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Want to Try a New Bank?

6 steps to making the switch an easier process

How to say good-bye to your bank: steps to take to make a switch

You'll breathe a sigh of relief once you take these 6 steps to changing banks. — Photo by Andersen Ross/Getty Images

En español | Lots of people are furious about the new and often hidden fees that banks are imposing on checking accounts. So if you’re thinking about breaking up with your bank, you’re not alone. The good news is that, with just a little legwork, you can find a better deal. Just follow these six steps.

1. Make a list of all direct deposits and debits that have been set up for your present account. These could include such things as paycheck and Social Security deposits and automatic payments for utilities and loans.

Don’t trust your memory — check your statements. Forget one and you could miss out on getting paid — or possibly be delinquent with a creditor if an automatic payment fails due to a canceled account. That could result in damage to your credit score.

2. Open a new checking account at a different bank or a credit union, after doing research on their fee structure. Then contact the companies that you had signed up with for direct deposits or debits, using the list you compiled to ask them to switch to the new institution. If you’ve already registered online with them, it may just involve updating your account information on their website — or you may be required to submit a request on paper. You’ll need to provide the new financial institution’s routing number and your new account number. (In addition, some may ask you to send a voided check to them through the mail.)

The string of numbers at the bottom of your check is your bank routing number — it’s always nine-digits long. Your account number will be to the right of the bank routing number. (You don’t need to give them the third set of numbers, which will be the check number — and the same as the one printed in the check’s upper-right-hand corner.)

3. If all of this seems a bit daunting, ask your new bank whether it provides a “switch kit.” These typically include step-by-step instructions and the paper forms you may need for redirecting your automatic transactions. Chances are your new bank will also have employees whose job it is to help you with this task — the bank wants your business, after all. Be sure to ask.

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Nancy Cordes speaks with CBS Moneywatch' Ilyce Glink about new bank fees and how to avoid them.

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