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TheStreet Open House

Moving? Switch Banks, But Be Careful About It

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Americans migrate in big numbers every year, moving from city to city and town to town to catch their share of the American Dream -- a dozen times in a lifetime, with 43 million of moving every year.

Reasons for a move vary, but most have to do with work (40%); personal decisions (42%); and the military or government (18%). Summer is the biggest season for moving, with half of all moves taking place between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

One aspect of moving that gets little thought: Its impact on how people handle money and banking. TD Bank, in a report out this week, says 57% of those surveyed overall moved banks to have access to closer branches after relocating, including 64% of those 55 and older and 48% of millennials.

Also see: We Use Phones to Bank, Not to Talk to a Bank

There's not too much a bank can do about it -- except try to convince wandering clients to bank online or by mobile phone all the time, which as much as 52% of millennials are game to try.

"When life changes such as a move occur, it's a good time to investigate what banking options are best for your new circumstances," says Lindsay Sacknoff, a senior vice president at TD Bank. "Some banks offer an array of accounts with various benefits such as reimbursement for non-bank ATM charges, mortgage and home equity rate discounts on loans and a low $100 minimum daily balance requirement so consumers don't have to tie up funds to avoid fees."

"That's why it's so important for those who are looking to move or have recently moved to evaluate their banking needs and find the best fit for them -- such as finding a bank a with large network of ATMs or stores," Sacknoff says.

If you're moving, and thinking of changing banks, follow these tips to make your switch as painless as possible.

Also see: Public Wi-Fi Increasingly Easy, Still Too Dangerous

Set up your account as soon as possible: To access cash, make deposits, pay bills online, and accept direct deposit paychecks from your employer, set up your bank account right away. Any delay can mean lack of cash, bills being paid late (which affects your credit score) and potential delays on getting paid via direct deposit.

Time your changes: In the electronic age, millions of Americans pay their bills online. So before you move, pick a time of month when you have no bills being paid out of your bank account -- and switch your account information then. If you don't have any bills being paid online from the third of the month to the 10th, use the third day of the month to switch account information. That will ensure your bills will continue to be made seamlessly.

Don't close your old account too quickly: Keeping your old bank account open, with as much cash as you can spare, to cover mistakes on issues such as online billing and checks you write. Aim to keep it open for 30 days to make sure all your transactions are covered.

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