How To Close a Bank Account

Checking Account

No matter how well you research a particular bank and how highly recommended it is, your experience may prove dissatisfactory. Unfortunately, finding out how to close a bank account can often be confusing. Banks don’t want you to close your account, so they often do not make this information easily accessible.

What Are the Benefits of Closing a Bank Account?

Many people who close their bank accounts have good reasons for doing so. These are benefits you may receive:

  • Eliminating maintenance fees for checking accounts from traditional banks
  • Losing modern-day ties to embrace traditional or off-grid living
  • Ending poor relationships with shady banks
  • Participating in sending a business a message for unethical practices
  • Reducing the number of accounts to keep track of

Who Are the People Commonly Looking To Close Bank Accounts?

When it comes to closing bank accounts, there are two types of consumers. One type learns how to close one or two bank accounts to reduce how many they have. The other type intends to close all of their bank accounts. These are some of the demographics that fall into both categories.

Separated Couples

It’s fairly common for married couples and other people in long-term relationships to share one account. If the relationships fails, closing jointly owned bank accounts becomes part of the separation process.

Recent Graduates

When you are a minor or a college student, banks may waive fees. When you graduate, you may lose these protections. Note that online banks tend to charge fewer or no fees at all.

External Migrants

When moving away from America, many people start trying to figure out how to close a bank account. This is especially likely if they have accounts with traditional banks that may charge fees for inactivity.


When you become responsible for wrapping up someone’s final affairs, you may need to close the person’s bank account. Generally, only a spouse, heir, executor or close family member may do so.

Off-Grid Enthusiasts

Many people choose to disconnect from modern-day life and live completely off-grid. People may also choose to close bank accounts to avoid creditors or to hide money, so this can sometimes sound the alarm bells for law enforcement officers.

When Should You Close Your Bank Account?

There are many good reasons people may choose to close a bank account. As well as the above, there are some specific instances where closing your bank account becomes almost necessary.


If you have a traditional bank account and no longer have regular checks coming in from work, you may face fees for inactivity. This is because many banks require a certain number or value of deposits each month, without which they start charging fees.

Divorce Protection

During a divorce, spouses often choose to keep a joint account. This may provide a convenient way for the custodial parent to receive immediate access to extra cash. However, if one spouse has a spending problem, closing joint accounts becomes necessary.


When you open a bank account, you entrust a lot of information to your bank. This includes your SSN, physical address and annual income. If your bank commits fraud or compromises your accounts and does not take full responsibility or make amends, it may be time to consider another bank.

An Example of How To Close a Bank Account

When Caleb was a child, his parents opened a separate checking and savings account for him. During his teenage years, his parents deposited his allowance in his checking account and gave him a card to teach him fiscal responsibility.

Caleb did not pay maintenance fees for his accounts because he was a minor. On his 18th birthday, however, he receives a notice from his bank account stating that he will no longer be eligible for waived fees unless he shows proof of enrolling in college.

Caleb responds to the email but does not receive a timely response. He visits the company’s website and reviews its information on how to close an account. It requires him to withdraw the funds, but Caleb does not yet have another account, so he visits the bank in person to make a withdrawal and close the account.

Steps for Finding Out To How To Close a Bank Account

Every bank has its own rules dictating how individuals can close their accounts. Because of this, the best source for closing a bank account is the bank itself. If you don’t plan to remain unbanked, open your new bank account first. Then, use these steps to find information on how to close your bank account:

  1. Do a quick search online. Even if the bank does not provide instructions, someone else may have.
  2. Review the bank’s website. Try to fact-check anything you find against the information provided there.
  3. Use the bank’s communication channels. You can get a lot of information by just calling, using the online chat or sending an email.
  4. Go in person. In some instances, especially when it comes to joint accounts, you may need to go into the bank in person to close the account.

Quick Questions

Should I empty out my bank account before closing it?

Most banks require you to withdraw your funds before closing it. If not, they may mail you a check for the balance.

What if I need to move $10,000 or more?

Moving large sums of money may catch the attention of the IRS. However, moving your own money from one account to another rarely poses a problem. Seek advice from an accountant.

Are there downsides to not having a bank account?

Not having a bank account makes it difficult to gain access to credit, should you ever need it. Making and receiving payments also becomes more complicated.

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