Closing your bank account is a somewhat tedious process, but if you follow the steps in the right order, you can settle into your new account within a couple of weeks, maybe even less. Here’s what to do.
First, open a new account.
Closing your bank account before opening a new one is kind of like quitting your job before you have a new one lined up. Even if you get a new job right away, there will still be some inconvenience with the delay in paychecks.
Scope out your new banks by checking their websites and comparing prices and features for the type of account you want to open. Get referrals from friends and family. Consider opening an account with an online bank, which may pay higher interest rates, even on checking accounts.
Next, transfer the money to your new bank.
Withdraw your funds from your old account and deposit them into your new account. There are a few ways to make this happen:
- Bank transfer.
- Write a check for “cash” from your old account and deposit the check into your new account.
- Go to a bank branch and withdraw the funds in the form of a cashier’s check then take it to your new bank.
- Use your debit card to purchase a money order for the balance of your bank account then deposit the money order into your new account.
- If the balance is relatively low, you can withdraw cash from an ATM and take the cash to your new bank.
Make sure you leave enough money in the old account to cover any pending transactions.
Change your direct deposits.
Once you have your new bank account and routing number, change your direct deposit so that it goes to your new account instead of the old one.
Check with your payroll department to see if there will be a waiting period before the direct deposit goes to the new account.
Consider everywhere you’ve stored your bank account information for deposits, Paypal for example, and be sure to switch to your new account.
Change any automatic payments.
After your account is closed, payment attempts may be declined and the biller may charge you an additional fee for the returned payment. Some banks also charge a fee for payment attempts on a closed account.
Review your bank statement to catch any payments you have automatically scheduled. Call those companies or visit their websites to change your autopay information to your new account.
It may be a good idea to keep a small amount of money in your old checking account for at least a month or two to cover any transactions you may have forgotten about. Then, when you’re sure there are no pending transactions, withdraw any cash that’s left and call your bank’s customer service to close your account for good. Destroy any remaining checks and shred your debit card to prevent fraud and avoid any future mix-ups with accounts.