HOW-TO Guide on Bank Switching, Search for Credit Unions, Automatic Bill Pay, Direct Deposit Advice

I set the hyperlink below, if you see words that are UNDERLINED below, it’s linked to something (news article from a website, the home page website of the CU, etc).

See a listing of some of the largest Credit Unions in the US broken out by states.

Deluxe Company’s new software called “SwitchAgent” makes switching to Credit Union easy. Cut the hassle of changing automatic monthly payments to new account. Or ask for a Switch Kit at the Credit Union.

Share this HOW-TO Guide with your friends and family.

Section 1: News update and money-saving tips

Section 2: Website links on searching for Credit Unions near you, and all the information you need to learn why Credit Unions are better than banks.

Section 3: Step-by-step guide from Consumer Union on bank switching. This is useful for people who have Automatic Bill Pay and Direct Deposit setup at the banks who want to make the switch

Section 4: Switch Kit – “To Do” List to remind you on items you may have overlooked

“”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
Section 1: News update and money-saving tips

News update: Forget Bieber Fever, Lady Gaga, Tebowmania and Linsanity, for the average American fed up with excessive bank fee and the Small Business owners in need of business loans but get rejected by Mega Banks and community banks, the hottest thing right now is CREDIT UNION. Press release on April 12, 2012: Credit Union Industry Assets Hit $1 Trillion in the first quarter of 2012.

News Update: Pity the *cash-strapped* bankers for making less money on overdraft fee – in 2011, the Fat Cat bankers *only* made $31.6 Billion in overdraft fee according to this Daily Finance report.

News Update: Avoid any Banks or Credit Unions that offer you Pay Day Loans. Read this Los Angeles Times article dated March 11, 2012 for more details about how these financial institutions are ripping people off. 

News Update: You can now submit your complaints about banking issues with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) headed by Richard Cordray. The 5 categories of complaints you can submit to CFPB are: (1) Bank Account, Bank Fees & Services (2) Credit Card issues (3) Mortgage complaints (4) Student Loan issues (5) Vehicle & Consumer Loan issues. In addition, you can submit your complaints as a Confidential Informant (aka: Whistleblower). Go to the CFPB “Submit A Complaint” section.

Money-saving tip 1: If you need to buy Cashier’s Check or Money Order, try US Post Office’s Money Order. Avoid the “highway robbery charges” at the Big Banks ($10 or more). It costs less than $2 to buy US Postal Money Order in value up to $1,000. The fee is only $4.45 for International Money Order that can be cashed in 29 countries. For example, if you need to buy $2,000 Domestic Money Order, you only pay $1.55 x 2 = $3.10 in fee for US Postal Money Order.

Money-saving tip 2: If you need to order personal or business checks, it’s generally cheaper to get checks from mail-order check-printing companies than through the bank or credit unions (cut out the middleman’s commissions).
Pay attention to the weekly coupon in your Sunday newspapers for more mail-order check-printing companies and DISCOUNTS for FIRST-TIME customers.
Check out: Artistic Checks, 4Checks.com, Carousel Checks, Check Gallery offers Green Checks option printed on recycled paper, Checks In The Mail, Checks Unlimited, Current Catalog Checks, Costco Checks, Designer Checks, Sam’s Club Checks, Walmart Checks.

The Los Angeles Times reported on March 1, 2012 that more than 1.3 million Americans have switched their money to Credit Unions in 2011 in response to the increasing fees at the Big Banks. This compares to nearly 600,000 people switching to Credit Unions in 2010. Expect the number of American switching to increase in 2012 with even more fees coming.

Section 2: Website links on searching for Credit Unions near you, and all the information you need to learn why Credit Unions are better than banks

1) Credit Unions are more convenient than you think. Learn 3 things about your Credit Union in this news article HERE. Ask Credit Union about (1) Over 28,000 Surcharge-Free CO-OP network ATM nationwide (including surcharge-free ATMs at 7-Eleven, McDonald’s and many more), (2) Ask about Thousands of Shared branches nationwide (aka: CU Service Center) – What is Shared Branch network? If your CU is a member of Shared Branch network (aka: CU Service Center),  even if you have moved from Chicago to Miami, you can use human-tellers (as well as ATM) at THE OTHER Credit Unions in Miami for deposit & withdrawals as though you are still in Chicago – no need to close Credit Union accounts if you move to another town or state, (3) Online Banking & Account Access (4) Some CU offer Deposit via Smartphones or Scanners

2) Read this “7 Ways Credit Unions are Better than Banks” news article HERE. I’m summarizing the 7 points below.
#1 Credit Union Makes You a Priority
#2 Low or Minimum Balance Requirement on Accounts
#3 Lower Fees on Banking Products
#4 Lower Interest Rates on Loans (Mortgage, Credit Cards, Auto & Personal Loans)
#5 Secure Funds: look for CU that are members of NCUA insuring up to $250,000 per depositor
#6 Bonus Checks: Credit Union share profits with members – For real, they do!
#7 If You’ve Been Denied Credit at banks, Credit Unions are Less Restrictive about Credit Eligibility Requirements.

3) Visit A Smarter Choice and CU Lookup to help you find Credit Union by ZIP code and by work affiliation.

CU Service Center helps you find Credit Unions that participate in the Shared Branch network by ZIP code address.

Once you select a specific credit union, you can view further information pertaining to that credit union such as contact information, branch locations, services offered, and financial information such as the validated quarterly 5300 Call Report Submission by going to this NCUA website.

Write down your banking habits: frequently use your Debit Card, or want to maintain lower balance on checking accounts? Ask the prospective Credit Unions about their Fee Schedules, their rules to avoid fees, if they are on the CO-OP network or the All-Point Network (how many Free ATM nationwide?), if they are members of Shared Branch network (aka: CU Service Center), whether they are members of the NCUA (similar to the FDIC for banks) insuring up to $250,000 per depositor. Shop around for the Credit Unions that fit your needs, don’t settle for less!

