Pop quiz time…
Question: When is an in-state check an out-of-state check?
Answer: When you have a Bank of America account and you move.
Prior to our move I went to great pains to ensure that we’d have a smooth banking transition when we moved. I researched the options (SunTrust vs. Bank of America) and decided on Bank of America. I also asked all the right questions… Like “Does it make any difference if we open the account here (prior to our move, which was more convenient) or should we open it on the other end.” The answer was that a Bank of America account is a Bank of America account no matter where you open it.
As it turns out, that’s only partly true. My first tipoff was when I went to deposit a check at the service counter and was told that I would have to re-write the deposit slip using one of their special ‘out-of-state’ deposit slips. It turns out that their system automatically bases the in-state vs. out-of-state determination on where you opened the account, not on where you live. At first blush, this wasn’t a terribly big deal… All I needed to do was use a special form on those (relatively) rare occasions when I deposited a check at a teller window. But upon further questioning, I also learned that such checks (including work reimbursements, which aren’t terribly uncommon) would be subject to a lengthy hold (as much as 7-9 days) simply because they were thought to be out-of-state, even if they weren’t.
The solution to this problem? Amazingly, they can’t simply modify your account. Rather, you have to open a new Bank of America account and shut down the old one. Great. Now instead of changing bank accounts once, I got to do it twice. I actually considered just switching banks out of spite, but Bank of America really does suit our needs, so I took a deep breath and went ahead with the change. The nice thing was that I was able to do this without creating a new online banking login, so I didn’t have to re-enter our online bill pay details, etc. Rather, the new account shows up alongside our old one when we log in. Once the dust settles and we’re sure everything on the old account has cleared we’ll go ahead and close it down. All in all our banking transition was not terribly difficult, but it certainly ended up being a lot more complex than we expected.
For more information on moving, check out my Roadmap for a Successful Relocation.