How To Close a Bank Account for Free: Your 2022 Guide

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Closing a bank account makes sense if you have accounts at more than one financial institution and want to consolidate, or you’re switching to a bank with fewer fees or a promotional offer you simply can’t resist. But making a move isn’t as easy as transferring funds from one bank to another. Some banks charge account-closure fees, and even if yours doesn’t, you’ll still have to make sure any bills you pay from your account don’t get lost in the shuffle.

Keep reading to find out how to close your bank account for free.

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.

Debit Card

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.

Earn Perks With A New Checking Account

Direct Deposit

Do you receive your paycheck or any other payments via direct deposit? Provide your new bank account number to your employer and any agency that pays you via direct deposit. There could be a lag before the changes go into effect, so verify that all your payments have been deposited into your new account before closing your old account.

Bill Payments

If you plan to use your new bank’s bill pay service, add in your payees and account numbers. Also log in to your accounts at businesses you pay via ACH transfer to update your payment information so none of your payments get rejected.

Memberships

Are you on autopay for a gym membership or monthly streaming subscription? Make sure you update your payment information with those companies as well.

Shopping Accounts

Chances are that your debit card is linked to loyalty programs at grocery stores and other retailers. Make sure their systems are updated with your new information. That way, the next time you go to check out, you won’t have to scramble to add your new card number to complete a purchase or miss out on rewards.

Earn Perks With A New Checking Account

Tips for a Seamless Transition

Download 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.

How To 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. By verifying all your automatic payments from the new account, you’ll avoid late fees and insufficient funds fees from creditors and other billers.

Time Your Account Closing

Allow a month to transition from your old account to the new one. In the meantime, keep some money in the old account in case you overlooked a bill or had a lag in a payment being processed. 

Call your old bank to verify that you have no issues, such as unpaid overdrafts or pending transactions, that would prevent you from closing your account, 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?
Earn Perks With A New Checking Account

You can find some of this information in the deposit account agreement and account disclosure on the bank’s website.

Once you’re sure that you’re ready to close the account, follow the bank’s instructions for closing out the account, and 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 has been 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 unless you leave a negative balance and the bank turns it over to a collection agency. However, some banks report accounts to ChexSystems, which is a consumer reporting agency, similar to a credit bureau, that collects information on closed checking and savings accounts. If you close an account with a derogatory history and try to open a new account at a bank that checks your banking history, it’s possible that you’d be denied an account at the new bank based on your account history with the old one. Closing an account that’s been in good standing, on the other hand, should have no negative effect.

That said, it’s a good idea to 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.

How To Close a Chase 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.

How To Close a Bank of America Account

Ensure that any potential transactions are canceled before closing your account. Then call or submit a request in writing to close your Bank of America account. You can also close it in person, but branch services are limited at some locations, so call before you go.

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.

How To Close a Wells Fargo Account

Close your account in person at a branch, by appointment, or call or mail an account closure form. 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.

Advice

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.

Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.

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.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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About the Author

Katy Hebebrand is a freelance writer with eight years of experience in the financial industry. She earned her BA from the University of West Florida and her MA from Full Sail University. Since beginning to work full-time as a freelance writer three years ago, she has written on topics spanning many fields, including home building, families and parenting, legal and professional/corporate communications.
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