How To Move Your Money Safely

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We support reforms to the financial marketplace that protect consumers from unscrupulous banks and lenders.

By Consumers Union on Monday, October 17th, 2011

As Bank of America and other big banks introduce new monthly fees to use your debit card, you may want to consider moving your money to another institution. There are plenty of options still out there. A recent survey found about half of the banks are still offering free checking accounts.

Consumers should shop around for the bank that works best for them. Just because it is a credit union or local bank doesn’t mean it won’t have other fees. When you have found a bank or credit union that fits your needs, use these tips to move your money safely so all of your bills are paid on time and to avoid any extra charges.

Step 1. Open your new account with a small deposit.

Step 2. Make a list of all the automatic payments and deposits that are scheduled to go in and out of your old account each month.

Step 3. If you have direct deposit, ask your employer to reroute your paychecks to your new account. Ask what date the first deposit will occur and use this date to guide you through

Step 4. Once you know what date your direct deposits will transfer, reschedule each automatic payment or debit to come out of your new account. Make sure to ask your new bank or credit union when your new automatic payments will begin from your new account.

Step 5. Leave at least a small amount of cash in your old checking account for at least one more month to ensure that every payment will be covered if you happen to forget something.

Step 6. Once you are sure that all automatic payments and all direct deposits are coming and going from your new account, electronically transfer the final funds from your old account into the new account.

Step 7. Once the transfer clears in your new account, follow the procedures for closing an account at your old financial institution. Make sure to obtain written confirmation that your account is closed.

Here is a helpful checklist to print and follow to help with the process. (PDF)

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