12 Best Wishlist Apps to Help You Plan for Holiday Shopping

Using a wishlist app can be an excellent way to stay organized when planning holiday shopping. Wishlist apps allow you to create shopping lists and check off purchases as you make them. Some of the best wishlist apps can also make it easier to track price changes for items on your list from different stores.

If you’re gearing up for the holidays (or planning to shop for any other special occasion), there are several wishlist apps you might consider using to make the task easier.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the benefits of wishlist apps and smart picks if you decide to use them.

Why Use a Wishlist App?

Wishlist apps can help to simplify holiday shopping in a number of ways. While the features of individual apps may vary, the benefits are largely the same.

For instance, a wishlist app can help you to:

•   Organize shopping lists for the holidays or any other special occasion.

•   Plan, set, and hopefully stick to a budget for shopping so that you’re not draining your checking account.

•   Track pricing changes for the various items on your list so you can find the best deals.

Wishlist apps can also keep you from wasting money on the wrong gifts (a sweater that’s too big or not quite the right Lego set) or on impulse buys.

If friends and family use wishlist apps to set up a preferred gift list for themselves, they can share it with you. You can then choose which gifts to buy from their list. This can help ensure that you’re giving them something they truly want or need; say, not just any boots but exactly the pair they’re hoping for. And you can set up a shareable wishlist for yourself so that friends and family also know what to buy for you.

💡 Quick Tip: An online bank account with SoFi can help your money earn more — up to 4.60% APY, with no minimum balance required.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Best Wishlist Apps for Shopping in 2023

There are lots of wishlist apps available for download, but some may prove more valuable to you than others. When comparing wishlist apps, it’s helpful to consider such factors as:

•   The range of features offered

•   Shareability

•   Whether fees are involved in their use (all of the ones on the list below are free).

With those things in mind, here are some of the best wishlist app options to consider when trying to shop affordably for the holidays.

1. Giftful

•   Website: https://giftful.com

•   Available on: Android, iOS

•   Cost: Free

•   Age rating: Everyone

Giftful can make it easy to set up wishlists and share them with friends and family. To create a wishlist for yourself, you can simply add links to items from around the web. People who view your wishlist can browse items and if they decide to make a purchase, click “Claim” in the app to let others know they plan to buy it.

You can do the same for friends and family who have created their own Giftful wishlist. Giftful believes in the value of surprises, so you won’t be able to see who’s claimed items on your list and friends and family won’t be able to see what you’ve claimed from their lists.

2. Wishupon

•   Website: https://wishupon.company

•   Available on: Android, iOS

•   Cost: Free

•   Age rating: Everyone

Wishupon is a universal shopping wishlist app that can be used for the holidays or any other time when you need to track gifts (such as birthdays or wedding season).

Users can create wishlists when they browse any online store through the Wishupon mobile app. You can also add items to your wishlist with just a click if you’re window shopping online using the Wishupon browser extension for Google Chrome. Wishlists are shareable on Snapchat, Messenger, and social media.

There are two other features you may also enjoy. Wishupon sends you notifications when the price of an item on a saved or shared wishlist drops (this can help you save money daily during the holiday season). You can also organize your wishlist into different collections, which can make it easier to separate holiday shopping from other occasions.

3. Giftbuster

•   Website: https://giftbuster.com

•   Available on: Android, iOS

•   Cost: Free

•   Age rating: Everyone

Giftbuster allows users to set up one wishlist or multiple lists for different people in your household. For example, if you’re married, you might have one wishlist for yourself, one for your spouse, and one for each of your kids if you have children.

You can instantly save links to any product from any store with just one click and share wishlists with everyone in your friends or family circle. Giftbuster sends notifications for price drops as well as deal alerts to help you avoid paying retail. You can also get access to special promo codes which can deliver added savings on the things you plan to buy.

4. Giftwhale

•   Website: https://giftful.com

•   Available on: Android, iOS

•   Cost: Free

•   Age rating: Everyone

Giftwhale is a fun way to create wishlists for the holidays, including Secret Santa lists. You can set up a wishlist for yourself and add links to items from any store. You can then share your list with friends and family so they know exactly what to buy. They can share their own lists with you as well.

