Category Archives: Banking

8 Signs It’s Time to Switch Banks

8 Signs It’s Time to Switch BanksWhen your bank is no longer serving your needs or you’re unsatisfied with the service you’re receiving, it may be time to switch to a new bank. Any of these situations could mean it’s time to switch banks and leave your old banking relationship behind.

They’re charging too many fees. It’s starts slowly. Your bank sends you a letter telling you they’re going to start charging a fee for a service, perhaps a monthly account fee if your balance is below a certain amount. A few months later, there’s another fee. Banks make billions of dollars from overdraft fees and loan interest, if yours can’t give you a free checking account, it’s time to switch banks.

They set you up for overdrafts. Banks generate billions of dollars in revenue from overdraft fees, so it’s in their best interests to process your transactions in a way that will maximize the overdraft fees they charge you. If your bank has a predatory overdraft policy – charging several multiple overdraft fees per day, charging extended overdraft fees when your account remains negative – shop other bank’s policies and switch to a bank that won’t penalize you as heavily if you overdraft your account.

There are no in-network ATMs near you. ATM withdrawals can get expensive, especially if you’re hit with fees from the ATM operator and your bank. If you find yourself constantly using out-of-network ATMs, it may be time to switch to a bank with more convenient ATMs. Perhaps the bank whose ATMs you’re using is a better choice than the bank you currently use.

You’re receiving poor customer service. There are too many banks to put up with rude or unresponsive customer service representatives. Constant customer service issues is a sign that it’s time to switch to a friendlier bank.

Your current bank isn’t insured. One of the best reasons to put your money in a bank is so it’s protected in case of a bank failure, but if your bank isn’t insured, you risk losing everything. You might also consider opening an account at another bank if you’ve already exceeded your current bank’s coverage amount – currently $250,000 per depositor per account (certain types of accounts). Check the FDIC’s website to confirm that your bank is insured. Or, for credit unions, check the National Credit Union Association’s website.

You’re relocating and your bank doesn’t have branches in the new location. If you’re moving to a new state where your bank doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar branches, switching to a bank that’s located in that area might be a better option. Even if you can handle the majority of your transactions electronically, you won’t have the ability to physically visit a bank branch should you ever need to.

You can get better interest rates elsewhere. Savings account interest rates aren’t very high at any bank, but some banks have more competitive rates than others, particularly online banks. Consider switching to a new bank to earn more interest on your savings deposit.

Your bank doesn’t have the option for online bill pay or other online features. It’s 2016. If your bank doesn’t offer the ability to pay your bills online, it’s time to switch. And if you can’t even check your bank balance online, you should have switched banks years ago.

You may dread the process of switching banks, but your banking experience is worth the effort.

How to Close a Bank Account

How to Close a Bank AccountHave you ever wanted to close your bank account, but put it off because of the effort and time it would take? So you stick with your same bank even though you really want to move your money somewhere else. You don’t have to stick it out anymore.

Closing your bank account is a somewhat tedious process, but if you follow the steps in the right order, you can settle into your new account within a couple of weeks, maybe even less. Here’s what to do.

First, open a new account.

Closing your bank account before opening a new one is kind of like quitting your job before you have a new one lined up. Even if you get a new job right away, there will still be some inconvenience with the delay in paychecks.

Scope out your new banks by checking their websites and comparing prices and features for the type of account you want to open. Get referrals from friends and family. Consider opening an account with an online bank, which may pay higher interest rates, even on checking accounts.

Next, transfer the money to your new bank.

Withdraw your funds from your old account and deposit them into your new account. There are a few ways to make this happen:

  • Bank transfer.
  • Write a check for “cash” from your old account and deposit the check into your new account.
  • Go to a bank branch and withdraw the funds in the form of a cashier’s check then take it to your new bank.
  • Use your debit card to purchase a money order for the balance of your bank account then deposit the money order into your new account.
  • If the balance is relatively low, you can withdraw cash from an ATM and take the cash to your new bank.

Make sure you leave enough money in the old account to cover any pending transactions.

Change your direct deposits.

Once you have your new bank account and routing number, change your direct deposit so that it goes to your new account instead of the old one.

Check with your payroll department to see if there will be a waiting period before the direct deposit goes to the new account.

Consider everywhere you’ve stored your bank account information for deposits, Paypal for example, and be sure to switch to your new account.

Change any automatic payments.

After your account is closed, payment attempts may be declined and the biller may charge you an additional fee for the returned payment. Some banks also charge a fee for payment attempts on a closed account.

Review your bank statement to catch any payments you have automatically scheduled. Call those companies or visit their websites to change your autopay information to your new account.

It may be a good idea to keep a small amount of money in your old checking account for at least a month or two to cover any transactions you may have forgotten about. Then, when you’re sure there are no pending transactions, withdraw any cash that’s left and call your bank’s customer service to close your account for good. Destroy any remaining checks and shred your debit card to prevent fraud and avoid any future mix-ups with accounts.

I’m Finally Closing My Bank of America Checking Account

When I went off to college, I signed up for a checking account with the local Bank of America branch. Free checking with no account management fees, no minimum required balance, and tons of ATM around. It was perfect for a college kid who didn’t have much money and had no interest in paying someone money to hold cash for them.

The account has been really great and I’ve never had any major issues. In fact, they once messed up a cashier’s check and when trying to fix it, added free cashier’s checks to my account. I only used this feature one other time, when buying my first car, but that $10 saved was sweet! Basically, the account has been great to me, even though I don’t like Bank of America as a whole.

They wouldn’t allow me to add Lauren to this account for some reason, so we opened up a new account with them that is also fee-free, as long as we don’t go inside the bank. It hasn’t been a problem yet, but as soon as I deposit a check inside a branch, I’ll be slapped with an $8 charge that month. I’ve started to move my business elsewhere (specifically, to Capital One 360, formerly ING Direct), which has tons of great features and knows how to treat it’s customers.

Bank of America Is Going To Start Charging Me For Checking

Last week, I got a letter in the mail, effectively telling me that my free ride is over. Going forward, they are going to be charging me $12 per month. There are two ways for me to avoid the fee:

  • Have at least one qualifying direct deposit of $250 or more or
  • Maintain an average daily balance of $1,500 or more

I’m not interested in doing either of those because I am trying to move away from Bank of America to Capital One 360. I rarely use the account as is (it’s mostly used for convenience and in case of emergency) and I don’t want it to become my main account because it’s less convenient.

I’m Closing My Account

I’ve been taking advantage of Bank of America’s free services for years now. I won’t be able to take advantage anymore, and since I don’t want to jump through hoops, I’m going to be closing my account soon. In their letter, they said I would be given a 2 month grace period, but I plan on closing it well before I might hit the deadline.

Bank of America, it’s been a good run, but if you can’t match the online banks, more like me will be leaving.

Update: After seeing my article, Bank of America reached out to me, ultimately keeping the account free for another 12 months. That doesn’t change anything for me and I still plan on closing the account.