How to Close Your Checking Account

Mature woman balancing cheque book, smiling
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When you move or decide to change banks, you will need to close your checking account. You can do this in person or do it with a letter to the bank. You should verify if you need both signatures to close a joint account, but usually, you do not. This is a simple process, but each step must be followed precisely in order to protect yourself from overdraft charges, and other possible problems. Learn the steps you need to take to close your checking account.

Stop Using Your Account and Allow Everything to Clear

First, you need to stop using your account and allow everything to clear the account completely before you close it. Generally, this takes about two weeks before all items have cleared, but it may take more time. You can check online to see what transactions are still outstanding. It helps to keep a running ledger of your account so that you know what has cleared and what has not. This also gives you the opportunity to make sure you have transferred all of your automatic withdrawals to your new account.

Request Your Account Be Closed

Once everything has cleared your account, you will need to close it. If you do not go in person you will need to write a letter requesting that they close your account. You need to include your name, address, and account number in your letter. It is also a good idea to include a phone number in case they need to contact you.

You should request that they send the remaining balance to you. Be sure to include an address with your letter, so that you will receive the money. You can also request that a letter is sent to you to confirm that your account has been closed.

Close Your Overdraft and Related Accounts

It is equally important to make sure that you close any cash reserve accounts or overdraft protection that you have tied to this account.

It does not make sense to have a line of credit that was tied to your account stay open. Additionally, it can cause trouble if someone steals your identity or tries to reopen your account. You can request that this be closed in the same letter you use to close your bank account. Your balance will need to be paid off in order to do this.

Destroy Your Checks and Debit Card

Once you have requested your account to be closed, you need to shred any remaining checks and cut up your debit card. You do not want to accidentally use the checks or debit card and have a mess to clean up at the bank. This step is absolutely essential. If you do not do this, you may end up accidentally use the checks or debit card inadvertently. You can incur fees both at the bank and at the store where you used them. It is a very expensive mistake.

Keep Records on File

When you receive your confirmation letter that your account has been closed file the letter with your account information for a few years. You should also keep an eye on your credit report, to make sure nothing else happens with that account or bank. If something does, you will need to contact the bank right away to clear up issues immediately.


  1. It is a good idea to open your new account before you close your old account. This allows you continued access to your money. It is helpful when you are moving across the country to be able to continue to use your debit card as you are moving.

  1. Be sure that you stop all direct deposits, automatic transfers and withdrawals from your account. You should do this about a month before you close your account, to be sure that you remembered them all. This would include things like gym membership fees, insurance payments, and other bill payments.

  2. When you look for a new account, be sure that you consider the minimum balance requirements and fees that you may incur at your new bank. A credit union is often a good option if you can find one that you can join since they often have lower fees than banks.