Terminating a Bank Account

There may come a time when you no longer wish to keep a bank account open. Reasons can vary from unreasonable fees to better offers or even switching to your spouse's bank. Before you contact your bank to close the account, you have a couple of important tasks.

Retrieve copies of your account paperwork and review the terms to make sure you can cancel your account without penalty. If you can't find the documents or if you're unsure of the terms, contact your bank and ask if there is a penalty to close the account.

Stop all direct deposits going into the account. Contact your employer's payroll department to stop direct deposit of your paycheck. Contact the appropriate authority for any other direct benefits such as spousal support.

Cancel all automatic debits including auto-pay on your bills, recurring subscriptions and any other scheduled withdrawals.

Contact your bank, preferably in person. If distance is a problem, use alternate methods such as email, online banking or phone. Give the representative your account number and tell her you wish to close the account.

Withdraw all funds from the account. In person, you can take cash or check. If you close the account over the phone, the bank will send you a check in the mail or arrange a wire transfer to an alternate account.

Warnings

  • If you skip the step of stopping all automatic transactions to and from your account, the bank may reopen the account and even charge you a fee.
  • Be cautious in closing a promotional account too early. Some banks offer incentives for opening new accounts such as your first $100 deposit. The catch is that you must keep the account open for a set period of time. Close the account sooner and the bank will require you to pay back that $100.