How Long Does It Take to Change Banks?

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KEY POINTS

  • The most time-consuming part of switching banks could be deciding on the best bank (and account) for you.
  • It's a good idea to make a list of all your direct deposits and auto-paid bills, subscriptions, and transfers, so you don't forget anything.
  • It might take a few days for your cash to transfer between banks.

Switching banks isn't as onerous as you may be fearing.

Are you tired of antiquated mobile banking apps, pointless fees, and earning just pennies a year in interest on your savings account? Maybe it's time for a change. If you're worried about how long it might take to move your cash from one bank to another, fear not. Let's have a look at how long it'll take you to complete all the little tasks that go along with changing banks.

Choose a new bank account: Time varies

There's really no way to quantify how long it might take you to choose a new bank and then an account at that bank. Luckily, there are plenty of resources to help. Take a look at our list of the best checking accounts. Follow that up with the best savings accounts. And if the recent headlines about bank failures have you feeling nervous, it wouldn't hurt to consider the safest banks in the U.S. in your search for a new home for your money.

Open the new account: One hour (if that)

Once you've chosen a bank and the right account for you, you've got to open the account. It likely won't even take a full hour to do this, especially if you've chosen an online bank. (If you've picked a brick-and-mortar bank and must meet with a representative to open your account, it still likely won't take an hour -- I recommend making an appointment if you need to do this in person.)

Your new bank might want the account and routing number from the bank you're leaving, so you can fund the new account. You'll also need a few pieces of information so the bank can verify your identity and get in touch with you:

  • Photo identification
  • Social Security number
  • Birthdate
  • Address
  • Email address and phone number

Update your direct deposits: One hour

Once the account is open, you'll be given your account and routing number. This is good, because it means you can update your direct deposit settings. If you have only one employer, this should be pretty quick and easy. Get in touch with HR and give them the new bank information so your next paycheck will land in your new account. If you have multiple employers (say, you're a freelancer with multiple clients), the process is the same, but you'll need to repeat it for as many people as you have paying you.

Change your autopay and transfer settings: Two hours

If you have your bills set to autopay, you'll need to change the settings with all your utility companies, mortgage servicer, credit card companies, and any other entity you pay. This will be the most tedious part of the whole process. I recommend going through a year's worth of bank statements at your old bank to make sure you don't forget anything (I'm looking at you, newspaper subscription that is billed annually). And if you transfer money regularly to, say, a brokerage account, make sure you update those settings too.

Sign up for mobile banking: A few minutes

And now onto one of the easy parts. I recommend setting up an account with your new bank via its full website, so you can check out all the account tools at your disposal. Then you can download the mobile banking app for your phone and/or tablet (why not both?) and take it for a test drive.

Move your cash over: Potentially a few business days

If you opened the new account with a small amount of cash or a check, rather than everything you have, it's now time to actually transfer all your money to the new account. ACH transfers are free between U.S. banks, but it could take your money up to three business days to arrive in the new account and be available, rather than "pending." You might consider leaving a little money in the old account, in case you still have pending payments.

Close your old account: One hour

The last step, but an extremely crucial one. Closing your bank account doesn't take long, but you want to ensure your money is out of the old account (once those pending payments have been taken out, that is), and that you have written confirmation that the account is closed. You may also need to furnish something in writing to your old bank.

All told, you're looking at anywhere from several hours to a few days to complete the switch from one bank to another once you've picked the right one for you. Not too bad, right? Don't be afraid to change banks to find more convenience, save on fees, and earn more interest -- after all, your bank account should make your life easier.

These savings accounts are FDIC insured and could earn you 11x your bank

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Two of our top online savings account picks:

Rates as of May 24, 2024 Ratings Methodology
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APY: up to 4.60%

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