We all know that if we want the best deals, at the lowest price, it’s good practice to change service providers.
After all, switching between energy companies, or changing who provides your internet can end up netting you annual savings of hundreds of pounds – and that’s got to be a good thing when our eyes are fixed on the bottom line of our household budgets.
But have you considered switching your primary bank account? If you are, here’s 5 things you’ll need to know before making the move.
Have you done all the research?
There are hundreds of options out there, with just as many variables, so just moving from your bank to the one next door might not really be the best choice.
It’ll help if you can identify precisely why you’re looking to switch banks, so that you can narrow down a broad list of potential new banks based on their specialities and offers.
It doesn’t matter whether you want a superior customer service than you currently get or you need to deposit a nest egg for the future, all the information is out there. Hunt it down. Make an informed choice. Don’t just choose the bank with your favourite logo.
Is it easy to switch?
The first thing you’ll want to find out is, how convenient is it to move accounts. Typically, once you’ve opened a new account, your new bank will take care of many of the finer points (just other companies who provide switching services).
However, you’ll still need to let your old bank know that you’re closing your old account with them – and make sure you clear out all the money before it’s shut.
Does your new account provide everything you need?
Even if you’re unhappy with your bank, the last thing you want to do is jump headlong into a new account before assessing its merits.
You’re going to have individual needs, so ensuring that your new account is right for you is paramount. Consider issues like whether you’ll need access to online banking facilities, and how often you’ll make deposits and withdrawals, to determine what style of account you want.
What are the interest rates like?
Interest rates are going to be high on your list of priorities, particularly if you’re looking to move a savings accounts. Although the difference in interest rate between many high street banks will be negligible – sometimes they vary by as little as 0.1% – do the research.
The higher the better. After all, you want to make your money work for you, right? Depending on the account you’re considering, you’ll probably end up off-setting interest rates with other benefits, but if your needs are broad or unspecific, always choose the bank that’s going to give you more bang for your buck.
What benefits and restrictions does the new account have?
What do you really hope to get out of switching banks? Consider what sort of restrictions or charges your new bank may demand. You may find you have to deposit a certain amount each month, or pay a monthly fee for maintaining your new account.
Are they a fair trade-off for switching? Are you getting back more than giving out? Because the days of free games consoles and toasters and carriage clocks for opening a new account are over.
And the free pens, too. In terms of benefits, what you’ll probably find are offers that give cash-back when you buy from certain shops, or cheaper roadside recovery – smaller, but perhaps more practical benefits.
Are you ready?
So, you’ve done all the research. You’re satisfied that you know why you’re switching, what you’re getting, and how you’re getting it. It’s time for one final check of the facts – this is your finances, so we don’t want any mistakes.
Depending on who you’ve gone with, you can open new accounts online in a matter of minutes, although some may require you to visit your local branch to confirm your identity. Once you’re satisfied, it’s time. Good luck with your new bank.