3 Reasons Why You Should Close Your Unused Bank Accounts

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page. APY = Annual Percentage Yield. APYs are subject to change at any time without notice.

KEY POINTS

  • You might have multiple bank accounts, possibly spread across multiple banks.
  • If you neglect a bank account, you could find yourself facing various kinds of fees.
  • You might need the money you have stashed in an unused bank account, so move it to an account you actually use.

Don't let your money sit fallow.

The odds are good that once you've reached adulthood, you've had at least a few different bank accounts. Your first account as a kid was probably a basic savings account opened for you by a parent or guardian. Then you likely graduated to a checking account once you got your first job as a teenager (and if you were under 18, you likely needed that adult's help again), so you'd have a place to deposit your paychecks.

But you're older now, and perhaps a $200 paycheck from your retail job at the mall no longer makes you feel unimaginably rich. Maybe you now have multiple bank accounts, possibly even with multiple banks. But what if you no longer use one of those accounts? Here's why you should consider closing it.

1. You could incur minimum balance fees

I'm living proof of what could happen if you stop paying attention to a bank account. Last year, in the hustle and bustle of life, I neglected my old savings account that's linked to my main checking account and ended up losing $50 to fees since I let the account balance slip below the minimum requirement. Don't let this happen to you! I resolved my issue by adding money to the account, and I intend to keep it open, as it gives me overdraft protection for my checking account, and I think that's worth having.

If you have a bank account with a minimum balance requirement that you've stopped using altogether, consider closing it. The last thing you need is for an automatic payment you set up long ago to be debited out of the account, leaving you below the minimum (or worse, overdrafting your account). If your bank charges monthly maintenance fees, you could end up below the balance requirement that way, too, if your balance was already on the low side.

2. Your bank could slowly drain the money away

Let some more time go by without using that account, and you could find your bank slowly eating away at whatever money is left. According to Forbes, government regulations determine what happens to unused bank accounts, so the way banks get around losing control of those accounts is to charge inactivity fees. This either leads to the account holder noticing that the bank is taking their money, or eventually the bank fees will bring the account balance down to $0 -- at which point, the bank will just close the account due to inactivity. Don't let this happen to you. Keep your money and close the account on your own terms.

3. You probably need the money in an unused account

Chances are, you need every dollar these days to account for rising costs. So if you think you may have an extra bank account lying around that still has some cash in it, it's a good idea to transfer that money to an account you do use, and then formally close the account. Your bills, emergency fund, and debt repayments will all thank you.

Be careful

A quick word of caution if you've just remembered an old bank account that you no longer use and can now close: If the account is overdrawn, you'll need to settle up with the bank before closing the account. While closing a bank account that's in good standing won't impact your credit score (banks don't report account activity to the credit bureaus), if you're in the red and don't pay your bank back, it could send the debt to collections, which will hit your credit report.

You might also get reported to ChexSystems, a reporting agency that collects banking information on consumers. If you end up with too many black marks with ChexSystems, you may find yourself unable to open new bank accounts in the future. So proceed with caution and be sure to pay off any money you owe the bank. And if you struggle with overdrafting your account, there are ways to break free.

There's no reason to keep a bank account you no longer use. Transfer any remaining money out of it and close it, so you can forget about it for good.

These savings accounts are FDIC insured and could earn you 11x your bank

Many people are missing out on guaranteed returns as their money languishes in a big bank savings account earning next to no interest. Our picks of the best online savings accounts could earn you 11x the national average savings account rate. Click here to uncover the best-in-class accounts that landed a spot on our short list of the best savings accounts for 2024.

Two of our top online savings account picks:

Rates as of May 21, 2024 Ratings Methodology
Advertisement
SoFi Checking and Savings Barclays Online Savings
Member FDIC. Member FDIC.
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor

APY: up to 4.60%

APY: 4.35%

Min. to earn APY: $0

Min. to earn APY: $0

Our Research Expert

Related Articles

View All Articles Learn More Link Arrow