How To Switch To A New Checking Account

I’m on the verge of taking the plunge and switching to ING’s Electric Orange checking account, but one thing has kept me from switching over: the hassle of moving all of my deposits and transfers to a new bank.

Given that, I’ve prepared a plan for moving to a new checking account that should pave the way to making the transition substantially easier than it was the last time I attempted this feat. Here’s what I plan to do.

1. Open the new checking account. The first step is the most obvious one. Open the account and get the information you need: account number and routing number. Order checks if you need them. In other words, be prepared.

2. Make a list and check it twice. Make a detailed list of all automated withdrawals and deposits from your current primary checking account. The best way to do this is to simply watch the account for a period of two to three months so that you pick up as many of these as possible.

3. Balance your checkbook. Make sure you’ve accounted for everything outstanding so there are no nasty surprises during the transition. Figure out what you have in the old account down to the cent so that you can avoid overdraft dangers.

4. Switch over all deposits and withdrawals at once. I find this is easiest to do by switching over the deposits a bit earlier than the withdrawals, so that there is money already in the new account when deposits begin to be set up. I’m also incredibly careful about such things.

5. Leave the old account open for a while with a balance in it to catch any missing deposits or withdrawals. Even though it might feel like the balance in the old account is just sitting there wasting time, it’s actually there to protect you against your own poor memory. Just be patient and give it several months; you might surprise yourself.

6. Close the old account. Be sure to leave a correct address behind. You might also want to end other services at that bank, such as a safety deposit box.

Trent Hamm

Founder & Columnist

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 and still writes a daily column on personal finance. He’s the author of three books published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press, has contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and his financial advice has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.