Whether it is reasonable to change a bank? 9 points to consider
September 3, 2015
There is no doubt that building long-term relationships with a bank, credit union or any other financial institution brings many advantages to a customer like getting bonuses in a form of reduced rates and fees and positive influence on a credit score. But more and more people face the necessity to choose another bank for building the relationships. Some of them are not pleased with refinancing terms and cost while others look for better customer service. Banks and other financial service providers intruded our lives several centuries ago and today there is no even a single person who can pull through the reality of life without dealing with banks, bank account abroad, credit unions, insurers and so on. Fortunately, today people have a chance to choose the most appropriate financial organization among numerous institutions trying to entice as many consumers as possible. So it is easy to find a better financial service provider if you are fed up with an old bank.
What are the Reasons to Change the Bank?
Changing the financial institution called to satisfy your financial needs is a brave step. It is not like changing the brand of a car or the Internet provider. You need to build long-term relationships with a bank in order to get the maximum benefit. Choosing an appropriate institution is an important task requiring much research and analysis. Nevertheless, there are many reasons justifying the decision to break off relations with your current bank.
- Inappropriate customer service
Sometimes it happens that customer-oriented banks change their policies towards profit-making goals. As a result, customer may experience service deterioration resulting in hours’ reduction, lower quality of customer support or unhealthy atmosphere inside the bank branch. Howbeit make sure that your claims are justified and don’t come from your ignorance of the bank’s new products. You may have missed the message from your bank notifying that customer support is provided online or that the new application helping customers with their issues was launched. Just visit the branch of your bank and talk to the responsible person to avoid the unnecessary scurry. Describe all your claims and if you find out that the issue is not solved then don’t hesitate to shop around searching the new financial service provider. When choosing the new bank financial experts advise investigating all options available on the market. It makes sense to create a list of requirements coming out of your needs. Afterwards visit bank branches in your area and don’t forget to investigate services provided by online offshore banking. Here are the most popular requirements for banks’ customer service to pay attention to:
- Number of hours reserved for clients’ personal, telephonic and online consultations
- The speed of respond and reaction to your enquiry
- Friendliness and openness of the bank’s staff
- Amenities such as online banking, ATMs, balance statements, opportunity to make savings, and to conduct money transfers
- Service for small businesses
- Online banking including the ability to manage account online and to have high-speed and qualitative online support
Don’t forget to visit forums and to read bloggers’ articles to find out customers’ feedbacks on a particular financial institution.
- Searching for lower rates
Loan refinance rate may essentially influence amount of saved dollars. Loan refinancing is a complicated process especially when you have diversified outstanding debt; so you may not wish to get involved in such time and labor consuming process with a new bank. And it is quite reasonable at first sight. But staying with high rates provided by you current bank may cost you thousand dollars in a long term while couple of weeks spent on transferring your accounts trigger off the essential debt cost reduction. How to correctly perform the permutation? It doesn’t matter whether you want to get better rates on a mortgage, refinance, or another long-term loan contact the potential provider first. Make sure that another institution is ready to sign an agreement with you and show the approval notice to your current bank. Your bank may offer you the same rate and thus you will achieve the desired goal with minimum effort. If your bank refuses to revise your contract don’t hesitate moving towards the better deal. Remember that result is worth the effort.
- Necessity to have a joint account
Starting a joint account is expedient when people get married, start business, set up a company or just want to have one account for the group of close relatives. This is a good case to start dealing with new financial institution providing better terms for joint accounts and suggesting higher quality and better price for other products. Still your current bank may be appropriate for opening a joint account due to attractive terms and qualitative customer service so it would be reasonable to continue relationships. Discuss all the details with your partner, determine your priorities and pick up the most relevant organization.
- Extremely high fees
All banks charge fees for their services but some of them do it immoderately. There is a number of services provided by conscientious institutions for free while extortionist banks take high fees for them. Remember that no one self-respecting institution will charge you for not having the limit balance on your account, closing the account, statement inquiries, account maintenance. On the other hand such fees are charged by almost all banks and credit unions: fee for opening an account, cash withdrawal fee, fees for some types of money transfers and conversions. Pay attention to the fact that some banks (this is particularly true for consumer loans lenders) may involve you into the contract containing huge amount of hidden fees. There are many facts of trials against predatory bank contracts so you may count on legal protection if being plunged into this business. But it is better to prevent overpayments on fees and to avoid hidden fees by meticulous studying the contract. Visit websites and forums where bank’s clients leave their feedbacks to discover whether the financial institution provides good service at a reasonable price.
