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The Painless Guide to Switching Checking Accounts

The thought of trying to move your money and automatically scheduled bill payments from one checking account to another is often enough to prevent people from changing checking accounts. It may be easier to just stick with what you've got, but if you want to maximize your earnings or benefit from features offered through another banking institution, you'll have to be willing to do a little legwork to switch your money and any automatically scheduled payments from one checking account to another. While it may seem overwhelming at first, you can just follow this guide for virtually painless switching of checking accounts - and you'll be set up in no time!

Step 1: Review The Previous Month's Statement for Automatic Payments

If you have online banking with your current checking account, log in and view last months transactions. If you don't have online banking set up, get out your paper statement for the last month. Make a list of any payments that are automatically deducted from your checking account (meaning you do not physically write and send a check or initiate the online payment yourself).

Make another list of any items that you regularly initiate an online payment for – these are transactions that don't occur automatically, but you don't write checks for them either. You'll need to update your payment information in the online accounts of these creditors in order to continue making your payments through this method.

Step 2: Direct Deposits and Automatic Savings Transfers

Make another list of all income sources that are directly deposited into your checking account. Typically this would be your payroll direct deposit from your employer; but may also include child support or other direct deposit transactions.

If you have set up an automatic savings plan through your checking account, you will want to write down the details as well, so you remember to cancel the automatic transfer from checking to savings and to set it up again with your new checking account.

Step 3: Open the New Checking Account

Open your new checking account with a small deposit to get it set up if your funds are limited; if you have access to a sizable amount of money you can make a larger deposit and immediately start setting up your automatic bill payments again through this new account.

Order your checks if you use physical checks, and take note of the routing and account numbers for your new account. You will need this information to start transferring your automatic payments, direct deposits and automatic savings transfers.

Step 4: Cancel Automatic Payments and Savings Transfers

From the lists you've created, contact each of the creditors who receive their payment automatically through your old checking account. If you don't have a lot of money in the newly opened account, simply cancel the automatic payment and inform them you will be mailing your next payment manually. If you were able to open your checking account with a good amount of money, you can just switch the payment details from your old checking account to your new checking account without interrupting the automatic payment plan service, and avoid having to mail a check manually.

If you have an automatic savings transfer, you can choose to temporarily stop it while you are setting up the new checking account or again, if you have enough money in the new account already simply switch the details to the new account and resume making your automatic savings transfers through the new account immediately.

Step 5: Change Payroll Direct Deposit

Once you are sure there are no more automatic payments and savings transfers coming out of your old checking account, you can switch the payroll direct deposit (and any other sources of income that gets directly deposited) into your new checking account. Sometimes this takes one to two weeks to make the change, depending on the employer and the payroll department.

Step 6: Set Up Automatic Bill Payments and Savings Transfers

As soon as you see your first payroll direct deposit going into the new checking account, you can refer back to your list and re-set up the automatic bill payments again if you weren't able to do that at the same time as opening the checking account.

You will also be able to automatically transfer your money into your savings account once you set it up to withdraw from the new checking account.

If you had creditors and expenses that you would log into the website and initiate a payment, now is a good time to log into each of your accounts and update the payment method section of your profile. This will tell the account where to pull the money from – and you'll be able to specify your new checking account details for making payments here on out.

Step 7: Close the Old Checking Account, Enjoy the New One

After you've changed any automatically made transactions through the old checking account, verify that any outstanding checks or payments you've initiated have all cleared. As long as all transactions have posted to the account, at this time you should be able to safely close your old checking account and begin using your new checking account exclusively.

Fed Up with WF
Fed Up with WF   |     |   Comment #1
Any way you cut it, it is still a PITA!
Its Me :)
Its Me :)   |     |   Comment #2
Yup, its why I don't bother closing the one account left at WF, a long time ago I set up my direct deposits at this bank, its been taken over 3 times now, last time was Wachovia, this time it was WF, I don't need to run around changing just that one checking account, I just keep enough in it for the bills. .All else I move every so often to other places.

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