On Monday, Mike and I got new checking accounts. He and I both had banks in VA that aren't available in Rochester. We thought we could keep our VA banks and make do with a combo of mobile and online banking while we're up here, but 2 weeks in and it was already too annoying. So we gave in and decided to go with Bank of America.
Our reasoning for choosing BoA was:
#1- Location. There's a branch within walking distance of our new place!
#2- It's a big bank- if we move somewhere else, there's a good chance there will be a branch there.
#3- (most importantly) they have good products!
Like any good potential customer, I took a look on their website to make sure they had legit products. Turns out they have a good checking account (no monthly fee [which would be $12] if you direct deposit or keep at least $1,500 in the account) and an even better credit card!
We weren't in the market for a new credit card (we're still infatuated with our American Express Blue Cash Everyday) but the Bank Americard Cash Rewards gives you 3% cash back on gas, 2% cash back on groceries, and 1% on everything else. And if you redeem the rewards into your BoA checking account, you get a 10% bonus! #winning. So we'll use BoA on gas and AmEx on groceries to get the max amount of rewards on each card!
The one minor hiccup is that the 3% gas and 2% grocery rewards are only good on the first $1,500 spent in those categories each quarter (I haven't researched what happens after that [bad blogger, I know] but I'd assume it would all count as 1% after that?). Luckily, I'll be spending much less than that each quarter so I'll be fine.
Anyway, on to the point of this post. When you get a new checking account/bank, do you cancel your old one? I've had my current bank since I was a teenager and have my longest standing credit cards with them. I know the longer you have a credit card, the better it is for your credit score. But I already have a ton of banks/credit cards, and I'd rather cut down on accounts rather than add more.
I googled around and found this article which talks about the right way to close a credit card. The main point I got from the article is that your credit score is mostly just based off of your utilization ratio- this is the amount of debt you have compared to the amount of credit available to you. So if you're closing one account and opening another with the same credit limit, you'll be keeping a similar utilization ratio so your credit score should stay pretty similar.