There’s a chat feature that allows you to exchange gift-giving ideas with friends and family, which is hidden from the wishlist’s creators. That can be a plus if you want to avoid confusion about who will buy which gifts from their list. It also makes holiday shopping more social, which can add to the fun.

Here’s another cool feature: Giftwhale makes it easy for wishlist creators to send a thoughtful thank you note to each person who purchases an item from their list.

5. Things to Get Me

•   Website: https://thingstogetme.com

•   Available on: Android, iOS

•   Cost: Free

•   Age rating: Everyone

Things to Get Me is a universal wishlist app that includes some helpful features shoppers might appreciate. For example, you can:

•   Create curated lists for each special occasion you plan to shop for

•   Personalize your lists with different themes

•   Share your lists with individual people or groups that you create

•   Collect cash with a money fund if you’d prefer that to a tangible gift (available in the U.S., U.K., and Europe only)

•   Receive gifts from people without having to share your mailing address publicly.

You can use Things to Get Me to shop through the mobile app or online using the free browser plugin.

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6. Giftster

•   Website: https://giftster.com

•   Available on: Android, iOS

•   Cost: Free

•   Age rating: Everyone

Giftster is a free private gift registry that’s designed for families. You can create a registry and invite family members to join. Everyone who receives an invite can view the registry at any time to make gift giving for the holidays or any other reason easier.

Members can add links to items to the registry from any store. Any purchases that are made from the list are hidden from the listmaker. If your family follows an annual tradition of doing a Secret Santa gift exchange, you can set that up in the app, and Giftster will automatically draw names for each member.

7. Listery

•   Website: https://listery.app

•   Available on: Android, iOS

•   Cost: Free

•   Age rating: Everyone

Listery is a free mobile app that allows users to create gift wishlists and share them with people in their contacts circle. There’s no limit to the number of lists you can create. You can also set up hidden lists of items that you’d like to buy for yourself that no one else on the app would be able to view.

When you set up group lists, you can designate those as public or private view. When an occasion is drawing closer, Listery will send you a reminder to let you know it’s approaching. That can help you avoid waiting until the last minute (or even hitting the stores on Christmas Eve) to purchase a gift from someone’s list.

Recommended: When Is the Best Time to Book Holiday Travel?

8. WishList

•   Website: https://wishlist.com

•   Available on: Android, iOS

•   Cost: Free

•   Age rating: Everyone

WishList is a wishlist app and gift registry that allows users to set up lists for any occasion. When you create a list, you can add items to it from any store using the WishList mobile app or online with the Chrome browser extension. Wishlists can be shared among friends and family. Bonus: The app has a search feature that lets you find users using their name or email.

Lists can be curated by theme or collection, so you might have one list for holiday shopping, another for birthdays, and a third for the bedroom makeover you’re planning. Users can set up lists for specific gifts they’d like to receive or general lists of things they’re into to offer some gift-giving inspiration for friends and family.

Recommended: How Much Holiday Lights Cost to Run

9. Elfster

•   Website: https://elfster.com

•   Available on: Android, iOS

•   Cost: Free

•   Age rating: Everyone

Elfster is a wishlist app that’s designed especially for Christmas and holiday shopping. Users can create personalized wishlists, review lists from friends and family, and browse the latest gift trends online.

The app also has a Secret Santa generator feature that makes it easier to plan a holiday gift exchange. You can invite friends, family members, or coworkers to Elfster via text or email. Elfster draws names for you and assigns everyone on the list a Secret Santa gift to buy.

10. Wish Explorer

•   Website: https://wishexplorer.com

•   Available on: Android, iOS

•   Cost: Free

•   Age rating: Everyone

Wish Explorer allows users to create and share wishlists for holiday shopping, weddings, birthdays, and other events. One of the best features of the app is the option to organize lists and make notes so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything when it’s time to shop.

It’s easy to add items to lists while shopping online, or you can also import items manually. When you’re browsing the lists of friends or family members, you can tag items as “reserved” or “bought” to let other shoppers know you’re already purchasing that item. That means no duplicate presents, which can help save money on the holidays and minimize frustration.

11. DreamList

•   Website: https://dreamlist.com

•   Available on: Android, iOS

•   Cost: Free

•   Age rating: Everyone

DreamList is a wishlist app and gift registry with a twist. While the app allows you to set up gift lists for holiday shopping and other occasions, users can also create lists for other purposes.

