If you’re upset about Bank of America charging a monthly debit card fee or any other fee, if the bank has a policy you don’t like, or if you just have no need for this company’s particular set of services, consider closing your Bank of America account. There’s an initiative called Bank Transfer Day encouraging customers to remove money from large banks.
For customers who have chosen a new bank to replace Bank of America, use this Bank Switch Kit to help you organize your finances.
In a perfect world, every bank would make it very easy to close accounts. For the most part, they want to keep their customers, and will often request that anyone wishing to close their account talk to a retention specialist. These specialists are often empowered to offer a few incentives to remain a customer of the company, including waiving fees for a period of time. It’s a tactic that sometimes stops people from leaving, particularly those who do really want to stay. It’s a negotiation technique used with employees in the corporate world; if your company wants to keep you, when you threaten to quit they might make it more attractive for you to stay.
In most situations, if you want to quit, it’s better to quit than accept a peace offering without solving the problem of not wanting to be there. So it’s best to avoid or ignore the retention specialists who want you to stay with a bank.
Note: Some readers have had success by entering an online chat with a Bank of America customer service representative and asking to have their accounts closed. Some readers have said that they were unable to do so.
Before you begin the process described below, log into your account and initiate a chat. You may find the closing process is as easy as sending an instant message. The Bank of America website has been non-responsive or slow over the past several days, so accessing online chat may be impossible or difficult.
If you are unable to access your account online, or if you are and a representative who answers your request live is unable to close your account, you might need to proceed through the longer process, and this process varies depending on the state in which you reside.
To close your account at Bank of America, you should just be able to walk into a branch, withdraw your funds, instruct the teller to close the account, and walk out a free man or woman with a cashier’s check or cash in hand. It’s not always quite this simple, however.
California, Idaho, and Washington are the only states that officially let you close your account just by walking into a bank branch, according to Bank of America’s official procedure. Residents of all other states must follow a different process, but I find it hard to believe that any American can’t walk into their local branch and get this done. Bank of America insists that most customers throughout the country — those living in the 47 states not mentioned above — send a letter stating your desire for the bank to close your account and describing how the remaining funds should be distributed to you.
For example, your letter might state that you want to receive your funds via check to an address you provide, or you might request that your funds be transferred via ACH to the external account you specify (including the destination’s routing/ABA number and bank account number). The letter, including a signature from each account holder, must be sent to this address:
Account Closure, FL1-300-02-07
4109 Gandy Blvd
Tampa, FL 33611-3401
You can verify the process for closing your Bank of America savings or checking account by visiting the bank’s website and finding the answer in the frequently asked questions list after providing the state in which you reside. Once you close your account, consider depositing some cash in a high-yield savings account or a credit union.
Do you plan to cancel your Bank of America account? If so, why? If you have closed your account, what did you think of the process?
Updated February 14, 2012 and originally published September 30, 2011. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @flexo on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.