With all the talk about big banks deciding to hike fees, I decided to write again about switching to a Credit Union. Now there are definitely some legitimate concerns switching over accounts from one financial institution to another. Direct deposits, automatic bill payments and other time savers have to be switched over, and that can be time consuming. Switching over to a different financial institution could be scary to some people, but I find that it is a necessity in many cases these days. Nobody likes excess fees, and if you're a part of a big bank, it should be that time where you say goodbye and head for greener pastures. CNN Money posted a great article on how to fire your bank. Here are a list of some of them that I found were useful ideas.
If you're used to using your big bank, go and open an account at a credit union and slowly change over. It may be an intimidating and seemingly large task moving all your money from one place to another. Some credit unions may have you wait a week or two before they can send you a debit card, so go and open up a savings and checking account (free4ME is a good one) and wait until you get your card before moving all your funds over. That way, you won't be caught in limbo when you initially start off. It will also give you the opportunity to make sure you understand the ins and outs of your new financial institution (hopefully a credit union!).
Make Lists of Your Payments
Make sure you know what bill payments are taken out automatically each month so you can set them up in your new account. This will ensure you don't have any missed payments or late fees when the transition is complete. Setting up direct bill payments is not generally that difficult and your credit union should be able to steer you in the right direction of how to set everything up. My credit union wrote down my routing number and both my account numbers and laminated a card for me so I can set up bill payments online whenever I need to!
Don't be Afraid
This is actually not part of the article, but it is still very important. I had a discussion with a friend a few months ago about changing his account to a free4ME checking account. One of his biggest concerns was that he felt nervous what his bank would say if he left. Remember, it's your money and you can do what you want with it. It may seem like an intimidating thing to do, but don't let them worry you. At the end of the day, most likely, you will be talking to a teller and not the actual CEO of your bank. Your teller may say something like, "You'll be back," or "We'll miss you," but remember this, you'll love your new life with a Credit Union. How can you not like accounts with no fees and lower interest rates?
So there you have it. Those are some ways to help fire your bank and become a member of a credit union. People nationwide are switching over everyday! Become part of the movement. A group on Facebook is actually taking the initiative and asking people to transfer their funds on November 5th. They are calling it Bank Transfer Day. Check it out!
What are some tips you have for firing your bank?