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Guide to Reopening a Closed Bank Account

By Kelly Boyer Sagert · March 15, 2022 · 6 minute read

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Guide to Reopening a Closed Bank Account

Sometimes, an account holder may decide to close a bank account and then later change their mind. Other times, a bank may close an account — perhaps one that the customer wanted to keep open. In either case, the question may arise: “Can you reopen a closed bank account? If so, what are the steps?”

This post will answer those questions for some of the more typical situations that could lead to having a closed bank account that you’d like to reopen.

Why Might You Need to Close a Bank Account?

Account holders may decide to close a bank account for a variety of reasons, including the following:

•   No longer needing the account

•   Moving to a new location

•   Lack of convenience

•   Dissatisfaction with the account

•   Issues meeting minimum requirements

Here’s more about each.

No Longer Needing the Account

Sometimes, you simply might not need a bank account anymore. For example, if you’d set up a separate savings account to save enough money for a down payment on a house or for a vacation, after you’ve accomplished those goals, you might decide that you don’t need multiple bank accounts anymore.

Moving to a New Location

If you’re moving to a new community that doesn’t have a branch of your financial institution nearby, you may decide to close your bank account and open a new one that’s more readily accessible in your new town. Moving doesn’t create a problem when someone banks solely online, but it can lead someone to switch banks if they prefer in-person options.

Lack of Convenience

Another potential reason someone might switch banks is due to a lack of convenience, such as a bank’s hours being incompatible with their schedule or the bank not having a widespread enough network of ATMs. When banking becomes inconvenient through a certain financial institution, that could spur someone to seek a more practical solution.

Dissatisfaction With the Account

Whether it’s poor customer service, a lack of desired services, or fees that are too high, customers sometimes close their accounts and go elsewhere because they aren’t satisfied with their current financial institution.

Issues Meeting Minimum Requirements

If a bank requires you to maintain a certain balance to keep the account open or to avoid hefty fees, an account holder may opt to close the account if they’re struggling to meet those requirements. By closing a savings account with a minimum balance that’s just out of reach, for instance, someone could avoid incurring fees each month when they don’t make the minimum balance requirement.

Is It Bad When a Bank Closes Your Account?

Whether it’s bad when a bank closes your account depends on why the bank closed it — and situations can vary. According to the governmental agency, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency , banks typically can close accounts for nearly any reason without providing notice.

That being said, common reasons why a bank may close an account can include:

•   Low or no activity: Banks may place an account in a dormant status after a certain period elapses with no transactions. When an account is dormant, it’s not technically closed, but the account owner is no longer able to make transactions. How long it might take for an account to go dormant depends on both state laws and a particular bank’s policies.

   After an account has been dormant for a period of time, a bank may close the account and forward the funds to the proper state government, labeling them as “unclaimed property.” At this point, you’d need to submit a claim to your state’s treasury office to obtain that money.

•   Suspicious activity: A bank will close an account if it has proven the account to be involved in fraudulent activity. When the bank initially suspects fraudulent behavior (whether the account holder was the perpetrator or the victim), the bank will likely freeze the account to investigate. Red flags can include large transactions, frequent account activity (especially if that activity is new or different), and transfers to overseas accounts.

•   Excessive overdrafts: If an account holder regularly spends more from an account than what’s available, this leads to negative balances and bounced checks. A bank can charge overdraft fees and require that the account holder bring in sufficient funds to return the account back to the minimum balance required. If that happens frequently or if funds are not restored, however, the bank may close the account.

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How Do You Reopen a Closed Bank Account?

If you’ve closed your account (rather than a bank doing so), you can typically submit a request to reopen your account. This can be done online, over the phone, or by visiting a branch in person, with the exact process varying depending on the specific financial institution.

Another option you have in this situation is to simply open a bank account that’s new, whether at your previous financial institution or at another one of your choice. When choosing your account, it’s worth exploring the different types of savings accounts you might consider.

On the other hand, if your account was closed by the bank, whether or not you can reopen it largely depends on the reason for the closure as well as your bank’s policies.

Tips for Reinstating a Troubled Account

In general, the first step in reinstating a troubled account is to talk to your financial institution about why your account was frozen, put into dormant status, or closed. Ask what you need to do to address the issues. You can also review your account agreement. If you believe that a bank wrongfully closed your account, you can file a written complaint .

Here’s guidance on how to reopen closed bank accounts in three scenarios.

Reopening a Dormant/Inactive Account

This is one of the simplest issues to address. If you receive a notification that your account is considered inactive or dormant, contact your bank to find out how to make it active again. The bank may allow you to make a deposit to the old account, or they may have you open a new bank account.

Reopening an Account After Closure Due to Excessive Overdraft

Financial institutions need to monitor their levels of risk and, if they close a bank account for excessive overdrafts, the account holder would need to talk to the bank to see if they are willing to reopen the old account or if they’d allow them to open a new one. Different banks will have different policies. You may be required to pay off your negative balance, sometimes within a specified timeframe, before you can reopen your account.

Reopening an Account Closed for Suspicious or Fraudulent Activities

If a bank believes that a customer is engaged in fraudulent behavior (rather than being a victim of it), then it may be difficult to reopen an account or to open a new one with the institution. Contact the financial institution and be prepared to demonstrate how any activity in your account that appeared suspicious was, in fact, not fraudulent or not your fault.

The Takeaway

Whether or not you can reopen a closed bank account largely depends on why it was closed in the first place. Sometimes, an account holder in good standing decides to close a bank account and later changes their mind. In that case, the financial institution will almost certainly allow them to have an account there again. Other times, the bank closed the account, perhaps because of excessive overdrafts, suspicious activity, or lack of use. In those instances, talk to the financial institution to see what steps you need to take.

If you’ve closed your account and are interested in starting fresh, you might look into an online checking and savings account with SoFi. You can get 2.00% APY, and there are no account or overdraft fees.

Get started with SoFi® Bank, N.A. today.

FAQ

Can a bank close your account?

Yes, it can. According to a governmental agency that oversees financial transactions, banks can close accounts for virtually any reason without notice.

Is it bad when a bank closes your account?

Whether it’s bad depends upon the reason why the bank closes your account. Sometimes, a bank account is closed because of inactivity. Other times, the bank may have flagged the account for suspicious or fraudulent activity. Another reason why a bank may close an account is excessive overdraws.

Can you reopen a closed account?

Whether you can reopen a closed account depends on who closed the account (you or the bank), the reasons why the account was closed, and the bank’s policies. Talk to your financial institution to find out what steps you would need to take in order to reopen your account.

How do I prevent my bank account from being closed?

To prevent your bank account from getting closed, talk to your financial institution about the reasons why your account is troubled. Explore what solutions might exist to keep your account open and return it to good standing. It might also be beneficial to brush up on your financial habits and the basics, such as how savings accounts work.

Will a direct deposit reopen a closed account?

No. If an account is closed, the direct deposit funds will have nowhere to be deposited and so the transaction will not go through. To address this situation, talk to your bank about reopening the account and let your employer know that there is an issue with the account tied to your direct deposit.


Photo credit: iStock/Delmaine Donson

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