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How to switch checking accounts in 6 steps so it’s not a hassle

Switching to a new checking account doesn’t have to be a pain.

Switching checking accounts isn’t what we’d call a fun activity, especially if your old account was tied to your everyday spending, bills and direct deposit. But luck favors the prepared: Here’s a step-by-step guide to make sure you don’t miss anything when switching to a new checking account.

1. Open the new account

Opening a checking account usually isn’t too much trouble — most checking accounts can be opened online. You’ll need basic information such as your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number or ITIN, government-issued ID and contact information.

Opening a new checking account may require an opening deposit, often around $20 to $100, but plenty of checking accounts are fee-free. There’s also no limit to how many checking accounts you can have, so opening a new one while you still have your old one isn’t a thing to worry about.

2. List your deposits and automatic withdrawals

This step requires the most work. Go through your checking account’s transaction history and make a list of bills, payments and deposits you need to move over. Review at least two months of transaction history so you don’t miss anything. Typical things to look out for include:

  • Direct deposits from employer or government benefits
  • Automatic payments, such as rent or utilities
  • Monthly subscription services, such as Netflix or gym memberships
  • Automatic loan payments

3. Transfer your funds to the new checking account

Now, it’s time to move your money over. You’ve got a few options to move those funds, including:

  • Wire transfers
  • ACH transfers
  • Check or cash deposit

Large transactions may take a few days to process, with ACH and wire transfers usually taking around three business days to clear.

And consider leaving some money in your old checking account. You may have upcoming or pending transactions that haven’t gone through yet. Leaving a bit of cash to cover those transactions will help avoid overdraft fees while switching over.

4. Update direct deposit and autopayments

With the new checking account open and ready, it’s time to notify your employers and change your payment method to the new checking account.

  • Update direct deposit. If you’re employed, you typically just need to contact your employer and ask them to send your payroll to your new account. Normally, you’ll just need to fill out another direct deposit form and provide the details about your new checking account.
  • Update payment methods. Go through your list of subscription services, automatic bill payments and any other bills, and change your primary payment method to your new checking account.

5. Keep an eye on both accounts

At this point, you’d expect that you can close the old checking account, right? But don’t be too hasty — sometimes things slip through the cracks. For at least a few weeks, keep an eye on both the new and old checking accounts to make sure things are going smoothly.

As you cross-reference your new and old checking accounts, verify that:

  • Your direct deposits are going to the new account
  • Payments are going through as planned
  • You didn’t miss any other monthly transactions in your old checking account
  • There aren’t any duplicate payments

6. Close the old account

If all is well after a few weeks, and you haven’t noticed any new transactions on your old checking account and payments are all clearing, you can now move over any leftover funds and close your old checking account. Some checking accounts charge account closure fees, but these fees are more common with accounts if you close them soon after opening.

With the old checking account closed, destroy any debit cards or checks once tied to the account to prevent unauthorized use (and so you don’t use them by mistake).

And that’s it!

The most time-consuming parts of switching checking accounts are going through your old checking account’s transaction history and switching payments and direct deposits over. But you don’t have to rush. You can keep both checking accounts open for a while to ensure you didn’t miss anything to minimize day-to-day disruptions.

About the Author

Bethany Hickey is a personal finance writer at Finder, specializing in banking, lending, insurance, and crypto. Bethany’s expertise in personal finance has garnered recognition from esteemed media outlets, such as Nasdaq, MSN, Yahoo Finance and AOL. Her articles offer practical financial strategies to Americans, empowering them to make decisions that meet their financial goals. Her past work includes articles on generational spending and saving habits, lending, budgeting and managing debt. Before joining Finder, she was a content manager where she wrote hundreds of articles and news pieces on auto financing and credit repair for CarsDirect, Auto Credit Express and The Car Connection, among others. Bethany holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan-Flint, and was poetry editor for the university’s Qua Literary and Fine Arts Magazine.

This article originally appeared on Finder.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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