For example, you can set up wishlists for meaningful experiences you’d like to share with friends, family members, or significant others. You could also ask for cash donations to help fund a specific goal or dream, like planning for a vacation. It’s free to set up wishlists or gift registries, and you can create a group list for the entire family.

12. Moonsift

•   Website: https://moonsift.com

•   Available on: Android, iOS

•   Cost: Free

•   Age rating: Everyone

Moonsift makes it easy to browse and create curated collections of items you’d like to buy. You can set up a universal wishlist and add items through the Moonsift app or online with the free browser extension. It’s designed to let you simply add products from any store and share collections with friends and family.

You can view items from lists that have been shared with you. Another cool feature: Moonsift sends price drop alerts to let you know when there are deals to be had. You can also track what’s already been purchased from a listmaker’s list to avoid buying duplicate items.

The Takeaway

The holidays can be one of the busiest times of year, and having to keep up with a lengthy shopping list might only add to the strain. Wishlist apps can take the guesswork out of deciding what to buy for the people you plan to shop for (and ensure that you’re getting gifts you actually want). More importantly, using a wishlist app can help you stay on budget so that you’re not putting unnecessary stress on your checking or savings account.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What are wishlist apps?

Wishlist apps are applications that allow users to create lists of gifts they’d like to receive. They can then share those lists with friends, family members, or coworkers, as well as view lists that have been shared with them.

Can you create gift wishlists without an app?

In addition to wishlist apps, you might also be able to create gift wishlists with your favorite retailers, such as an Amazon wishlist. You could also use Pinterest to curate items you’d like to buy for yourself or gift ideas for others. And there’s always pencil and paper or email as options to share this info.

What’s the difference between a wishlist and a gift registry?

Wishlists, including the kind created using a wishlist app, allow viewers to see which items the listmaker would most like to have. Viewers can then decide which items to purchase, if any. Gift registries work the same way, but are typically store-specific.


Photo credit: iStock/Anchiy

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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How Long Should Bank Statements Be Kept

How long you should keep bank statements will depend on several factors, such as whether you need them for tax filing purposes or as proof of financial transactions.

Typically, it’s best to keep them until you’ve successfully filed your taxes or no longer need them as a form of financial proof. That could mean hanging onto them for a year or considerably longer, though keep in mind it is often possible to access bank statements online vs. keeping a paper copy.

Here, you’ll learn more about:

•  What is in a bank statement

•  How long you should keep bank statements

•  Why you should keep bank statements

•  What you should do with older bank statements.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


What’s in a Bank Statement?

A bank statement is a document created by your bank that shows you details about your banking activity — such as for a savings or checking account — for a specific account over a specified period of time, like a month.

Information you’ll find on your bank statement can help you manage your bank account and may include:

•  The reporting or length of your statement period

•  Personal details such as your name and bank account number or type

•  The interest rates, or annual percentage rate (APY), you earn for that particular account

•  The amount of interest earned

•  Any fees you may have paid during the reporting period

•  Deposits, withdrawals, and other transfers (including the amounts) during the reporting period

•  Ending balance at the end of the reporting period.

The purpose of a bank statement is to help you understand exactly what is happening with your bank account and keep track of what is going in and coming out.

How Do You Receive Bank Statements?

You can receive paper or electronic bank statements.

With paper bank statements, your financial institution will mail you a copy each month, or you can head to your local branch (if you have the option) and request one. Electronic statements are either sent via email or secure messaging.

Or you can log into your online account and look at or download a copy for your files.

Recommended: What Is a Debit Card?

Benefits of Keeping Bank Statements

The main benefit of keeping bank statements is that you have a record of any income, deductions, or other forms of transactions ready for tax time or when applying for a loan. It’s also helpful for you to track your banking activity to help spot any potential fraud. How long do you keep bank statements? Typically, at least a year or until tax time.

Here, more specifics about why doing so is a good idea.

Refer to Them at Tax Time

You want to be sure you have accurate numbers when it comes to filing your taxes, and having bank statements makes it easier to do your calculations. It can be especially helpful if you’re self-employed and are reporting income and business expenses.

