How To Close a Bank Account for Free: Your 2021 Guide
2020 was a year that made us all reevaluate what’s important and what isn’t. For many people, it was a financially difficult year. If you were out of work for part of the year or transitioned to working from home, your finances may have shifted.
Are you wondering how to close your bank account in 2021? Maybe you want to open an account with another bank or credit union. Maybe you have accounts with several financial institutions and want to consolidate.
No matter what your reason for closing a bank account in 2021, we’re here to help you do it without incurring fees.
Make Sure You’re Prepared To Close Your Account
Before you close your bank account, have a new one in place and ready to use.
Make sure you have access to the money in your new account. Activate your debit card so it’s ready to use when you transfer your money over.
Do you receive your paycheck or any other payments via direct deposit? Provide your new bank account number to your employer. Make sure your deposits are coming to your new account successfully before closing your old account.
If your bank offers a bill pay service, add in your payees and account numbers. If any bills come out of your account via ACH transfer, ensure that you provide the new account number so none of your payments get rejected.
Do you pay for a gym membership or monthly streaming subscription? Make sure those are linked to your new account, too.
If your card is linked to grocery stores and retailer accounts, make sure their systems are updated with your new information. That way, next time you go to check out, you won’t have to scramble to add your new card number to complete a purchase.
Tips for a Seamless Transition
Print out your bank statements for the last six to 12 months and review all the transactions. Use this to make a list of accounts you need to update with your new bank account number or debit card information.
Close a Bank Account Without Paying Fees
Ensure that all of your payments are successfully coming out of your new account before attempting to close your old one. This helps you avoid fees from merchants and billers if a payment is returned on the account you’re closing.
Time Your Account Closing
Allow a month for all of your transactions to come out of your new account. Don’t empty your old account completely during this month in case a payment accidentally comes out.
Call your old bank and find out the steps for closing an account. Ask questions like:
- If applicable, when will the last monthly service fees be charged?
- Will you get your opening deposit back?
- Are there any additional fees associated with closing an account?
Once you’re sure that you’re ready to close the account, transfer your remaining funds to your new bank account.
Document the Closing
Protect yourself from the possibility of future discrepancies with your closed account. If you receive any documentation confirming that your account is closed successfully, keep it.
Also, be sure to save your last bank statement to your computer or print it out. This way, if there is ever a question about your account closing, you can refer back to your records.
Check Your Credit
Closing a bank account doesn’t usually affect your credit. The only time a closed account gets reported to credit bureaus is if the account has a negative balance. You crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s. Now it’s time to double-check your work.
Access your free annual credit report a month or two after your account closes. Ensure that no derogatory remarks are on your credit report as a result. If you see any discrepancies, report them to the credit bureaus and call the institution where you closed your account.
Closing an Account With a Major Bank
Each bank and credit union has its own requirements for closing an account. Make sure you know the exact steps necessary so you don’t accidentally incur fees after closing your account.
Close your account online, by phone or stop by a Chase branch. You may close your Chase accounts without any notice or explanation. Keep in mind that any joint owner may close an account without other joint owners being present.
Chase may not close your account immediately if your balance is negative or transactions are pending on your account. In this case, the bank will place a hold on your account that prevents any additional transactions.
Don’t forget to delete your old account and debit card numbers from transaction accounts like retailers and billers. This ensures you don’t accidentally select your closed account to issue a payment.
Bank of America
Ensure that any potential transactions are canceled before closing your account. Then stop by a branch, call or submit a request in writing to close your Bank of America account.
If there is a balance left in your account at closing, let the bank know how you want to receive the funds. For an ACH transfer, have your other bank routing and account numbers ready.
Close your account in person at a branch, call or submit a request by writing. Make sure your account is not negative. Wells Fargo allows you to have a balance of zero, but you cannot close an account if you owe the bank money. All pending transactions must settle before the bank closes your account.
Keep in mind that allowing your account to stay open with a zero dollar balance won’t prevent you from incurring additional monthly service fees. If you owe any outstanding fees, prepare to pay them before closing your account.
This content is not provided by the companies mentioned. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the companies mentioned.
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- Forbes. 2021. "How To Close A Bank Account."
- U.S. News. 2019. "How To Close Your Bank Account Properly."
- Experian. 2020. "Could Closing a Bank Account Affect My Credit?"
- Chase. "Deposit Account Agreement and Privacy Notice."
- Bank of America. "Account Information and Access FAQs."
- Wells Fargo. "Opening and Closing Accounts Questions."