Changing Banks the Easy Way

changing banksChanging banks is actually much easier than it seems. I wrote last week about ways we go about wasting money and bank fees were a prominent no-no on that list. Certain banks exist solely to torment you with fees and awful customer service – or at least that is what it feels like.

 Here are a few common questions people have when considering moving on down the road to an institution with a heart – and real customer service:

 1. Is my bank bad? Answer: Most likely. And just because you haven’t had any major issues with them YET doesn’t mean you won’t. I liken it to not changing your oil and just crossing your fingers that your car doesn’t break down. It is inevitable that you’ll find yourself on the side of the road with your hood up and the engine smoking at some point. There are many, many internet sites dedicated to the venting of issues with the biggest banks that show no regard for their customers. Take a hint from the frustrated masses and move on.

 2. This is going to take a lot of time, right? Actually, no. That is the reason that most people stick with the ugly status quo though – the stickiness of having your accounts with a big institution. With the advent of online banks you can actually phase out your mean ol’ fee laden heartless depository a little more slowly, but also more surely. You won’t miss a payment if you do online banking and you can freely exchange funds between the two as you get used to your newfound banking freedom. Once you have everything set up at your new place you can finally kick them to the curb for good.

 You’ll still have to switch over your direct deposits and bill payments, but that really doesn’t take very long. Get the form from your HR department at work and fill it out. Don’t let something that trivial that hold you back when you are this close.

 changing banks3. Online banks and credit unions aren’t nearly as convenient, right? This actually used to be true but isn’t anymore. Big banks were incredibly important and we as consumers needed the convenience of a local branch and ATM’s around every corner. Most online banks and credit unions have agreements with major ATM providers these days though and you will have access to fee-free money dispensers around the nation. My bank, Capital One 360 (affiliate link), tells you where all of their free ATM’s are via their smartphone app – and it is pretty hard to be much further than a mile or two away from one. Also, I deposit the occasional check I receive via my smartphone as well. No need to even darken the door of a branch.

Some brokerage companies even offer legit alternatives to the behemoth banks. Charles Schwab is one of the best out there. They offer competitive rates, good service, and even refund ALL of your ATM fees. So go ahead, take out your money on a whim without fear of big bank retribution!

 So we’ve tackled the issues. Yes, your big bank probably stinks. And even though they’ve treated you poorly, if for some reason you have stuck with them, it is time to move – there is a guaranteed breakdown in your future and when it happens you’ll regret letting the stickiness keep you around. Moving to a new bank has never been easier. Take advantage of the online banks and make a smooth transition or take the slightly longer route and find a credit union near you. You’ll also find that the major online banks provide far better service with outstanding convenience.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you, Capital One 360 always offers a free $50 if you’ll make the switch to them. I love free money! Make it happen!

PS: If you aren’t sure why I chose the pictures I did for this post, think Banks. Also, the links to Capital One 360 in this post are affiliate links. That means that I get a referral fee if you decide to do your banking with them. Please know that I don’t recommend anything on this blog that I don’t personally use as stated here. The ads and very occasional link allow me to keep this site running and continue to generate helpful content for you. Thanks for being supportive!

10 Comment responses

  1. Avatar

    For those who aren’t familiar, Capital One 360 is the new branding for ING Direct’s online service. Capital One purchased ING Direct a few years ago. They’re a good resource, but they do require a credit check before you can get started. If this is an obstacle for you (it is for me), then you may want to consider another online bank.

    I was very happy to jump on with TIAA DIrect when they opened up their beta for online checking and savings. The beta is currently closed, but I’m still earning a great (compared to the rest of the market) interest rate on savings.

    It does take a little bit of time to research the banks, but pulling the trigger might take you an hour at most, whether you do it online or in a physical location. There are still good LOCAL banks out there who charge few, if any, fees. My local bank, whom I’ve been with for 18 years, only charges fees if I’m overdrawn. I don’t pay an extra monthly fee for the overdraft protection, my debit/ATM card or any other services, and doesn’t carry a minimum balance requirement or limits on check processing. But, even with this, the ONLY reason I still have an account with them rather than going completely to TIAA Direct or another online bank is the fact that it’s easier for me to make a local deposit or immediately redeem a check/money order for cash than having to wait to mail in a deposit or check to clear. Otherwise TIAA has them beat on almost every level.

    There’s simply no reason to let a bank $5 and $10 dollar you (you can’t say “nickel and dime” because these banks move on much larger scales!) just to hold your money in a convenient place, with no profit for you when they loan out your money to the markets.

    Reply

    • Avatar
      May 06, 2013

      As always Kevin you give some good follow up advice. TIAA Direct is a fabulous company and I remember that they were offering really amazing rates when they had their beta open. Glad you got in.

      There really is no reason to let the big banks continue to fee you. I concur wholeheartedly.

      Reply

  2. Avatar
    May 06, 2013

    You can’t get or deposit coins with an online bank.

    Reply

    • Avatar
      May 06, 2013

      So don’t do it. Go to a Coinstar at your nearest CVS and get Amazon cards or Paypal or something that you can use instead of cash. Sheesh. Does everything have to be perfect? Get creative.

      Reply

    • Avatar
      May 06, 2013

      True Eric. That is one of the hold ups. Always good to have a local bank or credit union on the side for those sorts of transactions. I do almost all of my banking online but still have to hop into my credit union every couple of months.

      Reply

  3. Avatar
    May 09, 2013

    Perfect use of images!

    Reply

  4. Avatar
    May 09, 2013

    Of course we can’t forget the content. Good job with this post!

    Reply

  5. Avatar
    May 09, 2013

    You’re killing me Joel! I work for a mid-sized regional bank and we have the highest customer service scores of any institution around! EVEN the behemoth Credit Union that is more focused on expansion than quality! Oh well, not everyone can see my point, well, I guess I am biased since I work for the bank, I got a credit card with a good limit with a rate of 7.25% ( not intro!)

    Reply

  6. Avatar
    May 09, 2013

    Sorry! I don’t have a problem with the mid-sized regional banks, just the largest ones around the nation that treat people really poorly. I actually bank with a regional bank as well. I do most things with Capital One 360 because I love their customer service and convenience but I still use my other bank as well. And what a great credit card interest rate. Good job!

    Reply

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