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How to switch banks accounts
Follow these three steps to switch bank accounts, starting with choosing your new bank account.
If you've been putting off switching bank accounts because you're worried it'll be a difficult task, don't be. It's easier to switch than you may think, and your bank actually does most of the work for you.
Here are the three basic steps involved with switching bank accounts:
- Step 1: Choose your new bank account.
- Step 2: Ask your new bank to carry over your previous direct debits and credits.
- Step 3: Review your direct debits, and close your old account.
Step 1: Choose a new bank account
Before you can switch your account, you first need to find a new account to switch to. Here's what to consider when choosing a new account.
- Account keeping fees. Look for an account that charges no or low monthly account keeping fees.
- Deposit conditions. If the account does require you to meet a monthly deposit requirement (this can be anywhere from $200 to $2000 a month), make sure it's an amount that you can easily meet each month.
- ATM fees. If you regularly withdraw money from an ATM, check what the fees are for using an ATM outside of the bank's network as well as overseas.
- Overseas fees and charges. If you travel a lot or regularly shop online from overseas retailers, check what the international transaction fee is when comparing bank accounts. Some bank accounts don't charge an international transaction fee at all, and other will waive this fee if you meet certain deposit conditions.
- Linked savings account. Do you want to open a savings account with the same bank? If so, check what interest rate you can earn with the savings account.
- Payment options. Check that the bank account supports Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay and offers instant payments using PayID, if these features are important to you.
- Joint account. If you're looking for a bank account that you can share with another person (for example your partner), make sure you check if the account can be opened as a joint bank account.
Choose a new bank account to switch to
Step 2: Ask your new bank to help you
The Australian government banking reforms that became active from 1 July 2012 made it very easy to change banks. All you have to do is choose the financial institution you want, whether it be a bank, credit union or building society, fill out one form and the institution will do all the work for you.
The bank will contact all the institutions you have automatic debit and credit arrangements with giving them your new transaction account details.
Once you have shopped around and found the bank you want to work with, ask them to help with the switch. When contacting your new bank for help, the bank will need a 13-month transcript of direct debits and credits from your previous bank.
The 13-month list will be given to you by your new bank so you can choose what debits and credits you would like to transfer over to your new bank account. If you have trouble, just ask your new bank to help you.
The following items will not be included on the 13-month list:
- “Pay anyone” transactions (such as fortnightly cleaner payments or bills).
- BPAY payments.
- Payments that are recurring and where you've given your debit card number.
Step 3: Close your old account
Once you've opened your new account, don't forget to close the old one. Although the old account may have no money in it, the bank could still charge you account keeping fees. Close your old account once you have:
- Successfully moved all your debits and credits.
- Collated your list of payments from your old account that include "pay anyone" and BPAY.
- Told every institution about your new card and account numbers.
Closing your old account is a relatively hassle-free process. Normally you will have to visit a branch to close the account.
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