While we all know the benefits of shopping around for better deals on our everyday living expenses like utilities and phone and internet packages, there’s a big one that is often overlooked – our bank!
In fact, many of us are likely to have been with our current bank longer than we can remember. For some, the thought of changing banks is daunting, as in the past switching accounts has been notoriously difficult. But with so many banks offering new arrangements with a big reduction in fees, it’s definitely worth a second thought.
So if it’s time for you to switch banks, we’ve put together a guide to simplify the process and help you score yourself a better deal.
1. Do your homework
Before making any commitments, it’s important that you take your time to do your own research on which bank is best for you.
Keep an eye out for banks offering:
No monthly fees
No ATM withdrawal fees
No EFTPOS fees
Minimal penalty fees, should a direct debit experience insufficient funds
2. Open your new account
Before you can close your current account, your new account needs to be set up in your name and fully operational. To do this, most banks will require you to provide 100 points of identification, and you’ll need to complete and submit the appropriate forms for that bank.
3. Transfer your direct credits and debits
At this stage, you have two options. The first is to transfer all of your direct debits and credits manually. This can be tedious, and depending on how many you have, quite time-consuming.
The second option to have your new bank request your banking details from the last 13 months from your current bank and automatically transfer your direct credits and debits. While it seems incredibly convenient, it’s best to err on the side of caution with this, as there seems to be no regulation around the transfers.
If you opt to do the automatic transfer, make sure you double check important automated payments. It’s also a good idea to speak to your employer directly when it comes to redirecting your salary.
4. Farewell your old bank
Once your new account is up and running and all of your direct credits and debits along with your savings have been transferred, that’s it! But before you close your bank, it can be a good idea to leave a small amount there for a short while (depending on your situation with regards to bank fees) just in case there are any last direct debits you might have missed, and to ensure that there’s no funds going in or coming out. Once you’re confident that you’re in the clear, it’s time to officially close your account. You might have to visit your local branch in person for this, but then you’re done!
For more tips on how to save yourself some extra cash, call 1300 880 325 to arrange a chat with one of Rising Tide’s friendly financial advisers.