Though you may not need to hang onto your bank statements after 12 months, it may make sense to hold onto them for three years (or even up to seven) in case you get audited or need information so you can file an amended tax return. In fact, there are IRS guidelines on how long you should hang onto your bank statements depending on your financial and tax scenario.

Provide Proof of Payment

You can use your bank statements to track any payments you’ve made in case there are any issues. For example, if your lender believes you missed your monthly mortgage payment, you can provide them with a copy of your bank statement to show the transaction went through.

Or, if you’re unsure whether your employer paid out your semi-annual bonus, you can look at your bank statement to make sure they did. If not, you can show this documentation when you contact your payroll department.

Some lenders for various loan applications may also want to take a look at your bank statements for proof of income purposes.

How long should your bank statements be kept for this specific reason is up to you. Keep in mind that banks are only legally required to keep them on record for at least five years. If you want to hang onto them for longer, it’s best to download or save a copy for your own records.

Spot Fraud or Identity Theft

If you’re concerned about fraudulent transactions or just want to keep an eye on your bank account, regularly reviewing your bank statements gives you insights into your account. It can help you spot any suspicious activity. The sooner you can see these types of transactions, the sooner you can report them to your bank and get matters resolved.

Recommended: How Many Bank Accounts Should You Have?

Where to Keep Bank Statements

It may seem like it’s not necessary to keep your own copies of statements since your bank is legally required to keep them for at least five years. However, it may make sense to have your own copies in case you need them quickly or you want to be able to access them whenever you want. As mentioned above, how many years of bank statements you keep is up to you, but at least a year’s worth can be a wise move.

Paper Bank Statements

You’ll need to find physical space if you want to store paper statements. Depending on how many you have, you can use a small filing folder or filing cabinet. Consider separating them by the type — such as a personal savings account vs. checking account statements — and year.

To help make papers easier to find, file your statements in chronological order.

Electronic Bank Statements

Electronic statements don’t require as much physical space, which can be an advantage of online banking, but you will need a device to house them. Yes, you can simply store them on your computer or laptop’s hard drive, but it may be worth considering having a backup just in case your computer crashes or gets lost. You can purchase portable hard drives; there are many affordable options out there.

Otherwise, you could consider storing statements on one device and also confirming with the bank how long it keeps bank statements as a backup plan. You can then download bank statements as needed for as long as the bank still has them on file.

What to Do With Older Bank Statements

If you no longer need your bank statements, you’ll want to dispose of them safely and securely. That’s because they contain sensitive information that you don’t want going into the wrong hands.

Shredding Your Documents

You can shred your documents to protect your sensitive information by either purchasing your own shredder or heading to your local office supply store and paying for professional shredding. (Some communities may offer free paper shredding days at credit unions and local organizations, often around tax time.)

Completely Delete Electronic Copies

If you have electronic copies, make sure to delete them from your computer and any backup sources. Check your computer’s recycle bin or other folders to ensure they’re completely wiped from your device.

The Takeaway

Keeping bank statements is an important part of your overall financial health. It can help you with tasks such as accurately filing tax returns and providing proof of payment. Whether you keep hard copies or electronic statements securely, they can enhance your personal finance management.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

How many months’ worth of bank statements do you need to keep?

It’s generally recommended that you hold onto your bank statements for 12 months or longer if you need them for auditing purposes.

Is it OK to throw away old bank statements?

You can get rid of old bank statements that you no longer need. However, you want to dispose of them securely (often by shredding them) since they contain sensitive information.

Do banks destroy records after 7 years?

Banks are legally required to keep records for at least five years, and they may not hang onto them for seven years. If you’re unsure, contact your bank to find out if you would have access to your statements after seven years.


Photo credit: iStock/fizkes

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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Guide to Bank Account Closure Letters

From time to time, it may be necessary to close a bank account. Depending on your bank’s policy, you may need to submit an account closure letter to make it final.

A bank account closure letter is simply a written request to have one or more accounts at a financial institution closed. If you have to submit a bank letter to close an account, you may have the option to mail it in or return it in person at a branch.

Knowing how to write a letter to close a bank account can ensure that you’re not leaving any loose ends behind if you decide to move your money elsewhere. Here, you’ll learn:

•  What is a bank account closure letter?

