How to switch banks

Switching banks: A how-to guide

There’s no reason to stay with a bank if you’re unhappy with their services. Switching to a new bank can mean you save some money if you find one with smaller fees, higher interest rates and better benefits. It’s all about finding the one that suits your needs. Changing banks can be quite simple if you know how to go about it.

  1. Do your research

When switching banks, there are a few things to keep an eye on. Make sure you’re happy with their rates and fees, check to see whether there’s a minimum balance and also ensure the benefits suit you. Another key tip is checking how accessible their ATM network is because you may as well avoid the withdrawal fees if you can.

Also, remember to research all banks, not just the Big Four. Does the bank give back to the community and provide exceptional customer service to their customers? A mutual bank, such as Beyond Bank, might suit your needs more than the big guys.

Look at all accounts you have with your existing bank. If you only plan to move one account, you may face charges. This is especially true if you have a special package rate. Always read the terms and conditions, for both your existing bank and the new one, so you know what you’re up against.

  1. Transfer everything

Once you’ve found the bank you’re happy with, open your new account and start the transfer process. You can always ask your new bank to help you do this.

This means they will contact your old bank and request a list of direct debits and direct credits going back 13 months. Your new bank can then hand this over to you to decide which direct debits, such as a gym membership or phone bill, or credits, such as your salary, you’d like to move.

If you want the bank to do everything, you can also authorise them to give all payees your new details. Just remember, this record will not show any BPAY payments, pay anyone payments or recurring payments. It also won’t have a record of all those online shopping websites you’ve secured your account against such as PayPal.

If you’d like to complete this process yourself, just request the record from your old bank and contact all relevant parties including your employer, Medicare, Centrelink, private health insurance and memberships. Also, remember to consider all automatic payments you may have set up such as bills.

  1. Close your old account

While you don’t have to close your old account straight away, it is important to eventually do so to avoid any account keeping fees. A good tip is to keep some money in your old account until you’re sure everything has been transferred over. This way, you won’t get hit with a fee if a merchant charges you and there’s no money in there.

It’s best to ask your old bank what is required to close your account. You may be asked to go to the branch in person for security reasons.

When closing your old account, ensure you have transferred all debits, credits and money. It’s also a good idea to print off your pay anyone and BPAY lists so you have a record of those numbers.

Most people will keep doing what they are doing and stay stuck with a bank account they aren’t happy with. But with these three simple steps you can be freed from your old account and set up with a bank that does the right thing by you. Consider opening a Beyond Bank account today.

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