Don’t be shy! Ask for help, most Credit Union employees are happy to help you with the bank switching process.

If you are Canadian or British, here are 2 websites that can help you search for Credit Unions in your countries. Ask fellow local citizens to learn more.
CANADA, see LINK here.
The UK, see LINK here.

4) Check the credentials of the Credit Union at the NCUA. NCUA is similar to the FDIC. The NCUA regulates member Credit Union and insures up to $250,000 per depositor.

5) Read this very useful Q&A “Everything You Need to Know About Credit Union” to learn more.

6) Ask the Credit Union for “Switch Kit”, some CU have employees working on “Switch Team” to help you make seamless transition from Big Bank to CU. The check-printing company Deluxe has just introduced a new software called “SwitchAgent” in Oct 2011. The new software helps customers make seamless bank account switching. Ask your CU to use Switch Agent software from Deluxe. See Deluxe company’s SwitchAgent software.

7) See this Daily Kos blog. At least 2 church groups in San Jose, CA withdrew more than $7 million from Wells Fargo and Bank of America, the churches are moving their money to local Credit Unions that create local jobs & invest in local communities.

8) About 300 members of the Colorado Progressive Coalition closed their Wells Fargo account in October, 2011. The mass action was in protest of Wells Fargo’s predatory lending habits, along with its refusal to stop foreclosure proceedings after admitting to shady practices like “robo-signing.”

Section 3: Step-by-step guide from Consumer Union on Bank Switching
Consumers Union offers a host of tips HERE, I have modified/added more details in
BOLD and Yellow highlights below.

Click HERE for the following standard bank forms related to bank switching. Standard Form A: Initiate/Switch My Automatic Payment Letter. Standard Form B:  Initiate/Swich My Payroll Direct Deposit Letter. Standard Form C:  Bank Account Closing Letter

Here’s a condensed version.

  1. Open your new checking account at a Credit Union or local bank with a small deposit.
  2. List all automatic payments and deposits at your old checking account.-  Go through your Bank statements in the past few months to see if you have automatic bill payments that are made on Bi-Annual basis (i.e. car insurance) or on Quarterly basis.                                                                         
    If you have Annual Payment (i.e. Annual Dues) or Direct Deposit of Income Tax Refund setup annually, go through your Bank Statements beyond the past 6 months to cover all bases.   
                   
    If you opted for electronic Statements, make sure to save prior Big Bank Statements as PDF files (at least the past 12 months), and save the Cancelled Checks images as computer files before you close your Big Bank account. You may need to check something later.
  3. Ask your employer to reroute any direct-deposited paychecks to your new account.
  4. Once you know when your direct deposits will transfer, reschedule each automatic payment or debit to come out of your new account.
  5. Leave some cash in your old account for at least a month to ensure payment should you happen to forget something.
  6. When you’re certain all automatic payments and deposits are switched over, electronically transfer the final funds from your old account to the new one. Your new bank or credit union can help you with this.
  7. Once the transfer clears, follow the procedures for closing an account at your old financial institution. And make sure to obtain written confirmation that your old bank indeed has closed out that account. Some Big Banks intentionally UN-close your accounts to collect bank fees for failing to meet minimum balances, you can now file complaint about them with the CFPB complaint section to file your complaint.

Share this HOW-TO Guide with your friends and family.

Section 4: Switch Kit – “To Do” List List to remind you on items you may have overlooked

Make it quick — and easy — to switch your accounts to Credit Union. Simply use this handy “to do” checklist to help you make the switch!

1. Have your new Credit Union account number(s) ready when completing the authorization
forms in the switch kit:

Your New Account Number:
Routing Number:

2. Switch direct deposits/automatic deposits using the Authorization To Change Direct Deposit:

  • Employer deposit
  • Brokerage deposits
  • Government deposit
  • Child support or court-ordered deposits
  • Social Security Administration
  • Other

3. Switch automatic payments/withdrawals using the Authorization To Change Automatic Withdrawal:

  • Mortgage/Rent
  • Auto
  • Association Fees
  • Club/Membership Dues
  • Internet service
  • Cable TV/Satellite
  • Investments
  • Credit Cards
  • Utilities: Electric, Gas, Water
  • Phone/Cell Phone
  • Online billing
  • Other

4. Close all other savings, checking & bill payment accounts using the Authorization To Close Account:
Financial Institutions:

5. Transfer high-rate credit card balances to your Credit Union VISA® using the Balance
Transfer Authorization:
Credit Cards To Transfer:

6. Additional options to explore:

Refinance your auto loan at the new Credit Union – most CU offer lower interest rates
Refinance your mortgage loan at the new Credit Union.
Tap your home’s equity with one of the Credit Union’s home equity services.

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Bank, Credit Union, Occupy Wall Street, OccupyWallStreet, OWS

5 responses to “HOW-TO Guide on Bank Switching, Search for Credit Unions, Automatic Bill Pay, Direct Deposit Advice

  1. Pingback: Sick of Bank Fees? 3 Credit Unions for Musician, Actor, Writer, Backstage worker, etc. | @asilny

  2. Pingback: A List of Affordable Banking Alternatives and Credit Unions in NYC | ny121asil

  3. Pingback: 93 Climate Killer Banks Worldwide to Un-Bank & Sever Ties With Now! | ny121asil

  4. Pingback: Some of the Largest Credit Unions by States in the US | ny121asil

  5. FYI, I know some of you (or an auto spam machine) have left me comments in this blog. If WordPress detected them as spam or if I see the messages look like spam, I disapprove and delete them automatically.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s