Sometimes we stay at the same bank because we’ve been there our entire lives. Sometimes we stay because we think it would be too big of a hassle to leave. As a (hopefully) retired Bank Hopper, I can honestly say, it’s not as burdensome as you might think.
Of course, if you are happy, there is no reason to switch. However, if you are unhappy with your bank, there is absolutely no reason not to switch. So, if you’re wanting to switch banks or if you’re just thinking about switching banks, for whatever reason, you have come to the right place! ^_^
The Lowest Common Denominator
Before you do anything else, you can narrow the search field right away just by focusing on what you absolutely need to have from your bank. For example, for myself, I needed a bank that didn’t make me keep money in my checking or make me have a certain number of debit card transactions a month to be free. I also didn’t need the direct deposit caveat, because I currently don’t have that. Furthermore, I needed mobile deposit. I hate going to the bank. At the same time, I want the option to go into the bank in case I need to. And I also want the option to use the ATM for deposits, as well, though I do 99% of my banking online.
You might think, this being 2016, that all banks surely have mobile deposit by now. This is not the case. Many local banks, especially, are still lagging behind as far as technology goes. Some banks have totally free account options, but will disable mobile deposit for those accounts. Personally, I find this horribly stupid on the bank’s part. Research shows that mobile and ATM deposits save the banks a lot of money. If they’re going to take something away, it makes sense to take away things like paper statements and check writing – things that cost them more money to process, not things that cost them less.
For me, it’s also not enough to have a lot of mobile rich features – these features also need to work.
My Official List (of what I wanted from my bank)
-no balance required in checking
-free mobile deposit
-check card I like
-good customer service
-daily purchase limit $2500+
Believe it or not, not every bank does ATM deposits. One of the times I called around, I didn’t even ask if they did, I only asked what the cut-off times were because, come on, ATM deposits are not difficult. They won’t even allow it at the ATMs attached to their building.
The bank I ended up going with this last time I switched didn’t have Touch ID when I signed on. Fortunately, that wasn’t a deal breaker, and more fortunately, they ended up adding the feature about 10 days later! I had faith they would add it, so it was exciting to see it so soon.
Things that were a deal breaker were wonky tech, requiring a specific balance in the checking account (because it messes with how I like to manage my money), and a daily purchase limit under $2500. I just know how much my next computer is going to cost, and I couldn’t deal with US Bank’s $1000 limit. That’s just ridiculous.
It’s kind of amazing that I ended up with everything on my Wish List after all the bouncing around that I’ve done. It might sound silly to some people to care so much what my check card looks like, but I do. One of the reasons I left Suntrust was over the design on their check cards – recently they gave them a face lift, and they are much better now. But the main reason I left them was over the spastic tech and how much money I had to keep in the bank to keep the account free. It didn’t feel flexible enough, but there are some things about them that I like better than my current bank, namely the length of time I have to make an ATM or Mobile Deposit – the cut off times are much later.
And there is something I really like about most of the banks I’ve been with. US Bank clears $200 immediately on their mobile deposits. Suntrust has a beautiful mobile interface, the locations are super convenient, and the people are really nice. Bank of America has great tech features and a rewards program on the debit card (though it wasn’t super useful to me, it was nice to have). The tiny local bank had no minimum balance requirements on anything. I could zero the account out and it would stay open as long I put money back in there within two weeks. They also allowed me to customize my debit card with any picture I wanted. As did Regions, and that bank was also convenient.
When it comes down to it, none of those other banks had everything I wanted. US Bank missed the mark on purchase limits and a custom card that I would like. They also charge for mobile deposits – which honestly isn’t a big deal, but I rather not. Suntrust had wonky tech, no custom card options at all, and I had to keep money in my checking or keep more in the bank than I would like to be forced to keep in the bank. Regions required a minimum balance in checking and they charge for mobile deposits as well. Bank of America had two account options and I wasn’t comfortable with either of them. And the tiny bank, the tech was the biggest issue. It worked, but it was way behind other banks and it was super ugly.
As far as changing your automatic payments and deposits over and things of that nature, if you make a list a beforehand, the process goes by a lot faster, and a lot of banks will help you out with this as well. It usually took me about five to ten minutes to change everything over. I got really good at it. (haha) 🙂
It all comes down to what you must have and what you can live without. With all the choices available to us these days, there is no reason to stay where you’re not happy. You really can find a great fit for you and your hard earned dineros.