker or give us a call at 1-800-471-4510.