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.
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.
Once everything has cleared your account you need to go in to close your account. 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 be sent to you to confirm that your account has been closed.
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.
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.
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.
It is a good idea to have opened 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.
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.
What You Need
- Running record of your account transactions
- List of direct deposits and automatic withdrawals
- Any checks that are left on your current account
- Stamp and envelope to mail the letter