Getting ready for a move can be a lengthy process. Even after you’ve packed up your old place and secured help for moving day, you still have to take care of other tasks like switching over your utilities and getting your banking in order.
If your new place is within your bank’s service area, there isn’t much you’ll need to do. Simply notify them of your new address, and your banking will continue as usual. (Note: If you are moving to a new zip code, don’t forget to use it whenever you use your credit or debit card.)
If you are a moving outside of your bank’s service area, however, you’ll need to move your finances to a new bank. While this might seem like a hassle, it can actually be a pretty simple process.
Just follow these steps:
- Go Bank Shopping
As soon as you know you are moving, start scanning your new city or town for banking options. Ask your friends, family, or coworkers if they are familiar with—and can recommend—any banks in the area, and then visit some local branches or the banks’ websites to see if their ATM networks, branch hours, minimum balance requirements, rates, and other services and offerings will fit for your needs.
You can also narrow your search by visiting one of many websites that can help you research and compare banks in the area. FDIC BankFind allows you to locate FDIC-insured banking institutions, and sites like FindABetterBank , Bankrate.com , and SavingsAccounts.com allow you to shop and compare financial institutions in your area. You can also read reviews of specific banks at MyBankTracker .
Once you’ve found a bank that looks good, make sure that it’s a good fit. Ask plenty of any questions and read any and all fine print. If things don’t work out, you’ll have to start the search process all over again in a few months.
- Open a New Account
When you’ve settled on a bank, go ahead and open a checking or savings account (or both) as soon as possible. Order checks and a debit card so that you’ll have them before you move. Make sure your new PIN number works, as well as your online account access.
Leave your old accounts open, and set up an electronic link between your old accounts and your new one. This can save you time and money should you need to transfer funds between the two. (Click here to learn how to link your accounts.)
If you have any outstanding checks or bill payments linked to your old account, keep some extra funds in your old account to prevent and bounced checks or overdrafts.
- Redirect Your Direct Deposits, Automatic Payments, and Online Accounts
Your next step should be to cancel any automatic payments that are scheduled to come out of your old account.
First, make a list of all payments that are automatically debited. Note which ones were set up via outside companies that you’re paying and which ones were set up through the bank. Re-establish new online payments through your new bank, and provide new account information for any payments that are automatically debited by companies. Again, leave enough funds in your old account to cover any payments that are already scheduled, and make sure that there are enough funds in your new account to cover any future payments. (Both your old and new banks may have processes in place to streamline this transition. Be sure to ask.)
Next, make sure anyone paying you via direct deposit has your new address and account information. (Your employer probably has a simple form to fill out to make this change.) While this change can often take effect by your next pay date or cycle, ask your employer how will the change will take to process.
Lastly, switch your banking information with any other online sites or payments that you frequent. Failing to do so can lead to interruptions in service or cause you to be unable to make online purchases.
- Leave Your Old Account Open a Little While Longer
Once you’ve open up your new account and redirected all your deposits and payments, leave your account open until all checks, deposits, and scheduled payments have cleared. Balance your checkbook one last time to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything. If there are any checks that haven’t cleared, contact the recipient(s) to inquire as to their status.
- Close Your Old Account
Once everything has finally cleared, close out your account. In order to withdraw any leftover funds, go to a branch to get cash, write yourself a check from your old account to your new one, or request an electronic transfer. After you’ve secured the funds, shred any leftover checks, debit cards, or credit cards tied to your old account in order to protect yourself from identity theft.
- Make Sure It’s Closed
Many banks will reopen an account if a deposit is made into it after it’s been closed. This can lead to significant minimum balance and maintenance fees.
Monitor your closed account. Every few months, try to login to the account to make sure that it is, indeed, closed. If you do happen to find unexpected unauthorized activity, contact the bank immediately.
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