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How to close your bank account

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

Unfortunately, some banks don’t make the process as simple as they could. This leads many people to keep unused bank accounts open 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 accounts.

Shop around for a new account

Before you close down your old 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 savings account or a chequing account that lets you earn some interest on the cash sitting in your account.

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

1 - 4 of 4
Name Product Interest Rate Promotional Interest Rate Min. Bal / Min. Deposit Account Fee
Simplii High Interest Savings Account
$0 / $0
Earn 3.00% interest on your savings. Open an account and get a special interest rate for deposits up to $1,000,000. Conditions apply. Valid until October 31, 2022.
KOHO Earn Interest
$0 / $0
Use promo code FINDERCODE and get a $20 cash bonus when you make your first purchase within 30 days. Opt into earning interest for free and earn 1.20% on your balance, plus an additional 0.50% in cash back on every purchase you make.
Neo Money Account
$0 / $0
Get a competitive interest rate and unlimited free transactions with no monthly fees or minimum balances.
EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
$0 / $0
Get a $150 signup bonus when you open an account and switch your eligible recurring payroll direct deposit to EQ. Apply by June 29, 2022. Plus, enjoy zero everyday banking fees, free transactions and no minimum balance.

Compare up to 4 providers

Update debit and credit information

When you switch accounts, it’s important to be sure to switch any payment information for bills or direct deposit to your new account.

Most of the time, you’ll be primarily responsible for ensuring all of your payment information is transferred to your new account. Some banks may offer a service to help gather your information from your old bank or update payees with your new information. Both BMO and CIBC advertise assistance programs with their PowerSwitch and Switch Kit programs, respectively.* However, generally that legwork will be up to you.

* Available as of December 20, 2019

Some things you may need to update for your new account:

  • Direct deposit information.
  • Regular direct debit payments for any loans or credit cards.
  • Any pre-authorized payments (for example, insurance, gym memberships, regular subscriptions or utility bill payments).

Give your employer or payroll officer your new routing, account and transit numbers to be sure 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 benefit programs.

Back up plan

Before you transfer all the cash in your old account over to your new bank account, take a moment to think about a backup plan. While you may think you’ve covered all your usual direct debit payments, there is a risk that you may have forgotten something.

Leave some cash in your old account for a short time to cover any payments you may have overlooked. This will help you avoid missed payment fees or penalties.

Close your old account

When you’re sure your new account is up and running properly, it’s time to close your old account. This should only be done when you’re sure all your direct debits and credits have been successfully transferred over and you’ve given your new account details to anyone paying money into that account.

It’s important to eventually close that old bank account, even if it’s empty. Some banks may charge inactivity fees for not using your account. Others may continue to charge monthly fees, which could cause you to go into overdraft on your old account.

It may be easiest to go into a branch to close your account, and in some cases it’s required. Depending on the bank, you may also be able to close your account over the phone. The easiest way to know for sure which option your bank wants is to call them and ask.

If you want to be absolutely sure that your account is closed, try logging into your account online to see if it’s still active. You can also call or go into a local branch and ask a teller to verify that you’re no longer in their system.

Bottom line

Switching bank accounts doesn’t have to be difficult. You simply need to be sure everything’s in place with your new account before you shut down the old one. This will make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Not sure if you want to switch your account? Check out some things to consider before switching.

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