Changing banks is so stupid easy you need to stop avoiding it
In days gone by, changing banks was nearly unheard of, mainly because it was complicated. Typically people changed banks only when they moved to an area where their bank was no longer accessible and they had little choice. But that isn't the way things are anymore.
So why do people still put off changing banks when they could be saving money on fees by doing so?
I believe the biggest reason is the perception that changing banks is still difficult, time-consuming, and… frankly, nerve-wracking. In today's financial world, we've traded the checkbook for automatic bill pay, direct deposit, and numerous cards and transactions connected to our bank account – which are all fantastic time and money savers, but it also makes people hesitant to change banks. What if you forget to move a payment over to your new bank? What if you accidentally overdraw your old account because you forgot about a payment you had set up? These are all concerns I hope to calm because now, changing banks is so stupid easy you need to stop avoiding it.
If you are fed up with your bank, the following steps are likely all you'll need to enjoy a change…
Step One – Change your perception. Banks have made themselves so flexible and easy to work with these days – offering everything from robust online options and websites, to easy-to-access phone help, to in-branch personalized service. Most banks would be happy to bring you on as a new customer and will likely hold your hand, every step of the way.
Step Two – Consider a bank with some very smart technology for moving things over. I recently switched my banking to USAA. I was able to do nearly everything on their phone app within 15 minutes. The migration is done through a simple, in-app interview process. If your new bank has this feature, you can likely breeze through these next steps, just as I did…
Step Three – Determining what you have running. This is not as frightening nor as time-consuming as it sounds. Banks offer the ability to view your statements online and you simply skim through the past 2-3 months or so and note recurring payments. Some banks (like USAA) will even pull this information for you, during the transition process over to them, to help you identify recurring payments.
Step Four – Moving your paycheck (direct deposit). To make this step easier, see if your new bank will send a request on your behalf, rather than your need to manually submit a form at your HR.
Step Five – Moving additional money. You can determine when and how much of your money from your old account is moved to the new account.
Step Six – Handling automatic payments. Now it's time to refer to your list of automatic payments you made in Step Two. Because you identified them already, all you need to do now is refer to the biller's name, your account number, and the recurring (or one time) amounts and quickly set them up in your new bank's bill pay system. This process typically takes just a few minutes per bill, as systems are designed to automatically help you along in the process.
Step Seven – Reassigning membership payments. Payments that you have set up monthly, quarterly, yearly, however often, need to be moved over to your new account. By referring to your recurring list, you'll have a good start.
In addition to that, thinking through things you use all the time, like Netflix, app memberships, and the like. Make a list and begin to move those over as soon as you have your new bank account number and funds to cover it. Never move all your money from your old account until you're positive you've moved everything. How is this easy these days? Mobile banking. You can do all this right from your phone or computer in just a few minutes per account.
Step Eight – Ordering new checks. The old “I'll need new checks” barrier to changing banks is even easier. Yes, you'll still need to make sure that you leave enough money in your old account to cover any outstanding checks. Getting new checks is easier and less expensive than it used to be. You can order them right online through your new bank or from a reputable online check service. Discounts on new checks are plentiful, too. Check out SavingsAngel.com/Swagbucks for coupon codes to pocket some savings.
Step Nine – Closing your old account. Gone are the days of having to show up at your old bank in person to close an account. Once you've completely emptied your old account, either by having your last written check post or moving your last remaining dollars, generally, you can just call your old bank and request the account to be fully closed immediately. This can go a long way to avoiding any automatic payments you may have forgotten about overdrawing the account. The company trying to draw will simply receive a rejection. Then you'll get a notice from them so you can get them squared away with your new banking information.