•  Are bank closure letters required?

•  What must a bank closure letter include?

•  What do sample bank closure letters look like?

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What Is a Bank Letter to Close an Account?

A bank account closure letter is a letter you write to your bank or credit union asking them to close your account. If you’re closing a savings account at one bank so you can open a new account elsewhere, for example, the bank might ask you to do so in writing.

Writing a letter to close a bank account can ensure that it’s actually closed and that no new deposits or withdrawals can be made. You can write a closing bank account letter to your bank for one account that you have there or for all of them. You can also specify where the bank should forward any remaining money in the account(s).

If you write a bank account closure letter, it’s still a good idea to confirm that the account is closed and update account information for any automatic payments or direct deposits you have set up. Otherwise, you could end up reopening a closed bank account by accident if the bank allows new deposit or credit transactions to post.

Recommended: What Happens If a Direct Deposit Goes to a Closed Account?

How Do Bank Closure Letters Work?

Bank account closure letters work by directing the bank to close any accounts that you specify in the letter. Your bank may have an account closing letter template or form that you can download from its website or pick up at a branch. If not, you can draft your own bank closure letter by including the required information.

Once you submit a bank closure letter to the bank, they’re supposed to close the account or accounts listed in the letter. Any other accounts not listed in the letter should not be affected.

A bank closing letter may or may not need to be notarized. If your bank requires notarization, you may be able to have the bank notary witness your signature at a branch. Bank notary services are usually free for existing customers.

Note that if you have a joint bank account, both of you may need to sign the letter for account closing.

Are Bank Closure Letters Required?

Whether you need to provide a letter to close a bank account or not can depend on the bank. It’s possible that you may be able to close a bank account over the phone or at a branch, without having to submit anything in writing.

You may be more likely to need a written bank account closure letter if there are special reasons for the closure. For example, a letter may be necessary if you:

•  Were named as a beneficiary to a bank account and are closing it after the death of the primary account owner.

•  Are going through a divorce and it’s necessary to close the account to divide assets.

•  Need to close an account for someone who’s passed away and you’re acting as their executor.

Your bank or credit union should be able to tell you when, if ever, a bank account closure letter might be needed. If a letter is necessary, your bank may also be able to provide you with a template or, at the very least, tell you what information you’ll need to include.

Recommended: How to Automate Your Finances

Bank Letter to Close an Account Sample

Bank closure letter templates can vary from bank to bank, but they generally include the same information. If you’re wondering what you can expect, here are a few sample bank account closing letters that you can use as a guide for what to include.

•  Heritage Bank account closing letter

•  First Bank of Highland Park account closing letter

•  Bank of America account closing letter template .

Again, not all banks offer a set template for a bank closing letter. U.S. Bank, for example, directs customers to mail in written requests but doesn’t provide a standard form for doing so.

How to Write an Account Closure Letter?

If you need to write an account closure letter to close a bank account, the process is fairly straightforward. The letter doesn’t need to be long; usually just one page will suffice. But your letter does need to include the right information, as follows:

Basic Information

The first thing to include is some basic information that’s common to any business letter. So, at the top you’ll write:

•  Name of the bank

•  Bank address

•  The date.

You can also add a separate line underneath that referencing what the letter is about. For example, you might add a line that says RE: Account closure for [your name].

After the initial information, you can follow up with the greeting. You can use Dear Banker or To Whom It May Concern if you’re not sure who will receive the letter.

Closure Request

Next, you’ll want to specify what you’re writing about. So, you might say something like:

“Dear Banker,
I’m writing to request the closure of the following accounts at your bank. Please close the account(s) listed below and forward a check for the remaining balance(s) to the address listed below. If you have any questions regarding this request, you can contact me in writing or by phone at XXX-XXX-XXX.”

You don’t need to go into detail about why you’re closing a bank account. If your banker asks, you can provide them with an explanation, but you shouldn’t be required to do so.

Account Information

After making the closure request, you’ll need to tell the bank which accounts to close. Specifically, you can include the following:

•  Account name(s) or type(s)

•  Account number(s)

Once you’ve listed out the accounts, you can ask the bank to send a written confirmation that your request was received and the accounts have been closed. The final step is to sign and date the letter so you can submit it to the bank.

