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Thinking about moving your checking accounts? Here are 3 things to consider.

July 20, 2017

There are many reasons to open a new checking account. Whether you are looking to switch due to relocating, getting married, or just unsatisfied with your current bank, there are several things to keep in mind when moving checking accounts to a new bank. Below are three things to consider when making the switch.

Create a wish list, but be flexible

Think about the reasons you desire to switch banks, and create a wish list for your new bank. Is the old bank charging too many fees? Is the branch inconveniently located? Do you want a bank that offers a mobile app? Make a list of the top features and services you need from your new bank. Keep your list realistic. Then, a small issue won’t prevent you from using a bank that could become a perfect match.

Not all banks are created equally when it comes to checking account offerings. Do some research online before going in person. Most bank websites offer some information about checking accounts. Reviewing their financial solutions online allows you to determine which banks to investigate in-depth. Consider the amount needed to open the account, monthly fees, and note any balance that needs to be maintained.

Timing is everything

Switching checking accounts takes time. If you have automatic bill payments being drafted from your old account, or your paycheck being direct deposited to your account, you will need to switch those payments to your new account before closing the old one. Additionally, do not move the entire balance of your account over at one time. In the event that an automatic payment does not switch in time, this will prevent an overdraft of the old account. Leave the old account open for about a month to catch any lingering automatic payments.

Bring the right information

Since the enactment of the Patriot Act, opening a new bank account now requires several pieces of documentation. You will need:

  • Your name, address and date of birth.
  • Official photo identification, such as a driver's license, state ID or passport. If you can't provide any of these, some banks will take two forms of official non-picture ID, such as a Social Security card or a birth certificate.
  • Your Social Security number.
  • An opening deposit in the form of cash, check or payment information, including account number and nine-digit routing number, for an existing bank account with a balance big enough to cover the amount.

Once your new checking account has been open for a month and all lingering autopay bills have been resolved, you can close the old account. Be sure to close the account formally, and not just withdraw the balance. Your previous banking institution can provide documentation that you have closed your accounts.

If you are interested in learning more about what Bank of the James offers for checking accounts, you can learn more here.