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Follow These 5 Steps To Make Changing Banks Easier

Follow these 5 steps to make changing banks easier

Switching banks doesn’t have to be cumbersome. Here’s everything you need to consider to make the process painless.
September 16, 2021

Follow These 5 Steps To Make Changing Banks Easier

Follow these 5 steps to make changing banks easier

Switching banks doesn’t have to be cumbersome. Here’s everything you need to consider to make the process painless.
September 16, 2021

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Maybe it’s excessive fees. Maybe it’s subpar customer service. Maybe it’s the need for better services, products, and features.

Whatever the reason, if you’re not satisfied with your current bank, don’t be afraid to make a change. Your finances are an incredibly important aspect of your life and you should feel confident that the bank you’re in business with is helping you make the most of your money. 

Contrary to popular belief, switching banks isn’t difficult. There are, however, certain steps you need to take before you make the change. Follow these five steps to cover your bases and make the process a smooth one.

Step 1: Determine what’s most important to you in a new banking partner 

Why are you leaving your existing bank in the first place? Identifying what is driving you to make this change helps ensure you’re getting what you want and need out of your new financial institution. Ask yourself: 

  • What monthly fees will I incur with this bank? Are they lower than those I’m currently paying?
  • What features and benefits are available? Do they offer things like automatic bill payment and mobile check deposit?
  • Are the savings interest rates better than what I have currently?
  • Do I have the option to use online and mobile banking services? Do I also have easy access to in-person banking should I want it?
  • What perks matter most to me? Does this bank offer them?

Answering these questions will help you find the bank that best suits you.

Step 2: Open your new account

Now that you’ve defined what you’re looking for and selected the right bank for you, you can begin the process of opening your new account. Whether you’re doing so online or in person, opening a bank account generally requires the following information:

  •  Name
  •  Birth date
  •  Social Security number
  •  Email address
  •  Mailing address
  •  Phone number
  •  Driver’s license or I.D. number

Opening an account also requires a minimum initial deposit. You can either transfer funds from your existing account using your account and routing numbers or use cash, leaving enough in your old account to keep it open (we’ll get to that in a later step).

Step 3: Make a list of automatic payments and deposits.

The most common roadblock people cite when it comes to switching banks is updating automatic payments and deposits. You can overcome this obstacle by making a list and tackling each item with your new account and routing numbers in hand. 

  1. Start by reviewing your most recent account statements for any automatic withdrawals or payments; think car payments, insurance, utility bills, gym memberships, streaming services, and any other recurring subscriptions. To move these automatic payments to your new account, contact the billers directly. Fortunately, many make it easy to switch payment methods online.

  2. Then, account for other places where your account may be linked online, such as PayPal, Venmo, and Apple Pay, and replace existing payment methods with new ones.

  3. Next, move direct deposits to your new account. You can do so by contacting your employer or the agency responsible for your deposit. Pro tip: Don’t forget to ask when you can expect the change to occur! This is also the time to set up any recurring transfers, such as deposits from checking to savings, to occur between your new accounts.

  4. Last but not least, make note of any checks you’ve already written or plan to write and scheduled transfers to savings or investment accounts. You’ll want to wait for these to clear before moving on to the next step. 

Step 4: Phase out your old account

To account for anything you may have forgotten on the list you just created, refrain from emptying and closing your old account right away. Leaving your old account open for at least one full billing cycle after making a move to a new bank can help you spot any recurring payments or transactions you might have missed and ensure your new automatic payments and withdrawals have carried over.

As part of the phase-out process, stop writing checks, making ATM withdrawals, and using your debit card at least two weeks before you plan to close your old account for good. This will help prevent any items from posting after your account closes, which could trigger fees or the unintentional re-opening of your account. 

Step 5: Close your old account

Now, it’s time to take one last look and make sure everything in your old bank account has cleared. If you have no outstanding payments or credits, make the trip to your old bank and close your account. Pro tip: Call your old bank before making the trip to confirm any documentation or forms of ID you need to bring. Keep in mind that there may be a fee to close your account.

If you’re ready to switch banks, make sure you thoroughly evaluate your banking options before choosing a new financial institution to do business with. Features, services, and perks aside, you deserve a bank that has your best interests at heart. As your local community bank, Wintrust believes in making life easier. We’re less concerned with whether a service is profitable and more concerned with whether it’s useful to you. True community banking means putting our customers first and offering those little services that make a big difference. Learn more about community banking with Wintrust here.

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