4 steps for switching banks

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Banks all over the country are boosting fees on checking account customers. If you’re fed up with your financial institution, here are some steps to make the transition to a new bank as smooth as possible. I’m Claes Bell with the Bankrate.com personal finance minute.

Start by looking at what your priorities are for a checking account, because you may not be able to find a bank that offers everything on your wish list. Lower fees may mean giving up some benefits your old bank offered, such as a nationwide-network of branches.

Once you’ve found a new bank or credit union and checked out the fine print, gather the minimum deposit needed to open an account and fill out the required paperwork.

Next, disable upcoming automatic bill payments from your old account and set up those same payments at your new bank, being sure to transfer in enough money into your new account to cover them. Try to take care of all these chores as close together as possible to prevent double payments and other issues.

Lastly, it’s time to close your old account and shred your old checks and debit cards. Don’t make it official, though, until you’ve compared your check register against your statement to verify all outstanding checks and purchases have cleared your old account.

For more on this and other personal finance topics, visit Bankrate.com. I’m Claes Bell.