As a former financial services executive, my professional experience did include exposure to both commercial banks and credit unions. The diverse exposure to both industries does provide insight to the internal differences of technology and organizational structure when transferring a banking relationship. Consumers are exposed to many opinions about the best choice of institution to house a banking relationship, and opinion is irrelevant(i.e. my opinion) when information is a better tool to insure "a change will do you good". However,the following five tips should be explored in a comparison analysis of your current bank and a potential new bank or credit union.
1) Deposit Access to Funds Direct Deposit-Teller deposits, ATM deposits, Incoming Wire Transfers. Review current deposit activity for 6-12 months and current accessibility to funds and compare with prospective bank or credit union. Transactions include large dollar checks, crediting wire transfers, transfers into account from another internal or external bank account, ATM deposits.
2) Debit Card Limits- Do you purchase large items on a debit card or require access to cash via the ATM? Banks have a 24 hour cash and transaction limit per card. This limit is a daily limit beginning at 12:01 am of current calendar date and concludes at midnight. The standard limits for cash and MasterCard/Visa debit card purchases are $500/$1500 respectively. This limit is dependent on the financial institutions insurance agreement with Visa to insure coverage for losses and the relationship with the financial institution. Second, travel is another limit on debit card usage as the policy differs per bank. Domestic travel outside bank’s or credit union’s region of operations in the United States and international travel may require consumer consent or prior notification of travel to insure debit card access will not be declined.
3)Automated Drafts and Payments- Bank Transfer Assistance or Switch Kits- A new bank or credit union is wanting new business or client penetration into the marketplace that they will offer to assist in the seamless transfer of automated payments and drafts to be new bank account or provide a switch kit for local information on power, gas, telephone, and cable companies to expedite a change in automated draft payments to the new account.
4) Traditional Branch Services and Hours of Operations- What are your bank’s locations and hours of operations? Consumers may not require traditional branch banking services to conduct personal banking business, but many consumers do utilize branch hours to conduct business. Are Saturday hours important? Convenient access to a branch? A comparison of a new institution’s ability to meet this need is important in any account transfer.
Tip: Credit unions do offer shared branch network access to compensate for the one or two branch offices for many smaller credit unions. Consumers should inquire if they are interested in changing to a credit union about this feature. The shared branch network allows access to partner credit unions to make deposits or withdraw cash. The limitations are different for each credit union.
5) Automation Services- Online Banking, 24 hour automated information, customer service after banking hours, Bill Payment, ATM Services- Banks and credit unions are very different in capabilities and features of the automated service platform. The best advice is to review current services or services missing in current account management via online banking, ATM access, etc. to compare and analyze the bank or credit union that will meet specific needs.
In conclusion, the bank transfer to a new institution is a personal financial decision that a respective consumer must decide. However, opinion is irrelevant as the consumer must be decision makers in personal finance. The one question for a consumer to consider after comparison of fees and services of current and prospective new institution. Does your prospective new credit union or bank able to meet or exceed performance of current bank? Insure your bank transfer is a successful and a perfect fit for your personal financial needs, and the aforementioned five bank transfer tips are some guidelines to insure a seamless and success bank transfer.