Changing Bank Accounts? Your 7-Step Checklist to Make the Process Easy
by Christy Bieber | Published on Oct. 14, 2021
Don't let anything fall through the cracks when you switch banks.
There are plenty of good reasons to switch banks if you aren't happy with your current financial institution. A new bank might provide fewer fees, easier access to your money, or other perks like a generous interest rate.
But while it may be worth it to make a change, there's a lot of effort involved in ending one banking relationship and starting another. To make sure the process goes smoothly, follow this seven-step checklist to help you change bank accounts.
1. Make a list of linked accounts
Chances are good you have other accounts linked to your bank account that allow you to make payments to different creditors or utility companies. You'll want to make sure you link all of those same companies with your new account so you can seamlessly pay the bills.
If you have savings accounts or brokerage accounts linked to your bank account so you can transfer money to them, you'll also want to make note of that as well so you can set up that connection again once you've changed your bank.
2. Review recent transactions for auto-debited bills
You may also have your account set up so payments are auto-debited from your bank account. For example, your utility company or your gym may automatically pull your monthly payment directly from your checking account.
You'll need to update all of the companies you're paying with your new bank information, and you don't want any to fall through the cracks. So go through around six months of recent statements and look for any auto-debits so you can update those companies with your new info.
3. Look for outstanding checks
If you have written any checks, you'll need to make sure that they clear before you close down your old account. Look back at your checkbook and make note of any checks that are still outstanding so you can follow up on them.
4. Open your new bank account
You'll likely want to open your new bank account before you close your old one down so you'll be able to avoid a lag where you have no active banking relationship. You'll also need time to get everything switched over. So research your options and find a new bank that works for you -- then get your new account opened up.
5. Transfer over most of your money, leaving a cushion in your old account
Next, transfer most of the money from your existing account to your new one. Make sure to leave enough in the old account for any checks that haven't yet cleared, and leave a little extra in case there are payments you forgot about or in case companies don't change your auto payment right away.
6. Set up bill pay with your new bank
Use your list of linked accounts and auto-debited bills to set up your new account and make sure it mirrors your old one. You can add all of your linked accounts, and notify the companies you do business with about your new account number.
7. Wait a month for outstanding checks to clear and close your old account down
Finally, once all of your outstanding checks have cleared and you've changed over all your payment information, it's time to close down your old account for good. You should receive a check with any remaining funds and can deposit it in your new account and the changeover will be complete.
Once you've completed these seven steps, you should be all set with your new account and won't have any lingering worries about anything falling through the cracks. While it may take a little time, if you're able to switch to a bank you're happy with, then it's well worth the effort.
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