How to Close Your Checking Account
When you move or decide to change banks, you will need to close your existing checking account. This is a relatively simple process, but there are certain steps you should take to ensure you close your account correctly and don't get hit with any overdraft charges, fees, or other issues. Some situations will be different, like joint accounts.
Follow the below steps to make sure you cover all of the details and close your checking account successfully.
Verify No More Payments From the Account
Stop using your checking account for payments, and allow all existing charges to clear completely before you close the account. Generally, this takes about two weeks, but it may take longer, depending on your bank. Be sure to check online to see which transactions are still outstanding. It also helps to keep a running balance or scrutinize the check register from the checkbook for your account so that you know what has cleared and what's still outstanding.
Next, cancel all automatic payments you have set up through your old account; the last thing you want to have happened is an automatic payment that goes through on your old account. This could cause an overdraft on your account or cause a payment to not go through if the account has already closed.
Make a list of your recurring payments, then mark them off once you've canceled them through your old account and set them up with your new account.
This may take a billing cycle or two, so you may have to manually pay some bills in the meantime.
Move Your Money
The next step you should take when closing your account is to transfer your money from your old checking account to your new checking account. Be extra mindful of any pending charges on your old account, so you don't overdraft the account or incur any fees. Also, be sure to see if your old bank has a transfer limit, as many banks limit the amount you can transfer or withdrawal at one time.
Once everything has cleared your account, you're ready to close it. If you do not go in person you will need to write a letter requesting that the bank close your account. Important items to include are your name, address, and account number. You can also request to have a letter sent to you to confirm that your account has been closed.
Close Any Related Accounts
Another important step to take when closing your checking account is to ensure that any related accounts are closed. Many checking accounts offer a free savings account.
It's essential to ensure that you close any other accounts tied to your name, as it could potentially cause issues if your identity is stolen or someone tries to reopen the account in your name.
You can request that this is closed in the same letter you use to close your bank account. Your balance will need to be at zero in order to do this.
Destroy Your Checks and Debit Card
Take steps to avoid accidentally using the old checks or debit card, or having someone use them fraudulently. Once you have requested your account to be closed, shred any remaining checks and cut up your debit card. This step is absolutely essential and could be an expensive mistake if you do not do this.
Keep Records on File
When you receive your confirmation letter that your account has been closed, keep the letter on file with your account information for a few years.
Keep an eye on your credit report, to make sure nothing else happens with the closed account or bank. If you do see any charges on that account or with your old bank, contact the bank immediately.
Take care of all the final details:
- Open your new account before you close your old account. This allows you continued access to your money. It is also helpful if you are moving, so you can continue to have access to your funds to pay movers, rental cars, and other related costs during the move.
- Be sure that you stop all direct deposits such as your paycheck, automatic transfers to savings, and withdrawals from your account. You should do this about a month before you close your account. These include things like gym membership fees, insurance payments, and other household bills.
- When you look for a new account, consider the minimum balance requirements and fees that you may incur at your new bank. Also be sure to educate yourself on withdrawal and transfer limits.