Moving out of state -- what do I do with my bank account?
February 24, 2011 10:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm moving from Washington State to Southern California in a few weeks. My primary banking is with Bank of America. What do I need to do with respect to my bank accounts when I move, to cause the minimum possible disruption?

It's been over ten years since I've moved to a different state. At that time, IIRC even though I was staying with the same bank, I had to close my bank account in the previous state, take all the money out, and start over clean in the new state. Is that still what I'd need to do? I do plan to stay with Bank of America (I'm well aware of their shortcomings, and I do have accounts in other places including a credit union -- you don't need to try to convince me to change).

My B of A account is my primary checking account, which receives my paychecks (and I'm keeping the same job, so that will continue). It also has my main credit card, which is used for auto-pay on a vast array of accounts. My mortgage (which I still need to pay until my house sells) is also with BofA and linked in. I have all of the account numbers memorized. In other words, it would be a significant inconvenience to have to start over. I don't want to do that unless I have to.

Will it be possible to just change the addresses on my accounts and keep going? If not, is there some more seamless way to do it than a complete close account/open new account?
posted by sharding to Work & Money (21 answers total)
You don't have to do anything. BofA is national. Change your addresses and call it a day.
posted by brainmouse at 10:43 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

I did not have this problem when moving a Bank of America checking account (opened in Rhode Island possibly as a Fleet Bank account) to Massachusetts in 2006, but I am sure banking laws will differ from state to state. Can you call BofA to confirm?
posted by mkb at 10:44 AM on February 24, 2011

When I worked for Bank of America (over five years ago now) there were "Model Bank" states and there was "CA, WA & ID". Assuming the situation is the same, you should face little to no disruption moving from WA to CA. Check with the manager of your local branch, though. They will know the current situation.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:44 AM on February 24, 2011

AFAIK, you won't need to make any changes with Bank of America. We moved from Texas to Illinois in 2009 and didn't need to do anything with our BofA checking account aside from change our address.

When we moved from Southern CA to TX back in '04, though, we had to close the CA BofA account and open a new one. I think it was a West -> East thing.
posted by puritycontrol at 10:44 AM on February 24, 2011

Well, now I'm curious -- Rock Steady, did I have to open a new account simply because I moved out of CA?
posted by puritycontrol at 10:46 AM on February 24, 2011

Yes. Because of the way the Bank's computer systems were connected, it would be a major pain to try and use a "CA, WA & ID" account for day-to-day banking in a Model Bank state (all the other states). There were plans to integrate the two back when I was at the bank, so it may be less of an issue now.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:49 AM on February 24, 2011

BoA California *is* technically a different entity than regular BoA, so you will occasionally need to deal with some extra forms etc, but yeah, it's basically pretty straightforward.
posted by tau_ceti at 10:49 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Actually, now that I think about it, I believe the plans were to integrate WA and ID into Model Bank, leaving CA as it's own entity, so you may be in for another round of account switching, sharding. Seriously though, check at your branch. Dealing with the divide was a daily situation when I was at the Bank (in Massachusetts), so your question will not be abnormal to them at all.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:52 AM on February 24, 2011

Another anecdote, when I moved to from CA to Texas in 2006, my CA accounts were not accessible in Texas, but shortly thereafter something happened either to my account or to the banking system that removed this divide - even though my accounts are still listed with a home branch in California I can easily access them in Texas.

But yes, talk to your branch manager.
posted by muddgirl at 11:09 AM on February 24, 2011

I moved from NC to CA and did not do anything to my BofA accounts and have never had any issues.
posted by bradbane at 11:15 AM on February 24, 2011

moving from TX to WA and WA to TX, BofA had a hell of time. i didn't have to go quite as far as closing and reopening, but i did have to go to the branch office a couple times, fill out some forms...they kept explaining about their systems and how the banking was different. i remember thinking, "but you're the bank of fucking america, why do i bank with a national chain if this is the result?" - but it all got sussed eventually. this was 3 or 4 years ago.
posted by nadawi at 11:16 AM on February 24, 2011

I know that I at least have been able to deposit to my parents' Oregon BofA account from just over the border in WA. It is possible, and that was a few years ago; I'm sure they've tidied it up even more since then.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 11:17 AM on February 24, 2011

ID and WA are not part of model bank yet. Even if you aren't required to, you may want to close your accounts in WA and re-open them in CA if only because the CA banking experience is better (for example, last I checked, features like email alerts, the smartphone app, and inter-bank online transfers don't work ID or WA accounts but do work for those in CA) but you should talk to your branch and get the details.
posted by phoenixy at 11:25 AM on February 24, 2011

When we moved from WA to OR three years ago, we did have to get new accounts because we were told that WA was different than other states. They told us they closed the old ones, but they didn't, and we found out a few months later that we'd been charged a monthly "service fee" that put our (old, allegedly closed) bank account more and more negative, until it was sent to collections.

