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Time To Switch Banks? Here's How To Do It

Editorial General 29 Sep 2017

By Chris Browne 

While we all know the benefits of shopping around for better deals on our everyday living expenses like utilities and phone and internet packages, there’s a big one that is often overlooked – our bank!

In fact, many of us are likely to have been with our current bank longer than we can remember. For some, the thought of changing banks is daunting, as in the past switching accounts has been notoriously difficult. But with so many banks offering new arrangements with a big reduction in fees, it’s definitely worth a second thought.

So if it’s time for you to switch banks, we’ve put together a guide to simplify the process and help you score yourself a better deal.

  1. Do your homework

Before making any commitments, it’s important that you take your time to do your own research on which bank is best for you. 

Keep an eye out for banks offering:

  • No monthly fees
  • No ATM withdrawal fees
  • No EFTPOS fees
  • Minimal penalty fees, should a direct debit experience insufficient funds
  1. Open your new account

Before you can close your current account, your new account needs to be set up in your name and fully operational. To do this, most banks will require you to provide 100 points of identification, and you’ll need to complete and submit the appropriate forms for that bank.

  1. Transfer your direct credits and debits

At this stage, you have two options. The first is to transfer all of your direct debits and credits manually. This can be tedious, and depending on how many you have, quite time consuming.

The second option to have your new bank request your banking details from the last 13 months from your current bank and automatically transfer your direct credits and debits. While it seems incredibly convenient, it’s best to err on the side of caution with this, as there seems to be no regulation around the transfers.

If you opt to do the automatic transfer, make sure you double check important automated payments. It’s also a good idea to speak to your employer directly when it comes to redirecting your salary.

  1. Farewell your old bank

Once your new account is up and running and all of your direct credits and debits along with your savings have been transferred, that’s it! But before you close your bank, it can be a good idea to leave a small amount there for a short while (depending on your situations with regards to bank fees) just in case there are any last direct debits you might have missed, and to ensure that there’s no funds going in or coming out. Once you’re confident that you’re in the clear, it’s time to officially close your account. You might have to visit your local branch in person for this, but then you’re done!

Chris Browne is founder and MD of Rising Tide in Melbourne's CBD. He has appeared in this capacity in various media including The Project, The Today Show and can also be heard regularly on ABC radio.

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1 comments

"My wife and I recently switched our banking to Bank Australia, referencing the Market Forces data to make an ethical banking choice: https://www.marketforces.org.au/info/compare-bank-table/ Between us, we had 14 bank accounts with CBA, Westpac, Ubank (NAB) and ING. Ridiculous as that may seem, it is understandable, given two single people coming together, and given the fact that you can OPEN a new bank account in minutes, online. But CLOSING them? Well, that's another story. At minimum, you need to call during business hours and stay on hold, etc to action a closure, but some accounts required us physically going to the branch to close the account. And if you have a joint bank account, you both need to be on the phone at the same time. Quite difficult to action during business hours. From now on, I will think carefully whether I need another bank account as a way to organise finances, before I jump online and open one!! Great article Chris!"

Nicola 15:32 on 29 Sep 17

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