How to Switch Bank Accounts Quickly
Breaking up is hard to do, but sometimes it's necessary.
Once you come to the conclusion that you and your bank are no longer compatible, it’s time to cut your loses and find a new one you'd be happier with. As with any relationship, you'll need to gather up your belongings, and in this case, you're tangled in things like automatic payments, direct deposit and bill pay.
It's not always easy, but there are ways to get you through the process faster and with less bumps.
Why are you leaving?
One thing you may want to consider is calling your bank to address why you are unhappy and want to leave. Chances are, they will try to keep you as a customer and may be willing to accommodate you.
If you've absolutely made up your mind that you're leaving, speak to an someone at the branch and make sure your needs will be met. Most importantly, know how much it costs to open a checking account with each bank. Certain online banks offer completely free checking account options.
Thanks to something called "switch kits," you can easily gather up your electronic information and have it sent to your new bank. These kits require you to collect data (on one handy form) from recurring transactions such as deposits, withdrawals, direct deposit, life insurance payments, mortgage payments, savings accounts, etc. so your new bank can make the switch easy for you.
Some kits will even include letters from the appropriate parties to switch your direct deposit, redirect your auto payments and close your previous accounts -- brilliant!
Switch kits are often available online, at bank branches and through the mail. Be sure to ask your new bank if they offer switch kits.
Open the account
This sounds obvious, but some people don’t know you can have two checking accounts at once.
You want to open the new account before you close the other in order to smoothly transition your direct deposit and bill payments. It's also a good idea to keep your old account open to make sure all of your pending payments, checks and transactions go through.
Also, if you have multiple sources of income such as Dwolla, PayPal and the like, remember to switched those over as well. It is a hassle to cancel one direct deposit if the date of deposit is approaching.
It's also a headache to place a stop payment from your bank to your bill payments, so be sure to keep track of when money comes in and out, so you won't have any problems.
Make the switch
Switch your deposits over first so there will be money in your account to make withdrawals.
If you try to do everything at once, you could put yourself in the red from the start. If your new bank offers switch kits, make sure you know exactly what is being transferred over and in what order. Also, keep records of your closed accounts.
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