Should I Switch Banks When Moving?

December 17, 2019 · 6 minute read

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Should I Switch Banks When Moving?

When you’re moving, you probably have a pretty long checklist. It might include donating belongings you no longer use to avoid transporting them, transferring schools and health records for your children to new schools and doctors, scheduling to have your utilities shut off at the old place and then turned on at the new one, and … well, it’s a long list.

Should you also switch your bank?

It depends. This post will walk you through when you may want to change your financial institution and when it may make sense to stick with your current one.

You may also want to wait until after you move before deciding to switch—and, if it’s a “yes,” before choosing your new bank—so you can get settled in first.

But how do you efficiently switch? What about online-only banks? What’s the difference between online banking and online-only banking?

Keeping Your Current Bank

If you love your current bank, and it’ll still be convenient to use post-move—and it allows you to get the most out of your money—then it could be a good idea to stick with your current account. That said, if your account is at a traditional bank, you might want to consider the pros and cons of online-only banking, which we’ll discuss later.

Making the Switch

If you’re unhappy with the financial institution you currently have, then your move may be the impetus for finding one that better suits your needs. Perhaps, as just one example, the bank you have charges a lot of fees.

It’s possible that you’re not necessarily unhappy with your bank, but you’re not all that happy, either. Again, your upcoming move could provide the momentum you need to find something that fits your lifestyle and needs.

As another example, you may decide to switch banks if the one you’ve been using doesn’t have a branch in your new hometown.

Overall, it can make sense to switch banks to make a fresh start, to create a more convenient situation for yourself, and/or to find a financial institution that helps your money to work harder for you.

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Exploring a New Bank

If you’re making the switch—or considering the idea—there’s likely a bank out there that fits your needs. Checking out multiple banks? Consider making a comparison chart to ensure you’re getting the most for your money. Overwhelmed by all the jargon and marketing? Here are some specific questions to ask.

Issues to explore include:

•   Fees: Banks can charge monthly service fees, yearly maintenance fees, overdraft protection fees, ATM charges, fees when your balance goes below a certain amount, and more. Reading the terms and conditions, and estimating how much the fees might cut into your budget and financial growth could prove helpful.

•   Interest rates: Many savings accounts today have very low interest rates, while others—especially online-only banking choices—can offer more attractive options. If you find a better interest rate, paying attention to whether you’ll need to maintain a certain balance can help you enjoy the higher rate.

•   Location: How often do you visit a branch? Use an ATM? If you like to visit a branch regularly, then discovering which banks are near you may be one of the deciding factors. Does it have a fee-free debit card for you to use?

•   Digital banking: What options are available for you to use at each bank? How easy is each app to use? Can you make deposits with your smartphone? Can you link your accounts with other banks? Consider reading reviews of apps that interest you to hear other people’s experiences.

•   Investment opportunities: If you’re interested in investing, you might want to consider financial institutions that provide that option. Having all your accounts in one place could add convenience to your life.

As you make your comparison chart, reading the fine print, including whether or not a bank is FDIC-insured, could prove essential. That federal insurance is important to protect your money.

Switching Banks When Moving

Some steps to take when switching banks:

•   Opening the new account but don’t close the old one yet.

•   Making a list of direct deposits going into your account. Do you need to talk to your employer about rerouting paychecks to the new account? Are there any other deposits coming in? Switch those.

•   Listing all automatic payments coming out of that account. Log in to each account to change your payment information. If there are any that you can’t switch to your new account quite yet, make sure to manually make payments so you don’t fall behind.

•   Waiting for any pending transactions to clear your old bank. Give yourself enough time to ensure all has cleared.

•   Closing your old bank account.

•   Transferring remaining funds to your new account.

Note that, if the old bank charges monthly service fees, you’ll need to keep enough in the account to cover those charges while transactions are clearing. Otherwise, the service charge may go through first, possibly causing a check to bounce.

Pros and Cons of Online-Only Banking

First, what we’re talking about here is online-only banking. Many traditional banks and credit unions offer mobile services, such as looking up balances online or depositing checks and transferring funds. They offer online supplements to services provided in their physical branches.

With online-only banking, though, there is no physical branch. Some people don’t feel comfortable with that (especially since there may not be live assistance from a personal banker) but many others appreciate the benefits.

For instance, with no brick-and-mortar locations, overhead costs are lower, meaning the institution may be able to offer higher interest rates on savings accounts, and other perks.

Some online-only banks will limit how many monthly transactions you can make. Some require minimum balances, like traditional financial institutions often do.

Online-only banking can be quite convenient, with services available 24/7/365, which can be especially ideal for busy people and for those who work odd hours.

Many online-only banks provide ATM services for free or refund ATM fees up to a certain amount each month.

Here’s another benefit to online-only banking. Once you have this type of account, switching banks when moving can be taken off your lengthy to-do list because you can bank wherever you are with your smartphone.

Some online-only financial institutions offer savings accounts that are attractive but don’t offer checking accounts. If so, note that you may be able to take advantage of high-interest savings options at online banks and get a checking account at a traditional bank. You don’t have to keep all of your money in the same institution.

Or, you might consider SoFi Checking and Savings®, a hybrid account that combines the best of savings and checking, all in one.

SoFi Checking and Savings

SoFi Checking and Savings is a checking and savings account where you can spend and save, earning you interest up to 4.50% APY (annual percentage yield) on all your cash (subject to change), allowing you to get even more bang for your buck.

For fun, here is just a partial list of the fees we DON’T charge:

•   $0 minimum account fees

•   $0 overdraft fees (compared to an average of $38 per transaction)

•   $0 ATM fees. Use any ATM worldwide within the Allpoint® Network and you won’t get charged a fee.

•   $0 no account opening fees

•   $0 bill pay fees

•   $0 mobile check deposit fees

•   $0 return item fees

SoFi Checking and Savings holders also get access to exclusive member benefits and much more, all at no additional cost.

Intrigued? Learn about SoFi Checking and Savings.

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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.50% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.50% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.50% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 8/9/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at


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