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Objective: Close Old Bank Account. Status: Success!

Back at the end of June, I was tagged in the personal finance confession project. My confession was that I was afraid to take action on things, so I wasn’t banking optimally. Since then, I signed up for direct deposit, put most of my savings money in ING Savings (where it’s earning better interest), opened an ING Electric Orange Checking account, set up transfers between ING Savings/Wachovia, and finally closed my old bank account.

Closing the old bank account was the most recent step and wraps up everything I planned to do.

How I went about closing the old account:

I was nervous that somehow something would be outstanding or automatically debiting from the account, so I didn’t want to close it. What I ended up doing was:

1. Withdrawing all but $500.

2. Removing the debit card from my wallet (so I couldn’t accidentally spend).

3. Leaving the checkbook in my dresser. I found checks the most worrying, since they could potentially be held onto for a while. Didn’t write any since June and all before then were cleared.

4. Then I checked my online record at the end of July. Found only two places which were still debiting that account, some of the few things which I let pay themselves automatically.

5. I called the one place to have my information changed and was able to do it online at the other one. I asked the first people to delete that card entirely from the account and the second place had an option which let me delete cards. So there shouldn’t even be a mix-up with the card still being in the system.

6. Waiting until the next payments went through in August, made sure they didn’t come from the old account.

7. Getting my dad to close the account for me. I would have done it myself, but it’s a local bank in my hometown. That would have required a 4+ hour round trip, whereas my parents still live in the hometown and my dad was my co-account holder. I’m grateful he was willing to take time out of his day. He’ll be bringing me the check for the balance on my birthday (next weekend!) which will make a nice little present.

Closing a bank account can feel overwhelming. But if you break it down into steps and give yourself time, it’s easy enough to do.


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The 2009 Personal Finance “How to” Roundup | AllFinancialMatters
July 6, 2009 at 4:01 am

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

neimanmarxist September 5, 2008 at 12:14 pm

we’ve been meaning to do just that for some time– same bank, even. thanks for breaking it down- we’ll get on it this weekend.

Zhu September 7, 2008 at 12:29 am

Closing my bank account was hell! I had an account at the CIBC and found the service pretty bad, they kept on reminding me “I was an immigrant”. I.e I want to remove the week hold on my paycheck after being employed in the same place for two years, I can’t because “I’m an immigrant”.

Eventually I got sick of it and signed up with Scotiabank. They said they would take care of transferring the balance…

It took two months because CIBC was saying I had too much money for the transfer to be done automatically, I had to go to the bank in person to sign this, and then they would call back for me to sign that etc.

Oh, by the way, my balance on the accoutn was about $5,000, all my savings.

Stupid.

I’m glad your experience was better!

Tariq November 24, 2009 at 11:27 am

My experience was different, in my case my bank WaMu walked me through closing the account over the phone but then the account never really closed, it was like a bad nightmare that followed me for 2 years, no amount of telling the bank to close the account helped, I was on the East coast and continued to get their mail, eventually Chase bought them, now I get mail from Chase, there is nothing in the account and they refuse to close it, are banks that desperate today, that they will keep accounts open despite their customers instructions to close them? Whats going on, how can I get them to close the account?

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