Can You Be Denied a Bank Account? It Happened to Me
- You'd think getting a bank account would be easy.
- For some reason, my recent application went nowhere.
Getting a bank account apparently isn't guaranteed.
Even though I've used the same bank for many years and am pretty happy with it, I'm occasionally tempted to open another account when a great offer hits my radar. That's what happened earlier this year. I saw that if I opened a checking account and deposited a certain amount of money, I'd be entitled to a bonus worth several hundred dollars. Since that would effectively mean getting free cash, I figured I might as well snag it.
But my free cash never arrived -- namely, because my bank account application was never approved. And to this day, I don't really know why.
A strange banking situation
When you apply for a new credit card or loan, you can be denied on the basis of having poor credit. And that makes sense, since you're asking to borrow money.
When you apply to open a bank account, you're not borrowing money -- you're simply asking for a place to keep yours. And so usually, it's not difficult to get approved for a bank account.
That's why what happened to me is so puzzling. First of all, I happen to have great credit, so that shouldn't have been an issue either way. But also, I had enough cash to meet this bank's checking account bonus requirement -- so I'm not sure why it didn't want my money.
Here's a timeline of what went down:
- In early February, I applied for this checking account online and got an automated email saying my application was under review, and that I'd hear something shortly.
- About two weeks later, I called the bank to follow up since I hadn't heard anything. I was told someone would call me within the week to update me on my application.
- In mid-March, after having not heard back, I called again and was told the same thing.
- In late March, almost two months after submitting my application, I called (this time a little more angrily) and asked to know what was going on. The person I spoke to tried to be helpful but couldn't give me much information. She said that for some reason, my application was flagged and couldn't be processed. She said she would escalate the issue to her supervisor and that someone would call me back within 48 hours. Not shockingly, that didn't happen.
At this point, it's pretty clear that I'm just not meant to have that bank account, and I don't really feel compelled to sink more time into following up. While it's a shame to lose out that good bonus when I have the money to qualify for it, I can also just wait for a similar offer to pop up and try to jump on it -- and hope I don't run into a repeat issue.
In fact, at this point, I don't want to give my business to that bank because clearly its customer service leaves much to be desired. And also, if it can't get it together to process a simple checking account application, I'd hate to see how it would handle (or not handle) a major issue like fraudulent account access or a mistaken account freeze.
All told, I'm telling myself I dodged a bullet by not opening that account. And while I no longer want it, I would like to know what the problem was that prevented me from getting approved. That may, however, have to just get chalked up to one of life's many mysteries.
These savings accounts are FDIC insured and could earn you 12x 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 can earn you 11x the national average savings account rate. Click here to uncover the best-in-class picks that landed a spot on our shortlist of the best savings accounts for 2023.
Our Research Expert
We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 - 2023 The Ascent. All rights reserved.