After years of being abused by my bank I fired them and I couldn’t be happier about it. The bank was into charging lots of fees, giving me a hard time about everything (even refusing ordinary deposits), and paying a teeny tiny amount of interest. Even though I had several long term and active accounts with them, it was like they had never heard of me, or obviously hated me. I won’t bore you with all the mean things they did & said to me, or the really lame mistakes they made, that they tried to charge me $20 to close a savings account, $8/month for a paper statement (even with a good $$ balance), or the really horrible way they treated the non-profit group I am treasurer of.
So after several years of excuses & foot dragging, I really parted ways with my bank. I don’t know what I was afraid of. As it turns out Credit Unions are way better! :-)
Credit Unions are better than banks because they:
- Pay more interest (& attention) to you
- Pay interest on your checking account
- Have less fees, if any
- Are friendlier
- Charge less interest when you are borrowing
- Have far more free ATMs in their network
- Let you make deposits at many ATMs
- Usually don’t charge any atm fees, even out of network
- Mail you coupons for the county fair
- Always give you 2 accounts; checking & savings
- Don’t charge for mailing your statement
- Charge less for new checkbooks
And of course they all have online banking, web bill pay, atm cards, paper checks, etc.
I was initially concerned that I was not eligible to join a credit union because I do not work for a big company, That is until I discovered that there is usually another way around to join. I was able to join some little airplane museum for a $20 one time fee. (look for a “Join online now button on the website and follow along) That got me into the Northrop Grumman Federal Credit Union for life! Fantastic. They I moved my business, personal, savings, the non-profit group, everything to the Credit Union. Seriously, it is a lot better at the CU, and instead of me paying them any monthly fee, they are paying me interest.
TIPS FOR CLOSING YOUR BANK ACCOUNT:
- Open the new Credit Union account. Order the ATM card and checks if you need them.
- Transfer a good chunk of your available cash into the CU, leaving enough for any uncleared payments in the old bank account.
- Notify any Direct Deposits of the change. Be sure not to close your old acct until all your Direct Deposits are coming in at the new CU.
- Set up & schedule all your web bill payments at the CU. I like to send $1.05 via the “web bill pay” to pay each bill immediately, so I can make sure it is correctly received. I even like to make each payment a different amount by a penny so I can easily tell them apart.
- Disable any scheduled bill payments from your stinky old bank account. Examine your last several months of statements to find any auto-withdrawls you may have authorized, and notify those companies of your new account.
- Wait several weeks to make sure any/all outstanding payments clear through the old bank. After you are *sure* the dust has settled…
- Transfer or withdraw the exact balance out of the bank account to empty it. Ideally do this via a check, or online money transfer to avoid completely unnecessary confrontation. One of the easiest ways is to write a check from the old bank account made out to yourself, and just deposit it at your Credit Union. Really easy!
- After the bank account has been$0 zero for at least a week, and no activity, (I waited 6 weeks, just in case) go ahead and close the bank account before they charge you for another month of fees. If the bank tried to charge you any fees, ask for them to be reversed before closing the acct. You do not have to go into the bank office to do any of this. Don’t let them waste your time! In some cases they can close an empty account over the phone, or you might need to mail or fax them a letter requesting closure. If the account is not empty it is more difficult to close because they think they can stop you, or charge you some good bye fees.
In my experience, it is important to have already zeroed out the old bank account before closing it. For several reasons;
- they can’t charge you monthly fees when you have a zero balance,
- they won’t charge you an “account closing fee”, and
- the bank doesn’t give you a hard time about closing an empty account.
I’m very happy with the Credit Union I joined. You can find a Credit Union near you too!