Updated on 12.26.06

How To Switch To A New Checking Account

Trent Hamm

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.

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  1. Teri Pittman says:

    My changeover to a new local bank has been interesting. My husband opened the account and gave me some paperwork to sign to add my name to it. When I tried to cash a check a week later, I found out that I still wasn’t on the account. They cleared that up, ordered checks for me and took my picture for the debit check card. It’s been two weeks and the checks still haven’t come in. I’ve requested a login in twice for online banking and am still waiting for that. The debit card came on Saturday but I still don’t have the pin number so it’s unuseable at this point. And last week, they found that they hadn’t asked my husband to sign paperwork for his debit card. So we are likely waiting a couple of weeks now for that.

    The other side of this is that even though we don’t have a lot of money, we still have some in this bank. I have to ask them for a total before I withdraw anything. There are no outstanding checks, obviously. I’m trying to use this as a learning experience that might just motivate me to keep better track of what money we have in the bank and what our balance is.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Interesting, what made you decide to go this route? I read about the earlier post where you talked about the pros and cons, and aside from an above average interest rate and the availability of free ATMs I don’t see how the various cons don’t outweigh those.

    The interest itself doesn’t make much sense to me on a checking account since it is a transaction account and generally you don’t have a high revolving balance sitting in it (of course with better interest people are more likely to). So for example say you keep an average monthly balance of $10,000 in your checking and earn 3%, earning roughly $300 a year. For many people $10k would be a fairly a nice cushion in a checking account.

    So instead, say you like to keep that same $10k cushion but you split $5k into a savings account like ING or another earning between 4.5-5% and $5k in your local checking account earning between 0.75-1.5%. At 5% in savings half the money earns only $50 less interest than 10k in a checking, so adding the local checking interest you would come out basically breaking even.

    Then by doing this not only do you about break even but you retain many of the benefits of having a local bank as well.

    Anyway, just throwing the question out there because I have never considered opening a checking account like the ING account so I’m wondering if I’m really missing something as far as benefits go.

    I just don’t think I’d be able to ditch my relationship with my bank, there are far more benefits to working local in my situation. My checking earns 0.75, has free checks, comes with a free safe deposit box, and most important comes with a branch manager I know and have worked with for years. If there is a problem with my account I can simply walk in and talk to a familiar face in person to resolve the issue. I cringe at the thought of dealing with customer support via 800 number for basic banking issues.

    Also, as a quick note, a long-term relationship with a bank can go a long way when it comes to future loans or financing. It is hard to predict future needs, but shaving a point off of some sort of financing simply because you have a banking relationship could be worth quite a bit more than the little added interest gained otherwise.

    Anyway, I’m just curious. I know you have run through your specific situation very carefully before making any decision, but for people such as myself who have not thought of this alternative I just wanted to understand the driving forces behind this big move.

  3. Mike says:

    Just as an addition to point #3…also set up online access to your checking account so that you know when your last written check was cashed. Don’t avoid balancing your checkbook, but sooner out of money-drain is sooner into money-gain.

  4. Tony Roberts says:

    Coulee Bank ( http://www.couleebank.net ) offers an incredible 6.01% APY with their Rewards Checking account. The rate is easy to earn. All you have to do is make 10 check card transactions a month, use e-statements, and do 1 automatic payment a month (they call it ACH). Coulee Bank pays 6.01% on the first $25,000 and 1.01% on anything above that. The best thing about this account besides the rate is it is FREE, you can apply online, and it is from a great bank with real people that answer the phone. And as they like to say, Banking Green has its Rewards. The Rewards Checking account saves paper and preserves our natural resources. No wonder I feel good about recommending this to everyone I know. Check it out. I guarantee you will love it.

  5. rodgerlvu says:

    thanks. you are the most intelligent person i ever met…

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