If you’ve ever tried to change banks or even switch over from one credit card to another, you know it can be complicated. Between pre-authorized deposits and charges to moving balances, the whole thing can feel like a jumbled mess.
I recently wrote a blog post called Combining Bank Accounts: How to Easily Merge Your Finances. While I go into detail about how to combing finances with your partner, I don’t speak much to the specifics of actually moving banks if you’re going that route.
So in today’s post, we’ll talk all about changing banks, whether you’re doing so on your own or with someone else.
I’ve recently gone through this process myself, and found it to be pretty time-consuming. So I’m hopeful that this post will help you get set up faster and more efficiently!
Plus, I’ve created a Changing Banks Printable for you to record your notes as you work through the process. To download yours, simply sign up for my Free Resource Library below. You’ll receive an email with the login details and you can then find the printable in the Personal Finance section.
Let’s jump in.
#1. Take stock of what you have.
Like I mentioned in my post about combining bank accounts, it’s wise to start by getting an understanding of what you’re working with.
I’d suggest taking stock of a few different things:
Any bank accounts or products you’ll be looking to move over.
This may include:
- Chequing accounts
- Savings accounts
- Foreign currency accounts (for example, we’re Canadian residents but I have a USD bank account)
- Registered investment accounts
- Non-registered investment accounts
- Stocks, bonds, ETFs
- Loans or lines of credit
If you’re looking to change credit cards, you may also want to take stock of credit cards.
Any pre-authorized deposits you have set up.
This may include:
- Your regular paycheque deposited by your employer
- Any other regular deposits from other sources of income (e.g. if you run an Etsy shop, Etsy would likely be directly depositing your revenue into your bank account)
- Any other irregular deposits from other sources of income (e.g. cash back from Ebates, your PayPal account, etc.)
The key here is to ensure any future deposits are going to your new bank.
Any pre-authorized payments you have set up.
This may include:
- Any bills you pay regularly that you have set up to be paid automatically (e.g. utilities, cell phone bill, etc.)
- Any expenses you pay irregularly that you have set up to be paid automatically (e.g. your annual tax bill)
This will help you avoid missing payments.
Any other automatic transactions or transfers.
If you’ve set up any other automatic transfers (for example, a continuous savings plan from your chequing account to an investment account), note them too. (You can learn more about this in my post How to Save Money Automatically, On Repeat.)
I’d suggest looking at your bank statements for the last few months to see if there is anything else you’re missing. Repeat this exercise for any accounts you’re looking to move.
#2. Decide what you’d like to migrate or combine.
Once you’ve taken stock of what you have, the next step is to decide what you’d like to migrate and/or combine. In other words, do you want to replicate the same account types at the new bank? Will you move everything over or just some funds? And will you be looking to combine or streamline any accounts?
It’s important to think this through before beginning the switching process.
#3. Choose a bank.
If you haven’t already, choose a bank to move to. This may be your partner’s bank, or just one that is more appealing or convenient than your current bank.
#4. Book an appointment.
When it comes to changing banks, it’s a good idea to book a meeting at the bank you’re switching to. They can help you get set up and by booking it in advance, you can ensure you have enough time to cover things, without feeling rushed.
You can often set this up online, making it really convenient!
In preparation for the appointment, bring your account list from Step #1, including any account numbers or other helpful information the bank needs. Before this meeting, you should also be clear on how you’d like to set things up.
#5. See what your bank can help you move.
Migrating things from one bank to another can be a lot of work and super time-consuming. Ask your new bank what they can do to help streamline things. For example, can then request the investment funds from your old bank so that you don’t have to worry about that step? Or do they have an easy way to move your pre-authorized deposits over? Lean on them and see what they can do to help facilitate the process.
#6. …and migrate everything else on your own.
Looking at your list from step #1, start working through migrating everything else over. This can include things like:
- Transferring balances
- Moving pre-authorized payments from one account/credit card to another
- Giving your employer new account deposit information
- Resetting passwords
- Ordering new cheques if you use them
I’d recommend making a list of everything you need to do and then whittling through a few things each day to make it more manageable. Making a big financial change is no small feat!
I hope those tips help in changing banks. Have you gone through this process before? Do you have any additional tips to share? We’d love to hear them! Sound off in the Comments below.
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