Bank of America is one of the biggest and best-known banks in the United States. Although it has a comprehensive lineup of deposit accounts and credit products for just about every imaginable use, it’s difficult to argue that Bank of America is the best bank for everyone.
People close bank and credit card accounts with Bank of America for all sorts of reasons, from the prospect of better interest rates on high-yield savings accounts or maintenance-fee-free checking accounts to the promise of an online bank that does away with the awkward, time-consuming branch experience. Some close Bank of America accounts for no particular reason at all, and that’s fine too.
Why you close your BofA account is not as important as making sure it gets done right. Read on for a detailed guide to the process of winding down your bank account or credit card.
How to Close a Bank of America Bank Account
For best results, you’ll want to take some preliminary steps, like transferring any funds remaining in the account, before formally requesting closure.
Steps to Take Before Closing Your Bank of America Bank Account
You shouldn’t close your BofA bank account before setting up a new account and reassigning all scheduled payments and deposits to that account. You’ll also want to zero out your Bank of America account balance.
- Confirm That the Account Isn’t Deemed Abandoned. If you haven’t used your Bank of America account in a long time, it’s possible that the bank has deemed it abandoned and initiated the escheatment process, whereby your account’s funds are transferred to state custody. You should receive a letter alerting you that escheatment has begun and walking you through the process to arrest it, but in the worst-case scenario, you could forfeit any balance remaining in the account. Certain other asset types are subject to escheatment, including the contents of safe deposit boxes and cashier’s checks.
- Open and Fund a New Bank Account. Next, open and fund a new bank account with an institution other than Bank of America. Your options are nearly limitless, of course, but if you’re dissatisfied with the big-bank experience typified by Bank of America and its ilk, consider a branchless online bank with no monthly maintenance fees, low or no minimum balance requirements, and few if any account fees. We’re partial to CIT Bank, GO2bank, and Varo, but it’s difficult to go wrong here. Once it’s open, establish an electronic funds transfer link between it and your Bank of America account.
- Set Up Direct Deposit Into Your New Account, If Applicable. If you receive your paycheck via direct deposit, alert your employer or government benefits provider that you’re switching accounts. You’ll need to provide your new bank account number and routing number to make the switch official. If it hasn’t already been made clear, this process will underscore the importance of choosing the right new bank, as many online banks — but not all — offer early direct deposit for account holders with qualifying payers. The fine print varies by institution, but the general headway is two days — meaning you’ll get paid Wednesday instead of Friday every pay week.
- Remove Your Bank of America Account Details From All Saved and Scheduled Payment Accounts. Switch over saved payment information from any vendors with which you have recurring or one-time payment authorizations in place: your landlords, utilities, credit cards, auto lender, subscription services, and so on. The last thing you need is a failed payment that incurs late fees and puts your account into arrears.
- Confirm That All Payments Pending From Your Bank of America Account Have Completed. Before zeroing out your Bank of America account balance, confirm that any pending payments have cleared out of the old account. Otherwise, Bank of America could hit you with one last overdraft fee for the road. To be safe, cut up your debit card too.
- Transfer Any Remaining Funds to Your New Bank Account. Finally, electronically transfer the account’s entire remaining balance to your new account. This is faster than waiting on Bank of America to send you a check once the account is officially closed. If you had a negative balance in your account before closure, deposit the exact amount necessary to bring it up to a zero balance. And if you have a safe deposit box at a Bank of America branch, empty it before leaving the bank for the last time.
How to Close Your Bank of America Checking Account or Savings Account
Now that your pre-closure to-do list is complete, you’re ready to close your account for good, and you should do so as soon as possible after zeroing out the balance to avoid low balance fees or unintentional overdrafts.
If the soon-to-be-closed account is a checking or savings account (including money markets), you have three options:
- Visit a Branch and Speak With a Specialist. Use Bank of America’s branch locator to find a convenient local branch, then visit and ask a specialist for help closing down the account. You’ll need to fill out and sign an account closure form.
- Call Bank of America’s Customer Service Team. Call 800-432-1000 and follow the menu prompts to reach a customer service specialist who can help you shut down your account.
- Send in a Written Account Closure Request. Send a signed account closure form with a cover letter requesting that your account be closed to Bank of America, FL1-300-01-29, PO Box 25118, Tampa, FL 33622-5118. If you haven’t zeroed out your account balance yet, your closure form should specify how and where you’d like to receive the funds.
How to Close Your Bank of America IRA or CD Account
If you’re closing a BofA CD or IRA, you can either visit a branch for in-person help shutting down your account or call 888-827-1812 — note the different phone number for IRAs and CDs — for phone assistance. Bank of America doesn’t have a dedicated mailing address for IRA or CD account closure requests.
Regardless of the type of account you’re closing, you’ll want to confirm that the account has actually been closed after making your request and submitting any required documents. For best results, request this confirmation in writing, either when you visit a branch to close the account or by calling the appropriate account closing number.
How to Close a Bank of America Credit Card Account
Bank of America markets several cash-back and travel rewards credit cards, but it’s far from the only credit card issuer around. If you no longer need your Bank of America credit card, here’s what you need to know to close the account properly — keeping in mind that it may be better for your credit score to keep your card account open and dormant than to close it completely.
Steps to Take Before Closing Your Bank of America Credit Card
Before closing your Bank of America credit card, you’ll need to zero out its balance. You can do this by:
- Paying Off the Balance in Full. The cleanest way to zero out your credit card balance is simply to pay it off in full. If your balance is too high to pay off in a single statement cycle, devise a payoff plan to get it done as quickly as possible.
- Transferring the Balance to Another Credit Card. If you can’t pay off your entire balance in one statement cycle and your good credit and income qualify you for a 0% APR balance transfer credit card, opening one is your best bet to avoid excessive interest charges.
How to Close Your Bank of America Credit Card
By law, financial institutions like Bank of America can’t charge inactivity fees on consumer credit card accounts. If your credit card has no annual fee, you can keep your credit card account open indefinitely with no financial penalty. By increasing your average credit account age and your total available credit while lowering your debt-to-income ratio, this could actually buoy your credit.
The longer your account is open without registering any activity, the likelier Bank of America is to close the account on your behalf. If this happens, you’ll receive a notification by postal mail or secure electronic message in your Bank of America online account. You won’t need to take any further action beyond cutting up your physical card and removing the card number from third-party payment accounts.
If you want to eliminate your Bank of America credit card before it’s closed due to inactivity, you have three options:
- Visit a Branch and Close With a Specialist. Visit your local Bank of America branch and ask a specialist to walk you through the account closing process.
- Call Bank of America’s Customer Service Team. Call 800-732-9194 and follow the menu prompts to speak with a member of Bank of America’s credit card service team.
- Send in a Written Account Closure Request. Send a written request to close your credit card account, including the account number, to Bank of America, PO Box 982234, El Paso, TX 79998-2234. Watch your mail for correspondence from the bank about how to settle your remaining balance, if any, and for confirmation that the account is officially closed.
Perhaps you opened your Bank of America account to take advantage of a particularly generous new bank account promotion or credit card sign-up bonus. Or maybe Bank of America had a branch around the corner from t
he apartment you lived in 15 years ago.
If you’re planning to close your Bank of America account, it no longer matters why you opened it. But you will need a suitable replacement for the soon-to-be-closed account — hopefully, one you’ll never feel obligated to shutter. Choose wisely.