Changing your bank can be a major hassle — something that’s rarely worth doing without a very good reason. There are some people who seem to flit from bank to bank, usually in search of elusive high interest rates on savings accounts. But most of us wind up sticking with our banks indefinitely, and that’s not always a good thing.
There are a few situations when making a change is sensible, if not absolutely necessary. At the most basic, if there’s a problem with your bank that is not handled in a way that is satisfactory, take your business elsewhere. Beyond that, there are a few situations that point to changing banks beyond simple problems. Here are a few to consider:
- Convenience: If your bank is not convenient, it actually makes sense to change banks. Convenience can vary from not needing to drive out of your way to finding a bank that caters to the type of services you actually need. If you need both a business checking account and a savings account, choose a bank that offers both. If you rarely see a teller but you rely on ATMs, finding a bank that doesn’t charge fees for using them is crucial. The fact of the matter is that we can get stuck in a routine with a bank that really isn’t right for our needs, which can wind up costing us time and money. Being loyal to a bank is all well and good, but not when it costs you more than it benefits you.
- Trust: When you hand your money over to a bank, you have to be able to trust the company managing those funds for you. If — for any reason — you don’t feel that you can trust your bank, it’s time to take your business elsewhere. It honestly doesn’t matter if it seems like the bank should be trustworthy. You want to be able to sleep comfortably at night, and it can mean paying a little more for the privilege of banking with a particular institution. Sometimes, it’s the local branch, or even a particular employee that breaks your trust. The reason doesn’t matter. If you aren’t comfortable, then take your money and run.
- Stability: These days, the bank that you open your account with could have a very different name on the door every year or so. It can be disconcerting, but it isn’t necessarily a reason to change banks. On the other hand, we’ve lately seen some banks wind up in major trouble. As long as your bank is insured by the FDIC, you don’t have anything worry about financially if something dire happens — but if you can avoid such situations, so much the better. If there’s news that your bank isn’t the most stable out there, considering a move is a good idea. There can be some limitations, of course. If a bank is in real trouble, it may close its doors to avoid a run on the bank. If you check the news about your bank occasionally though, you may be able to move your account before things become drastic.
Don’t keep changing banks all the time, but don’t procrastinate if you already know your bank isn’t right for you either.
When was the last time you switched banks? How was your experience?