Fire your bank with the Switch Bank Accounts Checklist

If you’re sitting there thinking, gee whiz, I really hate my bank, then you’re probably not alone. I’m guessing that thousands of people like you just got dinged a dollar in bank fees today. Many pay dearly for the right to access their money. Fun.

A few years ago I got fed up with all the needless fees and finally fired my bank. It took me months, OK years, to muster up the courage to make the switch. Why did it take so long? Well, it’s no secret that moving an account to another bank is a major pain in the arse.

For example: you’ve got to open the new account, add some cash, notify your billers, find your depositors, link your other accounts, find your infrequent transactions, and hope to goodness you don’t miss a pre-authorized payment and incur an overdraft fee. Yikes!

But switching banks can be painless. If you’ve found a better banking deal at a nicer bank, then go ahead and make the switch with help from this handy Switch Bank Accounts Checklist. It’s got a funny name, I know. But I’ve made an American and Canadian version for all my friends who are fed up with fees. Oh, and ask your new bank for a “Switch Kit” to make the move even easier.

Canadian: Switch bank accounts checklist

Ok Canucks, if you’ve had it with the Toronto Dominion Bank (TD Bank), Canada Trust, Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), or Bank of Nova Scotia then it’s time to make your move. Switching to a no-fee or lower fee account at an online bank or a credit union can save you big money over the years.

online banks internet banking can
Download: Switch Bank Accounts Checklist (Canadian)

Here’s how it works:

  • Gather your personal information.
  • Follow the steps in How to break up with your bank
  • List your pre-authorized payments (mortgage, insurance, and bills)
  • List your direct deposits (employer pay, government benefits)
  • Identify your internet banking linked transactions (credit cards, high interest savings accounts, chequing accounts, investment accounts)
  • Check off each item when it’s moved!
  • Fire your old bank

Don’t forget to also switch your pay deposits with your employer by providing a voided cheque. Getting paid is kinda nice.

American: Switch bank accounts checklist

I’ve seen the news. Americans have dealt with a lot of banking turmoil in the past years. So if you’re ready to find a better bank and move away from Bank of America, Chase Bank, US Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, National City Bank, Bank of American Online, or Tyra Banks (kidding), then use this checklist to make your move.

online banks internet banking usa
Download: Switch Bank Accounts Checklist (American)

Here’s how it works:

  • Gather your personal information.
  • Follow the steps in How to break up with your bank
  • List your pre-authorized payments (mortgage, insurance, and bills)
  • List your direct deposits (employer pay, etc.)
  • Identify your internet banking linked transactions (credit cards, high yield savings accounts, checking accounts, investment accounts)
  • Check off each item when it’s moved!
  • Fire your old bank

I hope this checklist helps make firing your old bank easier. There’s no sense in wasting a good mood by complaining about excessive bank fees, poor customer service, or banking delays when there’s a better bank just waiting for you to switch.

Your Two Cents: Have you ever fired a bank? Got any switching bank account tips?

Your two cents:

  1. mapgirl March 15th, 2010

    This is a really great post! I’m surprised no one has done this before. Too many times people forget what payments are automatically deducted and then also end up leaving money in dormant accounts that belong to them.

    You might also tell them how to fire their old bank by letter. The best way to do it is to write your local branch, tell them you are closing the account and to either empty the account with a check to yourself or to transfer the money to another bank account. That way there is no dormant money left hanging out there. (I learned that from a bank manager when I was moving out of state. It was a great piece of advice.)

  2. Greg March 15th, 2010

    I went through this exercise just a few months ago. My favourite bank (Citizens Bank of Canada) decided that it didn’t want to be a bank any more, so I was forced to find a new bank. I went through several months of statements looking for all my preauthorized deposits and payments and created a list and then contacted each one. I kept the old account open for an extra couple of months just to make sure I didn’t miss one (I didn’t) and then I transferred the remainder of the money from my old bank to the new one.

    One additional thing that I did at the same time was transfer all of the automatic bill payments that I could onto my cash back credit card. Why not get a few dollars back while I’m at it?!! (Of course this only works if you pay the card off in full every month).

  3. Tracy March 16th, 2010

    I like collecting Aeroplan points, and after finally signing up for a Visa (with another bank) that awards points, I realized I may have to switch banks in order to pay that Visa online. Lucky for me, I found out today that CIBC is also awarding 10,000 Aeroplan points if you switch your account to them. Then I come across this post today.
    Serendipity. I guess it’s goodbye Royal Bank!

  4. dlm March 17th, 2010

    Greg: How does the automatic bill payment work with cash back credit cards? We have President’s Choice Mastercard but can’t pay bills with it. ??

  5. Greg March 17th, 2010

    dlm: I contacted the companies directly: Hydro, Cable, Gas, etc. I asked if I could change to a preauthorized payment plan using my credit card. Most companies said yes and now they take their monthly payment from my credit card automatically. I check CC statements to confirm that what they collected matches what the bill says to confirm they don’t screw up. I’ve been doing this with some bills for years and haven’t had any issues yet.

    The one thing to remember is when you get a new credit card (or new expiry date) you will have to contact them and give them the updated info. I keep all the bills that I pay this way in a spreadsheet with the contact phone number so it is a pretty simple process to update them all.

  6. Birmingham DUI Lawyer October 18th, 2010

    I’ve fired my bank before. It is such an exhilarating thing to do. My major suggestion would be to open another account first. That way you can start moving direct deposits and automatic bill pay before you cut the cord. I also like to threaten the bank with my leaving first. Even if I have already decided to leave. Sometimes talking with the bank about my concerns have gotten bank fees reversed, or actually fixed my issues. Even when I do end up leaving I got some of my money back first.

  7. Lech Lesiak April 11th, 2011

    I’ve been using Presidents Choice as my main bank for at least ten years. Never had a serious problem. I also have as Royal Bank account for the odd occasion when I have to deal with a teller – e.g. buying Mexican pesos.

    I got tired of being nickel and dimed to death by the fees charged by the chartered banks.

  8. Lucy July 5th, 2011

    I just calculated how much (average) I spend on bank fees in a year $666. Coincidence? I don’t think so!

  9. Member48 July 19th, 2014

    I work for one of the big banks and my prime focus in my job is to save each and every one of my clients the interest charges and day to day banking fees that I can. No bigger money wasters that I know of. The one thing that really ” Got me” with PC tho was that you’d put your $ In and you’d get a hold…move it to savings…move it back to chequnig and they’d hold it again. Made no sense…it’s already guaranteed funds. But really, u need to learn to use the banks to YOUR advantage…don’t let them use you.

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