AND, two more attempts to close the old account didn't work either -- they would say it was closed, and then we would find out it wasn't, and we were still in collections. We finally had to get BoA corporate headquarters and the state attorney general involved.

We are no longer BofA customers.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:35 AM on February 24, 2011

Even though you can totally keep your Washington account and continue using it, it is a pain in the neck every time you go to the bank, because lots of tellers will be confused and won't know how to handle Washington accounts, and it will take them forever to figure it out. Depending on how unfamiliar with Washington accounts they are they might even deny that you have an account/that you are giving them the right number and you will have to convince them. And they won't have the right deposit slips for you, etc.

So, you don't have to change, but just go ahead and see if you find it to be a pain. If so, it's not hard to just make a new account.
posted by Ashley801 at 11:44 AM on February 24, 2011

When I moved from Texas to California in 2009, I was told by BofA I could just fill out the change of address online and order a new box of checks. And that worked quite well for a few months. Then I made a check deposit in an ATM and "something happened" where the check got lost. When I looked a the ATM receipt there wasn't an acknowledgment of the deposit into my account (but the scanned copy of the check was there). Since I've made thousands ATM deposits over the years I was shocked and unsure of what to do.

So I went to the bank with the ATM and asked them. The branch manager said that they don't manage the ATMs and that I needed to call a number and get it taken care of. She let me call from her office. The number she gave me was the California number which didn't have my account details and they had to transfer me to the other 800 number. To the bank's credit, they immediately credited my account for the amount in question ($1000) to investigate.

Back inside the bank, I asked the manager is I should move my account to BofA of California so that these things wouldn't happen again. She told me that for most transactions, there's no need switch however she did say that paper checks presented to a teller may take more time to process (check deposits made from the ATM went from same night, to 72 hours after I moved, but I didn't know if it was for that reason or the person sending me $. Cash ATM deposits through those ATMs that take cash w/o an envelope were immediate). She said that BofA California is on a different system than the rest of the country (as well as WA and ID were separate than CA and the rest of the country).

I went online in early 2010 and opened a BofA California account and funded it immediately by doing a transfer from my BofA Texas account. In fact I kept both accounts open for months while I was changing the autopay and direct deposit stuff. I ended up closing the Texas account since it was beginning to charge me a fee each month because I was no longer getting direct deposit. When I called to close the account the woman helping me that a purely unified BofA was "coming soon" but that they had been saying that for years. It was her last day and while on the phone she reversed the monthly charges they'd assessed on me (that I didn't ask for).

It has been a pleasant experience. HOWEVER, the computer sees you as a brand new customer and so they will place holds on new checks for 72 hours for a few weeks until the computer no longer sees you as a risk. Since then, the checks I've deposited have been available to me the next day (but the receipt says the funds are available immediately for debits that post that night)

TL;DR: For most transactions, it won't matter too much. But if you do in-person banking with checks and need faster access to the money.
posted by birdherder at 11:57 AM on February 24, 2011

Ohh... Your mortgage and credit cards will be unaffected. What will happen when you log into the website, you'll see a new checking (and savings if you have the keep the change) show up. You'll need to redo the billpay to take money from the new account.
posted by birdherder at 12:02 PM on February 24, 2011

Thanks everyone. Great info. Yes, I can (and will) ask at the branch, but I almost never go into the branch and I wanted to get an idea of what to expect ahead of time...
posted by sharding at 12:06 PM on February 24, 2011

Also, one interesting thing is I already have a separate online account that I got when my mortgage became BofA (via Countrywide). If I login to that account, I get a totally different interface than I get when I login to my main online account. I can see my credit card info from that account, and my mortgage info (obviously), but not my checking and savings. When I login to my main account, I can see all of my accounts including the mortgage. But I've been to afraid to try actually manipulating the mortgage from that side of the fence.

In any case, more evidence that WA really is still on a separate system. The interface for the other system does seem better. But I'd live with the older one for convenience.
posted by sharding at 12:08 PM on February 24, 2011

I opened my checking and savings account in CA and subsequently moved to CT and then IL. Although I've never changed the (CA) address on my checks, I've deposited money in both CT and IL bank branches and have had direct deposit in both states to my BoA checking account with ever having any problems.
posted by andrewesque at 6:22 PM on February 24, 2011

Oh, and I've changed the billing address for my BoA debit/ATM card as well (I don't actually get physical statements anymore, but for online purchasing and things of that sort) without any issues.
posted by andrewesque at 6:22 PM on February 24, 2011

« Older Morph a FB personal account into biz account (not...   |   Can you identify this vintage design chair? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.