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Use Your Financial Map to Architect Bank Account Changes

Last November, Citibank announced that anyone without an average balance of at least $1,500, by February 1st, in their combined accounts would have to pay a monthly fee or be subject to per-check charges. That didn’t sit well with people who had just signed up for EZ Checking, which is supposed to be free. Well it turns out that it also didn’t sit well with the New York State attorney general because on February 1st they reached a settlement with Citi [3]. Anyone who opened an EZ Checking account, in any state, between Jan. 1 and Nov. 5, 2009 would not be subject to any of the new fees until Jan. 31, 2011.

What if you’re one of the million customers getting a one year reprieve? Now might be a time to map out your approach to changing your bank. There are plenty of free checking accounts [4] without $1,500 balance requirements and it should be trivial for you to change.

The trickiest part about changing your checking account is knowing everything to change. That’s why it’s important for you to keep an updated financial map of your accounts [5]. By having an updated financial network map, you know which accounts you need to change whenever you change the hub of your network (the checking account).

When you’re done, here are a few common network relationships for a checking account, double check that your map reflects these connections (if you have them):

Once you’ve drawn your map, it’s easy to go through each of those connections and change them to reflect the new checking account. By completing the map, and reviewing the checklist of common relationships, you can feel a little more confident that you’ve made every change you need.

As you can see, there’s a reason why all those new bank account promotions require billpay and direct deposit, it makes changing a little trickier… especially if you haven’t drawn a map!