Banking Finances & Money

Beware the Almost Closed Bank Account!

Hot on the heels of my warning about closed credit cards comes my own personal experience with a phantom savings account with Bank of America.

Yesterday, I opened a letter from Bank of America that turned out to be a bank statement for the savings account I closed 2 months ago. This savings account was only earning about 0.2% interest and I had to keep a $300 minimum balance to avoid a “monthly maintenance fee“. I decided that $300 dollars was worth more in my ING Direct Orange Savings account (get $25 referral here) so I closed the account.

When I closed the account, it was halfway through the month, so I was worried about how the would apply the interest earned during the first 2 weeks. They said they would just turn off “Keep the Change” and send me a check for the final amount (which I received).

Unfortunately for me, the final interest payment kept the account open without me knowing. Additionally, since the account was below the limit, they charged me a $3.00 monthly maintenance fee. Therefore, I was in the red $2.99 (after the $.01 interest earned) and I wouldn’t have known unless I looked at the statement. See, since I closed the account, it was removed from my online banking dashboard so I couldn’t check on its status.


So I called up Bank of America’s customer service line, waited about 15 minutes and finally got through to a customer rep. The girl was very nice and quickly resolved the problem. She refunded the $3.00 charge and offered to send the $.01 check to me. I declined since I didn’t want to 1) waste my time and money driving to the bank to deposit a penny and 2) didn’t want to waste the paper to get it. See, I’m environmentally conscious!

So once the $3.00 gets returned to the account, it will be officially closed…or will it? I might just call back next month to make sure.

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Clever Dude


  • I would call and make sure. When I closed the bank account I had in college, THEY made an error that resulted in my account being five cents overdrawn. But they wouldn’t fix it. And they wouldn’t close the account until they got “their” nickel. I was already back home, three hours away, so I had to send a friend to the bank with five cents. It was so ridiculous!

  • This happened to me with a checking account! I closed it, was told by the neighborhood uber-friendly teller girl (very small town) that it was set, and I packed up and moved out of state. Turns out I had a refund coming into the account of about twenty dollars. It sat there without my knowledge for the three months it took for the checking account to go from free to a $500 minimum account due to inactivity! After that, they started charging a maintenance fee AND an overdraft fee. By the time my mail caught up with me (from NY to CO), it was overdrawn by $400+! It took five phone calls and HOURS of hold music to fix the bloody thing! Always, always check your accounts for at least a few months after they close. I will never be spanked like that again!

  • It was, but it got fixed. I was even pleasant to the poor guys on the bank help lines. It was certainly a rather shocking lesson!

  • Well, for those who are wondering if they have money floating around somewhere, most state Treasury Departments have an unclaimed property program/database that you can search by name. I found I had over $300 due to me from what must have been an over 20 year old account. It was a very easy process to claim, then receive the “windfall”. Doubt there’s an equivalent program for money you might owe (except of course your credit report),

  • I closed my b of a account over a month ago. I forgot I set this account up as the refund account on my university account, so just last week i had a deposit refunded to the closed b of a account. I was waiting for the money to ‘bounce back’ but finally decided to go there today and asked what happened with it. It turned out that the account was mysteriously re-opened, or probably never really closed. The assistant was very surprised when i told her i closed my account last month. I requested again a paper confirming that the account is closed, she printed out sth but refused to sign it. I’m not really sure what I should do, since Im leaving USA tmrw for at least year or 2 and im afraid to come back and find out that my account is still open and way in overdraft. any suggestions? thank you

  • Holly crap. It is really scary to hear these stories, cause I need to close my b of a account in the future when I leave the country.
    Man,… they make mistake a lot. I guess…
    Strange thing is, their phone banking center work slightly better than their bank branches.. When I dropped by their bank branches, I asked them to do some of things, and they looked like they did the things that I asked them to do, and they even said that “Oh, your request is very easy.” and then it turned out that the bank branches didn’t do the things that I asked them to do. So, I had to call phone banking center and fixed things. OMG!

  • Why would you close a US bank account when you leave the country???
    Keep it open with a minimum balance just in case…
    Fr example, only with the US credit card you can rent a car in most countries and get free insurance covered by the card.
    In order to pay off the card you’ll need money in yur US bank account

  • I honestly believe there is NO WAY to really close a bank account once you open it. Even after you go to the bank and “close” it there can still be Deposits and Withdraws from the account that YOU will be held responsible for under banking law.

    As long as someone has the Bank Account number they have the ability to withdraw money or deposit money to that account. Even after it’s closed.

  • Can you provide a refernce to these laws Jim?
    I doubt it is like you say. Just because I have an account number doesn’t give me access to anything.
    Think about it, every check you write has the account number at the bottom. If it was like you say, there would be billions of incidents.
    The nigerians wouldn’t have to send all those poor grammar scam emails, they would just need your account number.
    I think the REAL law is that if you use my account number to do any sort of electronic draaft without my permission, the FBI comes asking you questions regarding wire fraud and other things.

  • So, my question is: Is there a way to prevent charges on a closed account? Can I send an official letter to “opt out” of having my account re-opened for any reason without my permission? I think it should be against the law to allow charges on an account that has been closed by the account holder.

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