From email to banking to utility services, you likely have more accounts than you can name offhand. In fact, the average person has 27 passwords, which is probably a close indication of the number of accounts you currently have open. When it's time to close one of these accounts, you may be tempted to procrastinate, since it seems like a complicated process. But in truth, in most cases you can delete an account within a matter of minutes, as long as you have the necessary information in front of you.
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Generally, the easiest type of account to close is an online account. In most cases, you can simply go to your account information on the website and request that your account be closed. However, there are some services that require a phone call to customer service to cancel, even if all your interactions with that brand are through a website. Many social media platforms steer you toward deactivating, rather than completely deleting, your account. Full deletion can also require a phone call or repeat follow-ups until all traces of your account have been removed. If you're closing multiple accounts at once, services like Account Killer and Just Delete Me pull up all your memberships and link to easy instructions for deletion.
Closing a financial account is generally a little more complicated. Chances are, you'll need to make a phone call or visit a branch, whether you're canceling a credit card or shutting down your checking account. Before you begin, gather all your information, including account numbers and the names authorized on the account. If another person is also named on the account, that individual also may need to visit the branch or speak on the phone to a customer service operator.
Other Business Accounts
In addition to online and bank accounts, you likely have memberships with local and national businesses. It may be local utility services or monthly subscriptions or even something as simple as a library card. You can probably find the instructions for closing each of these accounts on the business' website, but often it requires a phone call. Have your account number handy before calling and ask for confirmation of the closure by email or regular mail.
Deleting your account is only one part of the process. After making the request, check back to ensure there are no lingering traces of your membership. It's a good idea to monitor your credit report in the years that follow to make sure the account hasn't remained open. You're entitled to a free credit report once a year under federal law.