- You may want to switch banks when you move if your current bank doesn’t have nearby branches.
- Choose an institution with branches and ATMs in your area that has all the banking products you want.
- You’ll need to switch autopay and direct deposit information to your new accounts, then close old accounts.
- See Insider’s picks for the best national banks »
When you move to a new city, you may realize your bank doesn’t have any local branches. So should you switch to a new institution?
Changing bank accounts when you move can be done in a few simple steps. It does take time and energy, though, so first you should decide whether it’s worth the effort.
Think about nearby branches and ATMs
Maybe your current bank doesn’t have any branches or ATMs in your new area. If you walk into a branch or withdraw money from an ATM often, you may want to switch banks.
But ask yourself whether you really use branches or ATMs. Can you deposit checks with the bank’s mobile app? Do you never have to deposit cash? Do you rarely visit an ATM? Then you might not need to switch banks, even if there isn’t a location nearby.
Do you plan on moving again?
Does your job cause you to move every couple years? Or maybe you’re moving now but know you’ll be packing up again in a year or two. In this case, it might not be worth the time and effort to change banks if you know you’ll have to do it all again soon.
If you do plan to move again in the near future, you may still decide to switch banks. But you’ll probably want to choose either a bank that has branches in multiple parts of the US — think Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and others — or an online bank. Most online institutions let you open accounts from around the country.
Do you like your bank?
When it comes down to it, do you like your bank? Maybe you’re already fed up with monthly fees or bad customer service, and moving is the last straw. If that’s the case, switching could be worth the effort.
Choose a new bank
If you’re choosing a brick-and-mortar bank, find out which institutions have branches near your home or office. Regardless of whether you’re switching to an in-person or online bank, make sure there are nearby ATMs if you need them.
You’ll also want to research a bank’s fees. You may want to find a company that doesn’t charge overdraft or foreign transaction fees, for example. If it charges monthly services fees, see if you qualify to waive them.
Make sure the bank offers all the products you’re interested in. Most banks have checking and savings accounts, but do you want to open an IRA? Maybe you want to get a mortgage with the same institution you use for personal banking.
Convenience, fees, and products can help you choose the best bank in your new city.
Open new bank accounts
Go to your new bank (or to its website) to open accounts. You’ll need a government-issued ID, social security number, and proof of address. You may also need an initial deposit for each account, depending on the bank.
Update autopay information
Have you linked any bill payments to your bank account so it automatically withdraws each month? Be sure to set up these payments to come out of your new account. If a company tries to take out money from an account that doesn’t exist anymore, your bill will go unpaid, which could cause problems and hurt your credit score.
Update direct deposit information
If your paychecks go straight to your bank account with direct deposit, be sure to tell your employer you have a new bank account. This way, you’ll receive your direct deposits on time without any hassle.
Close your old bank accounts
Now it’s time to move the money from your old bank to your new accounts. To do so, you’ll want to close your old accounts.
Either visit your old bank before you move or call to tell a representative you want to close your accounts. You may choose to receive cash (if you’re visiting a branch in person), or the bank will mail you a check when the account is closed. You probably want to request a written document stating that your accounts are closed, just in case you need it for future reference.
Once you have the cash or check, deposit it into your accounts at the new bank.
You don’t always need to change banks when you move. But if you decide to, try to make the switch as quickly as possible to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Laura Grace Tarpley is an editor at Personal Finance Insider, covering mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. She is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF). Over her four years of covering personal finance, she has written extensively about ways to save, invest, and navigate loans.