To switch or not to switch… that is the question! Switching banks has never been described as an easy or fun task. But what if I could help make the process a bit easier for you? I can’t promise it will be fun, but if you’re already feeling that itch to switch – it will be worth it in the long run.
Got the itch to switch?
So what would make someone get the itch to switch? There are many reasons why someone would want to make a break from their current bank. You could be going through a big life change that challenges you to review your relationship with your current bank. For example, moving to another city for that new job opportunity might make you switch if you want to do your banking close to home. If you’re recently married like me, you and your hubby would have gone through a debate to decide whose bank gets the honour of opening your joint account. You could also be looking for better rates because who doesn’t love a good deal? Honestly, as much as a good deal gets me going, the real value is finding someone that treats you like a person and not an account number. Whatever the reason may be, if you’re not happy then it is time to make a change!
How do you do that? I don’t know about you but I like a good checklist so let’s break it down step by step.
Step 1: Browse the options
You wouldn’t buy a book without reading the back and you wouldn’t buy a car off the lot without taking it for a test drive. Your bank shouldn’t be any different. Browse your options and ask yourself want do you want from your financial institution. Things to consider:
- Would you rather a bank or a credit union? Don’t think there is much of a difference? There is and we’ve broken it down for you in a previous MONEYTALK blog.
- What is your banking style? In a branch, online, or maybe a mixture of both? Check out what each financial institution specializes in.
- Is it important that your financial institution is involved and supports your community in which you work, live and play? Take a look at what/how much they support.
- Most importantly, ask what’s in it for you!
Evaluate your options and take a couple of your top draft picks out for a test drive. I recommend meeting with a representative from the option you are considering to see if they are a right fit for you and can provide what you are missing from your relationship with your current financial institution.
Step 2: Open a new account
You’ve done your research, played the field and now you’re ready to commit… what’s next? Jump in with both feet and open a new account. Most financial institutions offer a variety of ways to open up an account. If you want the human interaction, visit your local branch in your community or if you want the ease and convenience from your couch – there are typically online options (if there isn’t and that is something you value most – return to Step 1).
Pro Tip: Once the account is opened – make a small deposit into your new account to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Step 3: Identify monthly expenses and set up automatic payments
Make a list of your automatic payments that come out of your account on a bi-weekly, monthly and yearly basis. You’ll want to set these up on your new account. Some common automatic transactions to think about:
- Your hard earned dollars: Direct deposits
- The roof over your head: Mortgage payments
- Subscription to chill: Netflix account
- One more song: Apple Music/Spotify Premium
- Connection to the world: Cellphone payments
- License to Leg Day: Gym Membership fees
Step 4: Transfer majority of your money
You’ve set up your automatic payments and now you have to make sure you have money in there to pay them. Time to transfer the majority of your money into your new account. Key word here is “majority” of your money.
Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to keep some of your money in your old account just in case that pesky internet bill slipped through the cracks.
Having said that, keep your old account open for at least a month to ensure you haven’t missed any of those automatic transactions. When all is clear, transfer the rest of your money into your new account.
Step 5: Closing time
Last, but definitely not least, is to close your account, I repeat CLOSE your account! Just because the balance is zero doesn’t mean it is closed and your bank will continue charging you fees until it is officially closed. Avoid having a “fee”k out when you realize the account was reopened and you now owe your ex-bank money. Contact your bank to ask how to officially close your account and get the closure you need.
If you’re feeling that itch to switch don’t be afraid to make a change. At the end of the day, your finances are one of the most important aspects in your life and you should feel safe, valued and confident with your financial institution.
Have any tips for the switch? Let’s hear ’em! Share by using the comment section below to save any headaches for those looking to break up with their bank.
While proudly calling Regina my home, I also spend a lot of time in the mountains, at the cabin, or in Oakland watching the Raiders. When I’m not re-watching The Office for the 100th time, you can find me snowboarding, travelling or building a puzzle. As a newlywed, my husband and I are looking to make that move from crammed condo to house heaven…(Full Bio in “Meet The Authors”)
(To read more of my blogs CLICK my name)