Opening a Bank Account With SoFi

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Which documents are required to close a bank account?

If you’d like to close a bank account, all you might need is a bank account closure letter. Additional documents, such as a divorce decree or a death certificate, may be needed to close bank accounts that you own jointly or that belonged to someone else in the circumstances of a divorce or death.

Can you close a bank account without going to the bank?

If your bank allows you to close accounts online or over the phone, it’s possible to do so without setting foot in a branch. You can contact customer service to find out what options you have for closing a bank account and whether a bank closure letter might be required.

What constitutes proof of bank account closure?

It’s a good idea to get a written confirmation from your bank that an account is closed. That way, if there are any issues with the closure later, you have a paper trail to show that the bank acknowledged your request.


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SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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Guide to Passbook Accounts

Today, it’s common to check your savings account balance on your smartphone, send money to a friend after they covered the cost of lunch, or snap a picture of a paper check to make a mobile deposit. But before the advent of the internet and smartphones, banking was done in person, and people used pen and paper to keep track of everything.

One of the relics of that time period is the passbook savings account. While most consumers now have a traditional or online savings account, passbook savings accounts are still in use today. And, depending on your financial and personal style, it might be an option that you find useful.

But what is a passbook savings account, how do they work, and why would anyone want to open one? We’ll dive in below.

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Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


What Is a Passbook Savings Account?

A passbook savings account is a type of savings account that comes with a notebook or ledger (called a passbook) to track your deposits and withdrawals.

Unlike other bank accounts, which may allow you to take out funds at an ATM, transfer money electronically, and check your balance online, a passbook account requires in-person transactions at the bank or credit union, with a physical log of the activity.

Recommended: How Many Bank Accounts Should I Have?

How Do Passbook Savings Accounts Work?

Before computers, consumers had to visit their local bank branch to deposit or withdraw cash from their savings account. Period. They’d bring their physical passbook with them, and the bank teller would update the passbook with information about the transaction and their new balance.

Nowadays, most consumers choose traditional savings accounts or online savings accounts. While they may still be able to visit banks in person, they can also monitor their accounts online, move money electronically, and swing by the ATM to make deposits and withdrawals.

But passbook accounts are still around. While the bank tellers now handle things electronically, consumers are still issued a physical passbook and must visit the branch in person to withdraw and deposit cash.

Why would someone want this kind of account today?

•  People might choose passbook accounts because of the added requirement of visiting in person. If they consider themselves bad with money, this process could make it harder to irresponsibly withdraw and spend their money.

•  Others might like having more control over — and insight into — their finances.

•  Some consumers may appreciate the added layer of security since it would be harder for a criminal to drain the account.

Pros and Cons of Passbook Savings Accounts

Passbook accounts are hard to come by these days, but it’s not impossible to open one. Just as there are pros and cons to online banking, so too are there benefits and downsides to a passbook savings account, such as:

Pros of Passbook Accounts

Cons of Passbook Accounts

Less temptation to spend your savingsInconvenient to access money
Enhanced feeling of control over your accountPotentially low annual percentage yield (APY) compared to online savings accounts, depending on the institution
Added layer of security by requiring in-person transactionsRequires safekeeping of physical ledger
Ideal for people who aren’t good with computersChallenges if you relocate to a place without branch access

Passbook Accounts vs. Savings Accounts

In many ways, passbook accounts and savings accounts are similar, but they also have several notable differences. Let’s break down how they’re alike — and how they’re not.

Similarities

Consider these points:

•  Both savings and passbook savings accounts are deposit accounts that are meant for saving, not spending. Over time, you should expect your money to grow unless you withdraw funds for major purchases, like a house down payment.

•  That means both types of savings accounts earn interest, though the amount they earn can vary. Some traditional savings accounts may earn as little as 0.01% interest while high-yield online accounts may earn significantly more, such as over 4% as of mid-2023.

Passbook savings accounts generally can’t compete with high-yield online accounts, but you’d need to check with specific banks to know what interest you’d earn.

•  Like traditional savings accounts, passbook accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to $250,000 per depositor, per ownership category, per insured institution.

If the account is at a credit union, it would have the same level of insurance, but from the National Credit Union Association or NCUA vs. FDIC.

