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Bank Transfer Day: A Guide to Closing Your Account

Yes! Magazine / News Analysis
Published: Thursday 27 October 2011
“Bank Transfer Day is gaining some serious steam. Although it's not technically affiliated with Occupy, it's being embraced by the movement and is the first specific call to action since the Occupy protests began.”
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Bank Transfer Day is gaining some serious steam. Although it's not technically affiliated with Occupy, it's being embraced by the movement and is the first specific call to action since the Occupy protests began.

The description and goal of Bank Transfer Day is straightforward: If you currently have checking and savings accounts (deposit accounts) with a big bank, the organizers encourage you to remove all of your funds, close your accounts, and place your money in a new deposit account with a not-for-profit credit union. The organizers ask that you do this by November 5. And since November 5 is a Saturday, you should definitely do it before November 5 since many big banks aren't open on weekends.

So if you currently have a deposit account with a big bank and you want to participate in Bank Transfer Day, read the following steps. It's a field guide that will help you accomplish this meaningful task of shifting your money from corporations that serve the 1% and put it with an organization that cares about the remaining 99%. Bank Transfer Day can significantly impact the way banks are able to make a profit. In simplest terms, banks rely on our deposit account balances to make loans that net substantial profits. Without our deposits, banks can't make loans. And if banks can't make loans, they're going to take notice. And they're surely going to freak out.

What You Need To Do Before Walking Into Your Big Bank Branch

Go through previous big bank statements to see exactly which accounts you have. Be sure to check the names on each account. If you are closing a joint account with two holders, it makes a difference whether the word joining your names is "and" or "or." If the account in your name is in your name andsomeone else's, you will both need to go in and close the account. If the account is in your name orsomeone else's, either of you can close the account. Some big banks may vary on this policy, so it's best to call your big bank to find out exactly what you need to do prior to walking into your local branch.

1. If you have any loans with a big bank, look closely at your statements and paperwork you signed at the time of closing. There very well might be penalties that will trigger a higher interest rate if you close your checking account. Big banks excel at offering customers lower interest rates on mortgage and auto loans if you open a checking account and maintain a minimum balance. A primary checking account is a bank's ultimate goal to securing your, ahem, loyalty. A primary checking account also leads to, on average, the opening of three additional accounts with that financial institution. Decide whether or not you can or have the willingness to pay off the outstanding loan balance. If you do not pay off the loan balance, call your bank to ask about escalating fees or rate increases by closing your checking account before walking into your local branch to close the checking account.

2. Stop using your deposit accounts ASAP. You need to allow everything to clear the accounts completely before you close them. This clearing process takes about two weeks to complete. Keep close tabs online to see which transactions are still outstanding.

3. Research non-profit credit unions. You will need a place to deposit your money, so perform this research before closing your big bank accounts. A good resource for finding credit unions is Find A Credit Union. Make your decision on which non-profit credit union you will join before walking in to the big bank branch to close your deposit accounts.

What To Do When You Walk Into Your Big Bank Branch

1. Approach a branch teller and tell him/her that you would like to close your accounts. The teller might hand you off to a customer service representative due to the bank's account opening and closing protocol. Or the teller might hand you off because they don't want to tie up customers' wait time in the teller line.

2. If the bank employee asks why you are closing your account, decide in advance the reason you're going to provide. You can tell them you're unhappy with big banks. You can tell them you're a part of the 99%. Or you can decline to give them a reason. The most important thing is to remain focused and not do anything imprudent that will keep you from accomplishing your goal of closing your deposit accounts and walking out of the big bank branch with your money.

3. Once the account closing process begins, ask the bank employee if you have any cash reserve accounts tied to your deposit accounts. It doesn't make sense to keep a line of credit open that was tied to your soon-to-be closed account.  

4.The bank employee will ask if you would like to receive your money in the form of a check or cash. If you want to make it rain outside of the big bank branch, request to receive cash. If you don't want to make it rain, we advise you to request a check.

