Moving and Banking: Do You Change Things Up When You Move?

by Miranda Marquit

I recently made the trek across the country to take up a new abode. I’ve researched the area that my family is moving to, and found that the bank that we currently use for all our primary money needs — and my business needs — doesn’t have a branch within 200 miles.

This isn’t much skin off my back. Thanks to online banking access and remote check deposit, I rarely visit the bank branch a mile away from my house. I like my bank, and the hassle involved in switching banks isn’t really worth it. So I probably won’t bother. Though there are some great incentives out there right now for up to a free $250 just for opening a free Chase Checking account!

Would You Change Banks if You Moved?

Do you change banks when you moveAnd I’m not alone — at least when it comes to other relatively young people. As part of TD Bank’s Checking Experience Index, a number of Americans were surveyed about whether or not they chance banks when they move. According to the survey, only 24 percent of Millennials change their primary checking accounts when they move. I’m not actually a Millennial (Gen X, baby!), but I do have a lot in common with some of the technology trends that define Millennials.

However, even among older age groups, the tendency to change banks isn’t very big. According to TD Bank, only 32 percent of those 55 and older open a new primary checking account when they move. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for changing banks just because you’ve changed location. Of course, part of that might be due to the fact that some consumers have national banks with a large number of branches nearby. If you do feel like you want to change banks, online banking is a great option to go for if you are comfortable with that, check out free checking account Chase.

When opening a new primary checking account with a new bank, those 55 and older often do so to find a branch near their homes. This contrasts with Millennials, who are more likely to want a branch near work. This makes sense, since for working-age consumers, it’s more about convenience on the way home — or during the lunch hour — than it is anything else.

But the real question is this: Given today’s technology, do you even need to change your bank when you move?

Remote Financial Management

Even though I currently have a bank branch right in my town, I rarely go in. This is because most of my finances are managed remotely. First of all, there is a high level of automation with my finances. Many of my transactions are taken care of automatically — some of my payments are connected to credit cards rather than my checking account anyway. My husband will use direct deposit for his paycheck at the new job, so we won’t need to worry about that, either.

On top of that, the ability to transfer money online negates the need to go into a branch, or even make a phone call. With online transfers between banks and investment accounts, there is no need to have money sent to my home, and then for me to take it to the bank. It all happens directly, and I manage it all via the Internet. And, of course, remote deposit with the help of my smart phone app means that I don’t need to go in to deposit the few checks I get each month.

If you manage most of your money remotely, there is probably no reason to actually go in and change banks. Unless it’s important to you to have a physical branch nearby, there is no reason to change things up when you move. Unless you want to reduce your fees, or if you are unhappy with your bank, it makes more sense to keep everything as it is for the sake of ease.

This is especially true if you have a lot of automatic payments. Just looking at all the things I’d have to do to make sure all of my automatic payments were taken care of gives me a headache.

What about you? Would you change your banking relationships if you moved across the country? Or does it matter in your situation?

Editor’s note (from Ryan Guina): I have moved several times. I have kept the same primary bank for over a decade even though there are no local branches where I live. I can deposit checks via a mobile app, by scanning them, or by mailing them. When I last moved, I had to open a local business checking account because there wasn’t a local branch for my previous business bank. I still receive enough checks that it makes sense to have a local business bank account. However, I did not close my old business bank account because most of my direct deposits go there, and my paychecks were automatically deducted from that account. It was easier to keep that account open and only use the local business account to deposit physical checks. I could consolidate, but the present system works well enough for now. As always, do what works best for you!

Published or updated December 28, 2016.
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom

I think it would depend on which banks were available where I moved. I’ve moved a few times without changing my local branch. It can be a big hassle to change, so if I could keep my bank and there wasn’t a new better option at the new location, I wouldn’t switch.


2 Jon

I use an online bank account so I never have to switch banks should I move. I like the idea of not having to go through the hassle of finding a new bank.


3 Ryan Guina

Online bank accounts are great, Jon. My bank is primarily online as well, so I can handle most of my transactions with ease. I wish I would have originally joined a national bank for my small business – that would have made things easier for me. But having two business banks isn’t a big issue. My company is small enough that it doesn’t create any hassles.


4 Rob @ MoneyNomad

I’ve actually moved across country twice in the last 18 months (greater than 1500 miles both times). Fortunately, I decided to go with a national bank after my first move – and I have been able to stick with them. Although it’s a bit of a hassle changing your automatic payments around, it can be smart to use a bank that’s local (even if it’s a huge chain). Being able to go in and visit a banker can make life a lot easier.

The big key is to make sure that you keep your credit score up. I have my oldest credit card through my first bank. Therefore, I still keep that bank account open and use it as a bit of a savings/emergency fund account. It works out nicely!


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