Can You Reopen A Closed Bank Account?


While banks want to keep each account open for as long as possible, it sometimes becomes necessary for them to close accounts. A bank can close your account for several reasons, and it doesn’t have to notify you. This may sound harsh, but banks only step in and close accounts for account holders who do not address negative balances and violate other rules. Most customers who play by the rules won’t get their accounts closed, but if you fell behind on payments and want to reopen a closed bank account, you have some options.

How to reopen a closed bank account 

A closed bank account isn’t final. Banks are happy to help customers who want to get a fresh start. Here is the process for reopening a closed bank account.

Contact the bank

You must notify the bank via email, phone, or another method of communication that you want to reopen your bank account. The bank has to know about your desire to reopen your account before it can do so. 

Settle any unpaid balances

Before getting your account reopened, you have to consider what got the account closed in the first place. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a consumer who wanted their account closed but then changed their mind a few weeks later. Other individuals may have an unpaid balance on their checking account that the bank decided to close. 

You’ll have to pay off this balance before getting your account opened. If the unpaid balance feels insurmountable, don’t ignore it. Even if you delete your bank account and uninstall the app, you still owe that balance. If you do not repay it, the bank will send your unpaid balance to a debt collection agency. You don’t want this scenario, as your credit score will take a big hit, and you will get a barrage of calls from this agency, along with a few scammers pretending to be debt collectors. 

It’s best to avoid a negative balance and pay your debt in full. If you fall behind, you can still pick yourself up. Any progress, no matter how small, gets you closer to a paid-off balance.

Request to reopen the bank account

After repaying the debt and settling any additional issues, it’s time to reopen your account. The final step is sending a request to your bank to reopen the account. The bank does not have to reopen your account, but if you pay off the balance and demonstrate good financial habits, the bank may reopen your account. If the bank feels confident in your ability to keep a positive balance, it will feel confident about your ability to pay off loans and fees.

Consider opening a new bank account

Banks want as many customers as possible, but they reject some reopening applications to mitigate risk. If you can’t get your old bank account back, you can always start fresh with a new bank. Browsing around may help you find a new bank that offers better perks than your old bank. 

What happens when the bank closes your account

It’s best to avoid getting your bank account closed, but it can happen to anyone. If your account gets closed, here’s what you can expect. 

You could have trouble opening a new account

When you close a bank account, it’s harder to open a new one. That’s because the closed bank account will show up on your ChexSystems report. This report is just like your credit report but for banking. A closed bank account will hurt your standing, just like a closed credit card and late payments lower your credit score. You could still open a bank account. A closed credit card and missed payments may block you off from many credit cards, but some issuers will still give you a card. You may have to settle with a secured card, but it’s better than nothing. The same concept applies in banking, but banks find that information on your ChexSystems report instead of your credit report.

You’re still entitled to the money in your account

Even if the bank closes your account, you can still use the funds that are there. This provision explains why banks don’t simply close the accounts of the wealthiest people. Even if the banks did that, the individuals would own the money in their bank accounts. You can contact your bank, and it will have to send you a check equal to the remaining funds minus fees. If the bank does not follow through, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

You’ll still need to pay back unpaid balances

Waiting for a bank to close your account isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card for your negative balance. You’ll still have to pay it, and if you don’t, the bank will send your information to a debt collection agency. Between the significant drop in your credit score that will hurt your ability to get good loans and the number of phone calls you’ll get from debt collectors and scammers, it’s worth paying off the balance. You could get your account reopened by paying off the negative balance, but even if the bank doesn’t reopen your account, you won’t have to worry about debt collectors.

Tips for maintaining a new bank account

Getting your checking or savings account closed isn’t ideal, but it can be the wake-up call you need to strengthen your finances. A closed bank account doesn’t stop you from doing business with another bank if you can’t reopen your old account. Regardless of whether you reopen your account or create a new one, it’s important to avoid the same fate. Following these tips will help you keep your new bank account open.

Meet the account minimum balance requirements

Some banks have minimum account balance requirements that customers must follow to avoid fees. Banks may close your account if you do not have the minimum balance long enough, but this is rare. The competition has gotten more intense, and more banks are removing their minimum balance requirements and even offering some overdraft fee protection.

Obtain a debit card

Some bank accounts get closed because of inactivity. If you have several bank accounts open at different branches, it can get difficult to keep track. Instead of letting these accounts shut down because of inactivity, you can get a debit card and use it for some of your purchases. You don’t have to buy much to keep a bank account active. You could enter your debit card information for a monthly subscription and generate enough activity to keep your account open.

Add direct deposits

Direct deposits demonstrate activity. Banks won’t close your account if you make occasional direct deposits, and they can help you repay the monthly subscription covered in the prior tip.

Pay any unpaid fees

Banks won’t close your account the moment your balance becomes negative. But they can take action if the negative balance remains unaddressed for several months. Make it a point to pay unpaid fees and catch up so you don’t lose another account. Each closed bank account will show up on your ChexSystems report and make it hard but not impossible to open another bank account.

Keep an eye on your balance

A negative balance can result in overdraft fees and put your bank account at risk. This negative balance can come as a surprise if you use your debit card and don’t look at your bank account. Mobile apps make it easy to view your balance at any moment so you avoid purchases that would result in overdrafts. When you see that your balance is getting low, consider replenishing it with a higher percentage of your next paycheck or picking up a short-term side hustle. The beauty of side hustles is that you can start and stop as you desire, possibly turn it into a full-time job, and create a financial buffer.

A Closed Bank Account Isn’t The End

Even if your bank account is closed, you can reopen it or apply for a new bank account. The lessons you learn from a closed bank account can sharpen your financial habits and help you in the long run. When in doubt, contact your bank. The bank may have closed your account, but it wants to do business with more people, as long as each person can keep up with monthly loan payments, fees, and other expenses. Demonstrating you can do those things will make a bank more likely to reopen your account, and the representative you speak with may want to help you out.


Do banks have records of closed accounts?

Banks keep records of closed accounts for five years.

Can a bank legally close your account without permission?

A bank can legally close your account without permission, but it usually reserves this action for consumers who violate the terms and conditions or have accrued a negative balance for several months.

What happens if you send a payment to a closed bank account?

If you try to send a payment to a closed bank account, the bank will reject the transaction or provide a refund if the transaction went through.

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