How often have you changed your cell phone number?
If you’re like me, the answer is never — because even if you’ve physically swapped area codes a few times, retaining your original number avoids hassle and confusion. It would be difficult to switch it at this point.
I bet there’s a good chance you feel the same way about your checking account. Maybe you signed up for it because of geographic convenience, or at least whatever was convenient a decade ago. Convenience isn’t bad when it comes to banks, but if your lifestyle has changed since then or you’d like your dollars to go further, you may want to start looking around.
I’ve switched bank accounts twice in the past five years. The first switch was from one large national bank to another, mainly to earn a cash sign-up offer I’d received in the mail, but also because the new bank was closer to my house at the time.
About a year later, I realized I never visited the branch, was tired of paying ATM fees and wanted to earn higher interest yields on my money, so I switched to an online bank, which I’ve been super happy with.
Here are a few reasons switching might make sense for you:
Switching bank accounts can be tricky and time-consuming. It requires planning to ensure money lands where you need it and is available to pay your bills throughout the transition. To avoid bounced checks, fees or other headaches, take the time to do it right.
Switching bank accounts can help you more easily manage your money — and in some cases, it can even earn you more of it. Just make sure to do your homework so that the switch is as painless as possible.
Sean McQuay is a credit and banking expert at NerdWallet. A former strategist with Visa, McQuay now helps consumers use their credit cards and banking products more effectively. If you have a question, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The answer might show up in a future column.
The article Sean Talks Money: Don’t Cling to a Bank You Don’t Love originally appeared on NerdWallet.