You won’t believe how long Americans keep their checking accounts — many of them because they say it’s too big a hassle to switch
Check this out.
The average American has held onto the same checking account for a staggering 16 years, according to data released Monday from Bankrate.com. While older Americans are the worst offenders (members of the Silent Generation have had the same checking account for about 30 years, Boomers for 21 years), older millennials aren’t exactly non-committal to their banks either, with the 27-36 age group holding onto their checking accounts for an average of 8 ½ years.
“It can be hard to commit to a haircut, diet or job, but it seems like the opposite is true with banking,” says Bankrate.com analyst Amanda Dixon.
Many times, of course, they stick with the account because they think it’s a good one. Indeed, about one third of Americans say they keep their bank because they like the services, the survey reveals.
Americans are more loyal to their bank than their boyfriends and girlfriends. 🤷🏽♂️🤦🏻♀️https://t.co/FlzZhnzWDj
— Moneyish (@Moneyish) October 23, 2017
But most Americans don’t have nearly as good a reason for staying put: More than one in 10 of them claim they keep their account simply because it’s too big of a hassle to switch. “Switching banks can be stressful for people because they may have direct deposits from work and various bills paid automatically from their accounts. Transferring all of that over to an account at a new bank can seem downright daunting,” Dixon says.
And another one in five say they do it because they like the ATM or bank branch locations; this, in spite of the fact that many internet-only banks, which often have lower fees, offer ATM reimbursements and other perks that make local bank branches far less necessary.
The big problem with keeping your same checking account is often that it costs you more than it should. A study released earlier this year from personal finance site WalletHub found that a checking account could cost you up to $750 a year if you’re not careful about how you use it — though average costs, depending on the type of account and how you use it, start at about $23 per year. Furthermore, only about one in three checking accounts are free without any strings attached (like having to maintain a minimum balance).
Plus, many banks are now offering lucrative offers for people to switch. TD Bank lets you earn $300, when you receive direct deposits of $2,500 or more within 60 days of opening your account, though this account has strings attached like a requirement of maintaining a $2,500 minimum daily balance to avoid a $25 per month fee. You can find a list of other offers here; just be sure to make sure you understand and can avoid any fees attached to these accounts before you sign up.
If you’re still reluctant to switch because it’s a hassle, Dixon adds: “It may not be as bad as you think it is and many banks offer switch kits that can make the process a little easier to swallow.”
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