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How to close your bank account

If you're unhappy with your bank, close your account and find one that meets your needs.

Thinking it’s time to break up with your bank? Unfortunately, some banks don’t make the process as simple as they could. This leads many people to keep unused bank accounts much longer than they should. Rather than risk being charged monthly fees on an inactive account, here are some simple steps you can take to close your bank account.

1. Explore your close-out options.

Each bank has a different policy for closing out accounts. Some let you close your account online, while others want you to call or visit a local branch. Call your bank to see which closing method they require.

This is also a good time to verify what information they need from you to finalize the closure. Some banks require a written request detailing your full name, mailing address and the account numbers for each account you want to close. If your bank needs this information, you’ll most likely send it to them using a secure online portal or fax.

2. Decide what to do with your remaining balance.

If you have money left in your old bank account, there are a few things you can do with it:

  • Request a paper check. You’ll get a paper check in the mail if you close your account online or over the phone and have a remaining balance. Some banks charge fees for this, so read the fine print to know what to expect.
  • Withdraw the cash in-person. If you close your account in person, you can withdraw funds while you’re at the bank or request a cashier’s check. But be careful using this method because you run the risk of accidentally losing the money once it’s in your possession.
  • Transfer it to a new bank account. The easiest way to tackle remaining funds is to transfer them to a new bank account first. This is usually free and ensures your money is safely deposited in an account where it can’t get lost or stolen.

3. Request written confirmation.

The last thing you want is to rack up fees on a bank account you thought you closed but never actually did. Even if your balance is $0, some banks may charge inactivity fees for not using your account. Others may continue to charge monthly fees, which could cause an overdraft on your account.

Avoid these fees altogether by getting written confirmation from your bank stating your account is officially closed.

Things to consider before you close your bank account

Closing a bank account can be a bit tricky. Make sure the process goes smoothly by following these steps before you close your account:

Shop around for a new account

Before you close your account, take the time to shop around and find a new bank account to replace it.

Perhaps you’re looking for an account that doesn’t charge monthly fees or you want more ATM flexibility. Maybe you’re after a high-yield savings account that lets you earn some interest on the cash sitting in your account.

Whatever you’re searching for, check out your options before you proceed. The last thing you need is to open a new account, only to find out later that the fees are much higher and rules are more stringent.

Update direct deposit and bill pay information

When you switch accounts, make sure you switch any payment information for bills or direct deposit to your new account.

Ask a representative at your new bank to help you with your transfers. They’ll get in touch with your old bank and ask them to provide a list of all your direct debits and direct credits. They may show you a list and ask which of those payments you want transferred to your new account.

These will include things like:

Give your employer or payroll officer your new routing and account number so that your salary goes to the right account next time you get paid. Share the same account information with anyone else who pays you, including child support or any government benefits.

Make sure pending payments have cleared

Avoid overdraft fees by making sure pending payments have cleared before you withdraw any remaining funds. If you want to be extra cautious, you can leave some cash in your old account for a short time to cover any recurring payments you may have overlooked. This will help you avoid missed payment fees, overdraft fees or penalties. Then, you can withdraw remaining funds when you’re ready to close.

Find a bank account you’re happy with

Consider accounts from different banks to find one that better fits your needs.

Why do people close their accounts

The number one reason people look to change banks is because they’re hunting for a better APY (49%).

Bottom line

Closing an old bank account seems complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. All you have to do is find out your bank’s account closure policy, decide what you’ll do with remaining funds and get written confirmation from your bank. Then, you can shop around for a better account.

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Written by


Cassidy Horton is a freelance personal finance copywriter and past contributing writer for Finder. Her writing and banking expertise have been featured in Forbes Advisor, Money, The Balance, Money Under 30,, and other top digital publishers. She holds a BS in public relations and an MBA from Georgia Southern University. See full bio

Alison Banney's headshot
Co-written by


Alison Banney is the banking and investments editor at Finder. She has written about finance for over six years, with her work featured on sites including Yahoo Finance, Money Magazine and Dynamic Business. She has previously worked at Westpac, and has written for several other major banks including BCU, Greater Bank and Gateway Credit Union. Alison has a Bachelor of Communications from Newcastle University, with a double major in Journalism and Public Relations. She has ASIC RG146 compliance certificates for Financial Advice, Securities and Managed Investments and Superannuation. Outside of Finder, you’ll likely find her somewhere near the ocean. See full bio

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