Recently, we’ve seen some pretty solid examples of consumers taking charge and demanding better service — and better prices — from companies. The consumer victories related to Verizon, GoDaddy, Bank of America and others underscore the point that you have the power to get want you want, or take your business elsewhere.
With bank fee hikes in the news, often following on the heels of stories about fat profits for the very same banks complaining that they need to raise revenue, many consumers are switching financial institutions in search of companies that are more in tune with their needs.
Unfortunately, changing banks can be a hassle, especially with all of the automation that goes on now. If you want to switch things up, here is how to make the change with a minimum of fuss:
Figure Out What You Want, and Where You Can Get It
Your first step is to figure out what you want in a financial institution. Prioritize your requirements for what you consider a good banking fit for you. Do you want fee-free banking? Good customer service? The ability to bank online? Decide which factors are most important.
Once you know what you want, shop around and see where your most important needs are met. Online banks, credit unions and smaller, local banks might serve your needs better than banking giants. Call around, and look online for reviews and information. You can move your money to a financial institution that better fits your needs, and costs you less in fees.
Switching Your Accounts
Once you know where you would like to do your banking, open an account. You will need to fund the account, so figure out how you can get the money for funding. In some cases, if you are just using the money as part of your banking shift, you can use some of your emergency fund cash. Just make sure you replenish the account immediately, once everything is switched over.
The difficult part is switching your financial life over to a new institution. In order to ensure that the switch is made as smoothly as possible, list out all of your automatic transactions — and what day of the month they take place on. Make sure you list your direct deposits, automatic bill pay, and other obligations. Know when the transactions take place, and contact the involved parties to find out how soon in advance your request to switch accounts.
Do your best to move your accounts in an orderly manner. Watch to see that everything has been switched, checking it off the list. You will need to make sure that there is enough money in your old account to cover any straggler checks, or bills that are slow to be taken out. Once you can confirm that everything has been switched over, and your automatic transactions are attached to your new account, close your old account.
Don’t forget to confirm your new account with other accounts you might have with third-party payment processors, credit card issuers and other banks. You want to make sure that everything is integrated. This can take some time and effort, but if you are happier with your new financial institution, it’s all worth it.