A Switch List: Items to Remember When You Change Banks

If you decide to switch banks to avoid fees, here's a list of handy reminders to make the transition smooth and complete, courtesy of NetBanker, an online finance and banking website:

• Register for online banking at the new financial institution and reset your preferences and security settings.

• Find convenient and free ATMs that support your new financial institution.

• Contact the merchants, insurance companies and financial institutions who use preauthorized debit to grab money from you each month, and switch them to the new checking account. (Keep this list and verify that they have done it in the time period they promised.)

• Contact your HR department to switch payroll direct deposit to the new account

• In your old bank's online banking, write down biller and payee contact info and capture any history you want to record. Enter the biller info into your new account.

• If you used e-statements, download and save all prior statements on your computer.

• Keep the old account open until online bill payment is up and running at the new account. Then re-enter those upcoming payments into the new online billpay (double checking that they will be processed before the due dates so you won't incur late fees.) Then cancel all the pending payments in the old account.

• If you have a car loan or mortgage at the old financial institution that offered a discounted rate for automatic payments from their checking account, you may want to keep the old account open with enough cash in it each month, until those loans are paid off.

• Establish email and mobile alerts at the new financial institution.