Opening a Checking Account with Citizens Bank

Switching banks and reasons to open a checking account at a new bank

If you're unable to find the convenience, features and services you need from your current bank, you may be considering opening a checking account with Citizens Bank. While these aren't the only reasons to switch banks, they're certainly leading factors. Several other reasons for switching checking accounts include:

  • Moving to a state your bank doesn't serve
  • Opening a joint account with your spouse
  • Opening an account with online banking options for more convenience
  • Saving money on fees
  • Taking advantage of promotional deals
  • Switching from a credit union to a bank

No matter your reason for switching banks, you may be concerned that the process will be difficult and time consuming, but don't let this stop you. The most common concerns facing consumers switching checking accounts are what to do with their direct deposits, automatic bill payments, outstanding checks and potential closing fees at their old bank. Fortunately, Citizens Bank will help make the process of opening a new checking account a seamless transition.

How to open a new checking account

The first step in switching checking accounts is researching your options and opening a checking account at a new bank. The process to open a checking account with Citizens Bank is the same whether it's your very first checking account or you're switching from another bank. All you have to do is fill out a pre-application form online, talk to a representative at 1-877-360-2472, or visit a local Citizens Bank branch. After you open a checking account, you're ready to start transferring your transactions over from your old bank.

Move direct deposits and automatic bill payments to your new account

After you've opened a new checking account, ask your employer for a direct deposit form to switch your direct deposit over to this account. The form should be simple and won't take too long to fill out. If you need help completing it, stop into a Citizens Bank branch for assistance. Once you've submitted the form, ask a Citizens Bank representative how long it should take to transition the deposit. Wait until you see the direct deposit show up in your new checking account before closing out the old account.

Next, set up automatic payments in your new account's online banking at least two weeks before the next payment is due. Then, cancel or delete any online bill payments you had set up on your old account so you don't end up paying the same bill twice.

If you have automatic payments being taken by a third party from your old account, notify the payee you have switched banks. They will usually be able to work with you in making this transition. Again, it is important to be certain when the transition will take place so you can leave your old account open and funded until that time.

Stop using your old checking account at least two weeks before switching checking accounts

Stop writing checks, making ATM withdrawals, debit card purchases and automatic payments at least two weeks before you want to close the account. This will help prevent any items from being presented after your account has closed, which could then trigger fees and the unintentional re-opening of your old account. Make sure you've looked into your bank's policy on fees for inactivity before doing this, however, as you don't want to get hit with fees just as you're about to close. Since some accounts have minimum monthly transaction requirements, try to meet these before the last two weeks you'll have the account open.

Close your old checking account

Most banks will give you the option of closing your account in person or with a signed form. This letter generally includes the name of the bank and its address, your name, phone number, the address to mail the balance to and your signature authorizing the closing of the account. You may also need your old account number and routing numbers. When switching checking accounts, be sure to destroy the checks and ATM cards from your previous account to prevent bank or identity fraud.