How to Close a Bank Account in 5 Easy Steps

Photo: Sarah Dorweiler

The back of our sock drawers stopped being the best place to store our money when we were about 10. Where and how you operate your finances is important and has a lot to do with the bank you choose to deal with. There are a lot of good reasons you might consider changing banks, such as exorbitant fees, unclear communication, or poor customer service. Fortunately, making the switch is simple. Learn how to close a bank account in five simple steps.

1. Open a New Account

Before you close your bank account, be sure to have a new one set up. Many online transactions require bank account information and a routing number, and you don’t want to be caught in a situation where you can’t write a check or transfer funds.

2. Move Your Money

Emptying your bank account is your prerogative as a customer, and there’s no need to alert the bank that you’re leaving just yet. However, be sure to keep track of fees and penalties that might result from withdrawing too much too fast, especially if you’re dealing with a savings account.

3. Switch Over Your ACH Transactions

For many of us, a range of bills and recurring transactions are linked to an autodebit system. Go through your bank records for the past 12 months, and make a list of monthly and annual automatic payments. A number of online banking systems will allow you to search your past transactions specifically for ACH activity. To make closing your bank account as smooth as possible, plan for a window of time in which sufficient funds are still in your old account while you make the move, since some crediting and debiting systems take time to update.

4. Document the Change

When you do finally pull the plug on your old account, be sure to keep proper records. Note the date on which you transfer ACH activity (both autodebit transactions and deposits), and be sure to get a letter from your bank on the date that you close the account. This will prevent any issues that may arise from companies attempting to use your old account information.

5. Break Up In Person

When you close your account, be there in person. While some representatives may press you for details on your decision or try to convince you to stay, keep your discussion minimal. If there’s any money in the account at the time you close it, you can either withdraw this amount in cash or receive a check. Then you’ll be free to head off into a clearer, brighter financial future.

Searching for the best online banking solutions? Read on to learn the benefits of online banking, along with a handful of the most reputable institutions available.