Differences

While savings accounts and passbook savings accounts have the same purpose — saving money and earning interest — how these accounts work is quite different:

•  Access to funds: With a traditional savings account, you can generally access your funds in person or at an ATM. Most accounts now let you manage your money online as well, meaning you can transfer money between accounts with the click of a button. With a passbook savings account, you must visit a branch in person.

•  Monitoring your account: Similarly, traditional bank accounts send monthly statements, on paper or online. With most banks nowadays, you can access your account details at any time online via a computer or smartphone.

With a passbook account, however, all the information lives in the physical passbook, and you’ll only update it at the bank when making transactions. Note: Some banks, like First Republic, may now let account holders check information online.

Are Passbook Savings Accounts Still in Use?

Though passbook accounts are uncommon, they’re still in use today. You can open a passbook account at certain local and regional banks. Some examples of financial institutions still offering passbook accounts include:

•  Middlesex Savings Bank (Massachusetts)

•  Union Bank (Vermont and New Hampshire)

•  Cathay Bank (largely California, but other locations in Washington, Texas, Illinois, and New England)

•  Naveo Credit Union (Massachusetts)

•  Dollar Bank (Northeast Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and parts of Virginia and Maryland).

Recommended: How to Switch Banks

The Takeaway

Passbook savings accounts are less common today with the advent of computers and online banking. While most consumers would prefer electronic access to their account, passbook accounts offer unique perks for people who prefer to bank exclusively in person. It may be a good way for them to manage their money.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Do any banks still have passbook accounts?

Some banks still offer passbook accounts. Passbook savings accounts are less common today, as most consumers prefer to manage their money online. That said, some local and regional banks and credit unions in your area may offer passbook savings account options.

What is a disadvantage of a passbook savings account?

A major disadvantage of passbook savings accounts is that you can’t access your money electronically. You have to go to a branch in person to withdraw or deposit funds. You usually can’t even get an account summary online; instead, your physical passbook is the only source of information you have about the account.

What is the interest rate on a passbook savings account?

Interest rates on passbook savings accounts will vary by financial institution, but they’re sometimes competitive with traditional savings accounts. That said, they are often less than high-yield online savings accounts. Remember that you’ll want to choose a bank that is geographically convenient, as you’ll have to visit in person to access your money.


Photo credit: iStock/LaylaBird

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Guide to Bank Notaries and What They Do

Notaries witness the signing of legal and financial documents and certify them as being valid. If you need to have documents notarized (say, you are working your way through mortgage paperwork), you may be able to have that done at your bank or credit union.

A bank notary can review your documents with you, verify the identity of all signers, and witness the signing. In other words, they can help you make your paperwork official. Do all banks have a notary? Not necessarily, but many financial institutions offer this service to their customers, typically for free.

Learn more about what a bank notary is, when you might need their services, where else to find a notary public, and how much getting a document notarized will likely cost.

What Is a Bank Notary?

A notary or notary public is an appointed official who’s authorized by the state government to witness the signing of documents and verify the validity of the signatures. It’s a notary’s job to ensure that the signers of a document are not acting under duress and that they are who they say they are.

A bank notary performs those services in a banking setting. Like other notaries, bank notaries must complete the required training that’s mandated by state law in order to receive a commission.

Any bank employee who meets the eligibility requirements can complete notary training. This can include tellers, loan officers, or investment bankers. When picking a bank, you might want to check to see if notaries are available. It can be convenient to have that service available at your financial institution when the need for a notary crops up.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


How Notarization Works

When a document is notarized, it means that it’s been reviewed by and signed in front of a notary. Notarization is designed to ensure that the document and the signatures on it are not fraudulent and that the individuals who sign do so of their own free will and are not under duress.

The notarization process involves three steps:

•  It starts with the initial review of the document and vetting of the signers. If you take a document to a bank notary to be signed, they’ll check your ID (and the ID of any other signers present), and ask questions to make sure you know what you’re signing and that you’re not being pressured or forced to do so.

•  Next, the notary will look at the document itself to ensure that it meets the requirements for notarization. For example, some states require that documents being notarized have no blank spaces in order to prevent fraud.