- Changing the place of living
You may need to start dealing with a new bank in case you are moving to another city or even country. Your current bank may not cover the chosen area of residence or may not have a brunch there. Note that your bank may provide the function of online banking and the ability to easily keep in touch with the bank via Internet. Hence there is no need to have a bank branch close to your location. Online banking is a good solution for people who are pleased with their financial service providers and don’t want to start with another one when moving to another place. If your bank has poor online performance and doesn’t cover the chosen area with branches and ATMs then you will need to proceed with another bank. But you can have a savings account opened in an old bank if the terms and interest are suitable.
- Small variety of services and amenities
Technology industry provides business sector with numerous solutions which make our financial life easier and more pleasant. If your bank doesn’t update its performance in accordance with ultimate advances in technology then it is clear sign to think of changes. Many banks today have a wide range of services performed online and consumers may have access to them with the help of computers or smartphones. Ability to bank online has many advantages such as time saving, excess paperwork absence, access to account operations from any place around the world where you can connect the Internet, and so on. The list of online features available for bank consumers today includes: online account management, money transfers, deposit check, budgeting tools, bill and credit card payments, application for smartphones. First, it makes sense to investigate your current bank’s website or to contact a manager in order to find out whether your bank provides online functionality. If the services provided by the institution don’t include all the convenient features performed by other banks then it is the right time to let high technologies bring your life to the new level.
- Access to ATMs
If you are used to paying with cash rather than pulling out your payment card then it makes sense to pay attention whether it is comfortable for you to reach the ATM or a bank branch to withdraw the money from your account. Besides paying withdrawal fees devours some part of your finances especially when you are forced to use unaffiliated ATMs charging high fees. So if your bank reduces the number of ATMs, increases withdrawal fees or closes branches in your region it is the right time to look for financial organization providing more loyal fee policy. Note that there are online banks which allow withdrawing cash on their websites for free.
- Perks for being a long-term customer
Maybe you have noticed that your bank provides new customers with benefits which are not available for you. It is quite natural for people to require special treatment in case of long lasting relations. The same situation happens with banks. Organization which takes care of its customers will provide benefits for people using its services during the long haul. If you notice that you are charged the annual maintenance fee while newcomers enjoy the absence of such charge it is time to contact your bank. You may have the fee cancelled if the bank really values you as a customer. If no – go looking for an organization with better customer service and perks for long-term clients. Besides, this is a good opportunity to avail of perks for new clients.
- Having accounts in several banks
It is a popular practice to allocate money on checking accounts provided by different financial institutions. It makes sense while being a part of well-deliberated financial strategy. But such approach appears to be very confusing in case you just experiment with banks. It is much better to choose the one bank suggesting high level of customer service and up-to-date solutions for its clients. Find out whether you can combine all the accounts together under the single financial institution. Sometimes it is worthwhile to open multiple bank accounts online allowing to manage accounts from different banks in the most efficient and easy way. Anyway if you are confused with the number of your bank accounts abroad don’t hesitate to make steps towards simplifying the issue.
Starting with a New Bank
Moving all your finances to a new bank may seem suppressing but don’t let such impression prevent you from the right actions. Once you have conducted a thorough analysis and knowone hundred percent that you are not pleased with your current bank then chose a new one. Don’t be afraid of upcoming switch procedure. Discover these simple steps which will clarify all the process. Automatic operations The first step should be cancelling all the automatic operations which take place on your current account or accounts. It doesn’t matter how you will do it – online or by visiting a branch manager – cancel all automatic payments which are made from your old account. Record all this data to transfer it to the new account. Don’t forget about all automatic money transfers associated with your old bank and operations which are conducted annually, biannually or quarterly. New account Clarify all the details concerning your new account and if there are no issues sign the contract with a new bank. Fulfill all the requirements concerning the minimum deposit. Note that it will take some time for your money to be transferred from the old bank to a new one. Certified check Request your old bank to issue a certified check stating the amount of money left on your account. Thus your funds will be bound for several days unless they are transferred to the new bank and placed on your account. There is an option to request and immediate transfer which will cost you some money. Money transfer This is the step when you have to wait unless your money appears on the new account. Previously your new bank should receive a certified check or an immediate transfer. Automatic payments Install all the important payments which should be timely done to avoid fees for late payments. Set other automatic operations for your convenience. Money transfers Enable the opportunity to receive paychecks from the employer on your new account if needed. Old account Contact the manager of your previous bank so you would know the procedure of closing the account. Prepare all the documents and finish all relationships with the bank. Enteron this step only after making sure that the money is successfully transferred to the new account.
Changing the financial service provider may be confusing and overwhelming but necessary if guarding your personal finance. We are users of the free market and have all rights to choose the most appropriate product or service especially when it comes to operations with money. There is no need to stay with a bank that doesn’t satisfy you as a consumer. Let it improve its service or switch it to the more advantageous competitor.