With more than 10,000 financial institutions in the United States, you have a lot of options when it comes to managing your money.
But having so many choices can be overwhelming and time-consuming. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) offers tools and resources to help you make educated decisions about your finances and your banking options.
Read on for additional information on opening and/or changing banks or exploring other accounts at your current bank.
Find a Secure Bank Account
As you venture out on your journey to find a new bank, or switch bank accounts, make sure to do your homework and comparison shop. The FDIC offers a cheat sheet featuring some questions you should ponder when making a change. Here are some:
- Is it insured by the FDIC?
- Does the bank offer the services you are looking for?
- If needed, do you have convenient access to a local bank branch or ATM?
- Does the bank offer person to person service 24 hours a day - through branch locations or a client call center? And can the bank assist you in your preferred language?
New checking or savings account
- What are the requirements for opening a new account?
- Are you charged fees on your account(s)? If so, are there ways to avoid paying the monthly fees, or the option of a no monthly fees Account?
- Do you need to keep a minimum monthly balance?
- Are there overdraft fees on checking accounts? If so, can you link to a savings account to cover overdraft costs?
- Are online and mobile banking included with the checking account at no additional cost?
- Does the bank offer an ATM network that is fee free?
Make a List of All Automatic Payments, Withdrawals and Direct Deposits
Once you’ve done your research and landed on a new bank or a new account, you can now make the switch. Follow these simple steps to ensure your money is routed to and from the proper accounts:
- Make a list of all automatic payment withdrawals and direct deposits made to your old account.
- Visit the websites for each company or service where you’ve enrolled in automatic payments and change the account information. Please note: You may need to leave some money in your old account in case you do not make the change before the end of the billing cycle.
- Fill out the appropriate forms with your employer to change your direct deposit information.
- Cancel any recurring bill pay service or transfers between your account and any other linked accounts. Once you establish your new account, you will set up bill pay and the recurring transfers.
Open a New Bank Account
Many banks will allow you to open a new account online. Or, you have the option to visit one of their local branches the banker will guide you through opening a new account and closing your exiting account.
Although each institution has different policies, opening a new account generally requires:
- A valid, government-issued photo ID (driver license, passport or state ID card)
- Personal information for all signers, may include address, phone number, date of birth, social security number or taxpayer identification number.
- An opening deposit (varies by financial institution)
If you are under 18, you will need a co-owner (parent or legal guardian) to sign all legal documents with the bank.
Close Your Old Bank Account
After you have confirmed that all of your automatic withdrawals and direct deposits are going to or from your new account(s), you are ready to close out your old account(s).
Contact your financial institution and ask to close your account(s). They will assist you with the process. Once the account is closed, ask for a written statement showing that the account is closed. If closing a checking account, shred your leftover paper checks and debit card.
If you have a bank app on your phone, sign out of it and delete the app. Also, make sure to turn off any alerts you receive from your old bank.
WaFd Bank's Account Options and Easy Switch Kit
Changing to a new bank that fits your needs and lifestyle may be easier than you think. Plus, it may result in extra money in your bank account if you find options with reduced (or no) fees like a *Free Checking Account.
Open Bank Account Online
- Open a WaFd Bank checking account online or at the branch nearest you.
- Use our Switch Organizer to list all your automatic deposits and transactions.
- Switch your direct deposits and automatic withdrawals by sending out our Easy Switch Form.
- Close your old checking account using our Account Closure Request Form.
You deserve a best bank. Newsweek has awarded WaFd best bank.
*Free Checking Account requires twenty-five dollars, eStatement registration and direct deposit to open. Overdraft and return item fees may apply.
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