Letter to Close Bank Accounts

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Sometimes an old-fashioned letter is the best way to get the job done. To close a bank account, you might even be required to send in a letter. Even if a letter isn’t required, it might be the easiest option. There's no need to wait on hold and explain yourself to customer service – you can just send the letter and be done with it.

Use the text below as a template: fill in the information between brackets (“[“ and “]”) as necessary. See the tips below the letter for more details and other easy ways to close an account.

Sample Account Closing Letter

[Today's Date]

Please close the account(s) listed below. Please send any remaining funds in those accounts by check to the address below, and reject any further requests for transactions in these accounts.

Checking Account:

Savings Account:

Money Market Account:

Other Account:

Please provide written confirmation that the account is closed.

If you have any questions, please contact me at the phone number below.

Thank you,

[Account Owner's Original Signature]

[Account Owner’s Printed Name]

[Mailing Address]

[Phone Number]

Other Ways to Close Your Account

There might be easier ways to close your account. If you don’t want to print, sign, and mail a letter, try a higher-tech approach.

Online request: Online banks allow you to transfer all of your funds out and request a closure with a series of steps – it can be as easy as clicking “Close Account.” Other banks require you to write a request to customer service while you’re logged in to your account.

Phone call: A quick phone call might also do the trick. If you’ve got a few minutes, just call customer service and ask. Be prepared for a few attempts at keeping your business (which you can firmly but politely decline).

Tips for a Successful Account Closure

Illustration by Grace Heejung Kim. © The Balance, 2018

Make sure you’re done: Before closing your account, double check to make sure there are no outstanding checks or automatic payments scheduled to hit your account. Change your direct deposit instructions to your new account, and wait to see that the update has taken place before you close an account.

Empty it yourself: It is usually best to empty your bank account before you send the letter to close it. In most cases, you’ll get your money more quickly than if you wait for the bank to process your request.

There are several free and easy ways to send funds to yourself electronically, including basic bank to bank transfers. Apps and non-bank services for sending money can also do the job.

If you do it yourself, you’ll know exactly when and where to expect the money. The alternative is to wait for a check in the mail – which you’ll have to deposit before you can use the money. 

Direct and polite: To close your bank account, you really just need to make the request (whether it’s in writing or by clicking a button). The wording isn't the most important thing. It’s not necessary to instruct them to do it “promptly” or “immediately” because they will do it as soon as possible anyway.

Contrary to popular belief, banks do not drag their feet on these things until somebody notices and applies pressure. Just make it easy for the person who opens your letter (tell them exactly what to do and where to send the money), and it’s more likely to get done quickly and accurately. If you have complaints about the bank or its services, send that feedback separately, after your account is closed.

Download statements or transactions: Once you close your account, you may lose access to your account history. Someday, you may wish you had a record of an important transaction. Download several years’ worth of statements before you close your account – just in case. Alternatively, download your transactions into a software program that stores the information for you.

Original signature: Be sure to sign each letter individually with ink. Don't just copy a signed letter or use a stamp of your signature to save time. Banks need a real signature.

Time sensitive: If you really need the money to move immediately and be available for spending, send the money to your new account by wire transfer. Alternatively, get a cashier's check, which will cost a bit less and still provide "cleared" funds.

Change of address? If you’re closing the account because you’ve moved, be aware that bank policies typically only allow them to send funds to your address of record (the address they currently have on file at the bank). Address changes followed by check requests raise a red flag – they don’t know if it’s really you or an identity thief – so you may have to wait longer for your money, or you may have to do additional paperwork and get your request notarized

Ask your bank what is required to mail a check to a new address (better yet, get the money out yourself, as described above).

If you use a credit union, you might not need to close your account just because you've moved. Many credit unions participate in shared branching, which allows you to use a different credit union's branches (with thousands of locations available to you nationwide). You might eventually need an account at a local institution for more complex needs – or you might be just fine using your old account.

Depositing the check: If the bank sends a check for money left in the account, you'll need to deposit that check somewhere – and many people these days have never dealt with paper checks. The easiest way to make that deposit is with your new bank's mobile app (if available).

Verify the closure: Don’t just assume your instructions will be followed. Double check by logging into your account or calling the bank to ensure that your account is closed. Sometimes instructions get lost, or something needs to be done before you can close the account. If you’re not aware of those problems, you risk having inactivity charges or low balance fees charged to your account. They might not be your fault, but it’s easier to clean everything up while it’s fresh in your mind.

Read more about what to do before you change banks or closing a joint checking account