Carefully selecting a new financial institution is probably the most important part of the process because selecting a new bank that's a bad fit could mean you have to start your search all over again in a few months.
That search should start with looking at what your priorities are for a checking account, says Ray Soifer, a banking analyst and consultant in Green Valley, Ariz.
That's important because it's unlikely you'll find an institution that offers everything on your wish list, Soifer says. Lower fees may mean giving up some benefits your old bank offered, such as a nationwide network of branches.
"Most customers don't do that much traveling or don't do much in the way of international business, and they may very well get a better deal from a local institution that wants their business," Soifer says.
Once you've narrowed your list of potential candidates, take some time to go over the fine print of the checking accounts they offer, he says.
"See what the balance requirements are and what the fees are," Soifer says. "Also, see if they have any special deals that may be of interest to you. For example, some banks offer better terms to seniors."