•  Once the notary verifies your identity and scans the document, you’ll sign it in front of them. They’ll then complete a notarial certificate, add their seal to the document, and record the notarization.

There is one thing notaries cannot do, and that’s offer legal or financial advice.

What Do Bank Notaries Do?

Bank notaries are responsible for notarizing documents for the bank’s customers. Credit unions can also employ notaries to notarize documents. It’s one of the benefits of local banking.

But what do banks notarize? There are several different types of notarizations that banks can handle.

Jurats

A jurat is a type of notarial act that applies to documents relating to civil or criminal proceedings. You may need a bank notary for a jurat notarization if you’re signing something like a financial affidavit for a divorce proceeding. A financial affidavit is an official statement of your income, assets, and debts. A court can use that document as a guide when determining what to award in child support or alimony.

Certified Copies

Bank notaries can issue notarizations for certified copies of official documents. For example, say that after getting divorced you started a new job and began contributing to a 401(k). You later change jobs and want to cash out the money that you saved in the plan. Your 401(k) plan manager might ask for a certified copy of a divorce decree before releasing the money to you.

Acknowledgements

An acknowledgement notarization may be required for documents that specify the transfer of assets or financial authority from one person to another. For example, say that your aging mother wants to name you their power of attorney as part of the estate planning process. A bank notary could certify the document and witness both your signatures in acknowledgement that the two of you have an agreement and no one is acting under duress.

Are Bank Notaries Free?

Notaries can charge fees for their services, but banks may offer notarization for free to their customers. So, if you have a checking account, savings account, or CD account with the bank, you should be able to get notarization services without paying anything. Or if you have a share draft account at a credit union, you might get notary services for free.

Can a bank notarize a document for someone who is not a customer? Certainly, but you might pay a fee to get a document notarized if you don’t have an account there. The good news is that notary services typically aren’t that expensive.

What you’ll pay for notary services, if you have to pay, will depend on state law. Each state has its own guidelines for what notaries can charge and there may be different fees for different types of notarial acts. Generally speaking, you may pay anywhere from $2.50 to $25 to have a document notarized if you’re not able to get it done for free at your bank.

Recommended: Benefits of Automating Your Finances

How Do You Know If Your Bank Has a Notary?

Do banks have notaries? Yes, but not all of them. It’s possible that your bank may not offer notary services. Fortunately, there are a few ways to find out whether your bank has a notary. For instance, you could:

•  Ask in person at a branch

•  Call, email, or otherwise contact your local branch

•  Check the bank’s website

•  Review your account agreement.

What if you have accounts at an online bank? You won’t be able to visit a branch to get documents notarized in person, though your bank might offer electronic notarization online. That’s something to consider if you’re debating whether to choose traditional vs. online banking to manage your money.

Other Places to Find a Notary

Banks are not the only place that you can get notary services. If you need to get a document notarized and your bank doesn’t offer notary services, you can also try:

•  Office supply stores

•  Shipping or mailing stores

•  Law firms or law offices

•  Accountant or tax preparer’s offices

•  Real estate offices

•  Local Department of Motor Vehicles office

•  Insurance agencies

•  AAA

•  Public libraries.

Again, just keep in mind that you might have to pay a fee to get a document notarized at any of these locations.

You may be able to find an independent notary near you who is willing to travel to your home or workplace to notarize documents. There are also remote notary services that offer electronic notarization, though these may not be considered valid in every state.

Recommended: Building a Line Item Budget

The Takeaway

A bank notary isn’t something you might need on a regular basis, but it’s good to know that you have access to one if you have a document that requires notarization. If you’re shopping for a new bank and don’t necessarily need branch banking, you might consider taking your accounts online.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What is bank notarization?

Bank notarization is the process of getting documents notarized at a bank. A bank notary can complete different notarial acts to certify the signature of legal or financial documents. Bank notarization is often offered free of charge to banking customers.

Can local banks notarize documents?

Local banks can notarize documents if they have at least one notary on staff. Bank notaries, like other notaries, must receive a commission from the state in order to witness signatures and certify them on documents.

Where can I get notarized for free?

You can likely get documents notarized for free at your bank if the bank offers that service to customers. If you get documents notarized at other locations, such as shipping stores or office supply stores, you may have to pay a fee for notarization services.



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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.

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