How to Switch Financial Institutions
Many people still use the very first financial institution they opened an account with, even after many years have passed. This loyalty to their initial bank or credit union is understandable, and it often stems from a lack of awareness of better banking options or the reluctance to go through the process of switching. However, as your financial needs and goals change, it's important to consider the benefits of exploring new banking options that align better with these changes.
Finding a new financial institution may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. With the right information and guidance, transitioning to a new bank or credit union can be a smooth and hassle-free process. We've put together information to help you navigate this transition and make the best choice for your financial needs.
Times to Consider the Switch.
There are plenty of great reasons to consider switching your financial institution. As you progress through life, your needs evolve, and it is crucial for your banking services to adapt accordingly. Here are just a few examples:
- Current financial institution is imposing fees that others do not.
- Looking for better interest rates and a wider range of account choices.
- Relocating and requiring a bank or credit union closer to your new home.
- Family is growing and you need account options for your children.
- Getting married or combining finances with your partner.
- Taking on the responsibility of caring for an aging loved one.
Making the Switch.
Step 1: Research which financial institution best suits your needs.
There is a plethora of banking options out there today. Between brick-and-mortar locations, and online banks, it can see overwhelming to make a decision. To begin your research, consider what you are looking for, and what is most important to you. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Minimum account deposits and balances.
- Fees and additional charges.
- How much interest or dividends you'll earn.
- Access to branch locations, ATM, or online banking.
- Types of accounts offered outside of a traditional checking or savings, such as money market account, club account, certificate of deposit, and retirement account options.
Step 2: Organize a list of your automatic payments, withdrawals, and deposits.
When considering switching to a new financial institution, it's essential to have a clear understanding of your current financial obligations. Take the time to organize a comprehensive list of all your automatic payments, withdrawals, and deposits. Be sure to include your current subscriptions, linked accounts, and reoccurring transfers.
In addition to transactions using an account number and routing number, there could be recurring transactions from your debit card. Remember to switch any of the reoccurring transactions linked from your old debit card to your new debit card including apps that use the old card as payment.
Step 3: Open your new account.
Once you've decided on a new financial institution, it's time to open your new account. Today, it's quite simple to open an account online or visit a branch if you'd prefer to open in person. To get your account started, you'll need to provide essential personal details such as your name, address, Social Security Number, and a valid government-issued ID. It's worth noting that certain financial institutions may require two forms of identification for added security. Additionally, be prepared to make an initial deposit, as the minimum requirement may vary depending on the account type and the specific institution you've chosen.
Step 4: Transfer your account.
Once you've successfully opened your new account, it's time to start transferring your deposits and withdrawals from your old account. You can transfer items over slowly or move everything at once. You'll need your new account number and routing number so you can update your direct deposits and any automatic payments or transfers that you have set up so they're linked to your new account.
If your old account doesn't require a minimum daily balance, you could transfer most of your available funds to your new account either by initiating an electronic transfer or by following the transfer process provided by your bank.
Step 5: Close your old account.
After you've successfully set up your new account and transferred all necessary transactions, it's time to close your old account. However, there is no harm in keeping your old account open for awhile to make sure everything has cleared your old account and all transactions are set up on your new account. In addition, be sure any checks that you may have written recently have cleared before closing your account. Once you've closed you're old account, be sure to safely dispose of your old debit cards and checks.
Remember, finding a new financial institution doesn't have to be overwhelming. By following these steps and considering your individual needs and goals, you can make the switch and embark on a new banking journey that aligns with your financial aspirations.