Closing a bank account can be a straightforward process if you handle it with care. If not, you could incur fees from the bank and other sources. The process can be instant or might take a few weeks, depending on the transactions linked to your account.
Opening a New Account
If you plan to move your money to a different bank, open an account there before you close the current one. Transfer some money into this account but leave enough in the account you plan on closing to cover any outstanding checks or scheduled payments that have yet to process. You can go to the bank to withdraw the money, or use an electronic transfer.
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Recurring Automated Payments and Income
Cancel any automatic payments you have set up on your accounts, and transfer these to your new account. Wait for one billing cycle to ensure that payments have been successfully transferred to the new account before you proceed with completely closing the old one.
If you receive automatic payments to your account, such as from your employer or Social Security, contact the payers and provide your new account details. Check your new account for your next payment when it is due, to ensure the transition has been successful.
Closing the Account
Visit the bank and inform a representative that you are closing your account. Depending on the bank, you might have to sign a closure document to this effect. The representative will give you a check or cash for any remaining balance. You also may withdraw the balance before this meeting if you prefer.
Some banks allow customers to close their accounts online, especially if they were opened online. If your bank allows this, send a message to customer service formally closing the account, and ask for any balance to be sent to you by mail in the form of a check. It could take from 5 to 10 business days to receive the funds, depending on the bank.
Some banks will reopen your account if a deposit or request for payment comes in. The bank can charge you for insufficient funds for the latter. You can ask the representative for a letter stating that the account has been closed to prevent this from happening. This letter might also help you avoid possible problems with any creditor that attempts to collect payment from the account.
Many banks charge a fee for closing a checking or savings account that is less than three months old. There might be longer maturity specifications for other types of bank accounts, such as a CD account that must be active for a year or more. Check with your bank to determine the best time to close yours.