Moving your money: smart strategies for switching personal banking partners

Managing your money should be convenient and worry-free. Poor customer service, driving distances to ATMs, high interest rates on loans, and more can all create a negative banking experience. If you’re facing these obstacles, it’s time to find a better organization to handle your money. Finding a new personal banking partner can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

If you’re thinking about moving your money to a new financial institution, ask yourself the following questions to make a smart choice.

1. Are branch locations and ATMs conveniently located?Even in the digital banking era, we still need cash, safe deposit boxes, check cashing and other hands-on services. Confirm that your new credit union has locations nearby and plenty of ATM access.

2. Which accounts earn dividends? Make your money work harder by shopping for competitive rates (and minimum balances) on checking accounts, savings accounts, money markets, and certificates.

3. Are you eligible to join? Becoming a credit union member means you’ll become a part of the ownership group and you’ll benefit from the organization’s success. Membership eligibility is usually based on factors like location, employer, or family membership. To find out if you can join, check specific membership guidelines; you’ll find Cobalt’s guidelines here. (For more info about credit unions in general, take a look at our other posts on the subject.)

4. Does the new institution offer opportunities for financial education? You should expect your personal banking partner to support you with instruction on key financial topics. Cobalt CU, for example, offers a wide variety of educational resources.

5. What loan rates are offered? It’s important to think ahead. Even if you don’t need a loan now, you may need one down the road, whether it’s for a new home or a used car for your teenager. If you find an attractive interest rate at a local institution, you can enjoy the benefits of dealing face-to-face with the team handling your loan.

6. Are the online and mobile banking options efficient? This one’s a deal breaker for most of us. Make sure an institution offers secure, convenient digital options –especially mobile ones – that let you manage your money whenever and wherever you choose. For example, Cobalt CU offers a mobile app that lets you bank on the go, from checking your balance to securely transferring funds.

7. What fees will you pay? Many consumers switch based on this factor alone. Don’t pay for services you don’t need or accounts that aren’t right for you. Tired of paying fees when your account balance falls below a certain amount? Look for an institution that offers accounts with no minimum balance.

8. How will you securely transfer your funds? Simple methods often work for switching accounts. Most institutions offer electronic transfers, or you can use a cashier’s check. During the transition, keep the old account open for a time to avoid missing any automatic bill payments.

9. Are these people you want to do business with? Don’t discount the value of friendly representatives who listen and want to help, rather than just sell you services. No matter what your financial needs are, you should feel you can count on your financial institution and its representatives to help you along the way.

What about you? What’s your top factor in choosing the place that earns your personal banking business? Leave a comment below.

For more information on becoming a member of Cobalt Credit Union, contact Member Services at 402-292-8000. For those ready to join, you can easily apply online here.

Stop in and say hello

When researching a new credit union, it’s often worth asking questions in person at a branch location. You’ll get quick insight into the organization’s professionalism, ability to answer questions clearly, and overall customer service. Even if you plan to bank mainly online, the employees’ conduct will speak volumes about the credit union’s overall values.