How do I close a bank account?
Closing a bank account is one of those tasks that’s easy to put in the too-hard basket. There are quite a few steps involved, some which may require you to hang on the phone for a while.
Here’s a handy checklist of items to tick off, so the job gets done quicker. If you don’t do your banking online, the following steps can also be done at a branch.
- Cancel any scheduled or recurring payments
- Update your direct debit details (such as loan repayments) with creditors
- Export your payee address book (to keep a record of saved third-party bank account details)
- Transfer the balance of your account (to the new bank account)
- Close your account online, or by calling the bank or visiting a branch
You can usually easily open a bank account online, but you often can’t close it online.
Many banks and credit unions will only let you close an account if you go into a branch or call them on the phone.
However, some banks will let you request to close the account via your internet banking. Check your financial provider’s website for details.
Just remember: If you still have funds in the bank account, transfer them to another account, or withdraw the cash. Also, if you have any payments like direct debits going in or out of the bank account, these will also stop when you close your account.
You can close a bank account with pending transactions. But after the account is closed, any incoming transactions will be declined by your (old) bank.
The best way to ensure this doesn’t occur is to either wait to close your account until all pending transactions are complete, or contact the creditor and supply them with alternate bank details.
If you’re unsure whether you have any scheduled transactions, you can speak to a banking representative over the phone or via online support.
In most cases, your bank withholds the amount owing for pending transactions (such as online purchases).
Because the pending amount is deducted from your bank balance, you can close your bank account and the purchase will be honoured.
In most cases, you can close a personal or business bank account over the phone. In fact, this is the best way to ensure you’ve closed an account properly.
By speaking to a banking representative, you can capture and close out any pending transactions, or interest owing/payable on the account being closed.
In the instance where the account is a joint account, or you have multiple bank accounts you want to close, your bank may send you a form that you need to fill out and return.
Either way, you would be advised over the phone of the steps you need to take. Calling your bank ahead of closing an account is often a smart course of action.
Yes, Australian bank accounts are frozen when someone dies. If you want to close the account of somebody who has died, you might have to provide proof of death and a copy of the will. You might also have to prove your relationship to the deceased person.
If you have a joint bank account with somebody who has died, you will generally be entitled to all the money in the account. Again, you might have to provide proof of death if you want to change the bank account from a joint account to a one-person account.