If you've moved to a new neighborhood recently or feel like the checking account you have today won't serve your financial needs tomorrow, don't settle for less — you have the freedom to switch to a new checking account! But how does one go about making the change?
It can be overwhelming to research different credit unions, banks, and the accounts they offer, but we have some advice that can help you make this process as easy and stress-free as possible. Read on for more information about assessing your options, making an informed decision when it comes to selecting a new checking account provider and ultimately ensuring a smooth transition when you make the switch.
Choose the Right Checking Account
Before you make the switch, you'll want to do a little research. Here are five steps to take when you're evaluating a new checking account:
1. Investigate Account Fees
The first thing you should do when evaluating a checking account is to compare the account fees. Some checking accounts have monthly maintenance fees, while others do not. Additionally, some financial institutions levy fees for exceeding a certain number of transactions. Make sure to compare the fees of different checking accounts so that you can choose the one that best meets your needs.
2. Consider Interest Rates
Another thing to consider when evaluating a checking account is the interest rate. Some checking accounts offer interest on your deposited funds, while others do not. If you're looking for a place to park your money while earning some interest, make sure to choose a checking account that offers an attractive rate.
3. Review the Minimum Balance Requirements
Some checking accounts require a minimum balance in order to avoid fees or earn interest. If you don't think you'll be able to meet the minimum balance requirements, it may be best to choose a free checking account or one with a lower minimum balance requirement that works for your budget.
4. Compare ATM Access and Options
When choosing a checking account, it is also important to consider ATM access and options. Some credit unions and banks offer free ATM access within extensive networks, while others charge fees for using out-of-network ATMs. Additionally, some financial institutions reimburse ATM fees, while others do not. If you frequently use ATMs to transact to and from your account, you'll want to choose an institution that gives you convenient access wherever you are in the world. Make sure to compare the ATM policies of all the financial institutions on your list before settling on your choice.
5. Look at Online and Mobile Banking Options
Finally, make sure to consider the online and mobile banking options offered by the financial institution. Most credit unions and banks offer online banking these days, but some offer more robust features than others, like mobile check deposit, online bill pay, and security alerts that can keep your account safe. Additionally, if you enjoy banking with your smartphone, you'll want a secure mobile app that's easy to navigate and use.
Now Make Your Switch!
You've evaluated your options and are ready to make the switch. Here's a five-step plan for an easy checking account switch!
1. Make your selection
You've done your evaluation of checking accounts at different financial institutions, and there's one that clearly meets your needs. You've looked at the fees associated with the account, the location of the nearest branch, and membership requirements and they offer all of the features and services that you need. Hooray!!!
2. Open your new account
Once you have chosen the right place for your money, you'll need to open your new account. You may be able to do this online or in person at a branch location. When opening an account, you'll be required to provide some personal information, including your name, address, government-issued ID (for example, a driver's license, military ID, or passport), and your Social Security number for tax reporting.
3. Transfer funds and change billers
The next step is to transfer your funds from your old checking account to your new one. This can be done by changing your direct deposit details with your employer to go to your new account or by transferring the funds manually yourself. If you have automatic bill pay set up in your old account, you'll need to switch payments so they come out of your new checking account. This can be the trickiest part of making a switch! You'll have to make sure you change all of your accounts and keep a close eye that the switches are completed, or else you run the risk of overdrawing your old account and missing a bill payment, which can cost you in fees and possibly ding your credit score. If you are transferring the funds yourself, you'll need to initiate a wire transfer or an ACH transfer from your old account to your new one, so have the correct routing and account numbers on hand.
4. Close your old account
After your funds have been successfully transferred to your new account and your automatic bill payments are set up, you can close your old account. This can be done by contacting your old bank and requesting that they close your account. (You must formally close the account, or you could get an unexpected surprise by finding that your old bank has been charging you maintenance or low balance fees.) You may also need to provide your old bank with your new account information so that they can transfer any remaining balances you have with them.
5. Start using that new account
Once your old account has been closed and all of your funds have been transferred to your new account, it's time to start using it like any other checking account. Be sure to keep track of all of your transactions and monitor your balance so that you don't overdraw.
Now that you know how to change your checking account without all the headaches, what's stopping you from making the switch? If you're ready to take advantage of all the benefits Hanscom FCU has to offer, click on the button below to learn more. We'll walk you through every step of the process so opening a checking account with Hanscom FCU will be a breeze.
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