5. The bank employee will either give you a confirmation letter of your accounts being closed or they will mail it to you. Once you receive the letter, keep it on file for up to five years.

6. Walk out of the big bank branch.

What To Do After You Have Closed Your Big Bank Deposit Accounts

1. Shred all remaining checks and debit cards. This is an essential step. If you mistakenly use the checks or debit cards, you will be going back to the big bank branch—except this time it will be to clean up your mess.

2. Go to the non-for-profit credit union you selected prior to closing your deposit accounts at the big bank. Open the accounts, get a new checkbook and debit card, and shake the employee's hand, or even give him/her a hug.

3. Sync up your new deposit account information (ABA routing number and account number for checks, card number, expiration date, 3-digit security code for debit card) to any relevant accounts that require automatic payments. For example, if you automatically pay your car insurance on a monthly basis with your checking account, be sure to sync up your checking account with your car insurance company. You may also want provide your new account information for online products such as iTunes, eBay, and PayPal.

4. Stand in front of a full-length mirror. Admire yourself. You've earned it.

That's all there is to it. Sounds like a lot, and perhaps it is. After all, big banks played a role in making this process difficult because it acts as a deterrent for people to withdraw their money and close their accounts. But if you stick to this guide and remain focused on your goal, you can impact meaningful and measurable change by participating in Bank Transfer Day.



Thanks, Kim for belittling

Thanks, Kim for belittling all of us who live paycheck to paycheck. And there ARE a lot of us, including working professionals like me who are struggling. There must be a source of your bitterness that you should take a look at. I had an account with B of A for almost 10 years and was treated horribly at every step. I moved my money to a credit union and receive much better service at every step. And I no longer have my paltry income at a big bank that my taxpayer money bailed out. So my question to you is, why not?

I'd amend the guidelines to

I'd amend the guidelines to suggest opening your new credit-union account BEFORE closing your old big-bank account. That will give you time to transfer all your direct-deposit and automatic payments and online accounts (like PayPal) to your new account. Make sure your final big-bank statement shows "no activity" before you close it.

I'd amend the guidelines to

I'd amend the guidelines to suggest opening your new credit-union account BEFORE closing your old big-bank account. That will give you time to transfer all your direct-deposit and automatic payments and online accounts (like PayPal) to your new account. Make sure your final big-bank statement shows "no activity" before you close it.

All of those nice tellers and

All of those nice tellers and customer service reps are part of your 1% thanks for adding them to the unemployeement numbers in a couple of months and making there Friday/Saturday suck! Really well thought out plan.

Wow! You're so knowledgeable.

Wow! You're so knowledgeable. You must have been the owner of that $376 checking account!

It's a great idea but it's

It's a great idea but it's more time consuming than the amount of time given. The close date should be December 31st. That way there's time to research a new bank at and time to let things clear out of the account, move payroll and automatic payments, etc.

I closed my account out about

I closed my account out about a year ago and went to a credit union (which is owned by the depositors, I might add!) I did this when I realized what the big banks were doing to" We the People! " Maybe they will realize we have some power when the banks crash on November 5th! That might be their "wake-up" call!

Speculators have been

Speculators have been "gaming" the system for years, so assess a graduated gaming tax on all monies involved. License them and have them report their "take" at the gaming level rather than capital gains. If the public has to pay a higher rate for commodities, gas, oil, meat, etc. because of their actions, let the ones responsible begin to suffer the consequences. A closer inspection of their "windfall" profits might prove interesting. What they are doing affects the public and public monies. The public must have more control over such overt actions. We've already seen the fruits of deregulation, thank you very much.

I bank with a small regional

I bank with a small regional bank, and it's too damned inconvenient to change my accounts... but my credit card companies and my home mortgage were bought and sold until everything ended up with, guess who - Bank of America. I hate them!

I have a balance on my credit cards (thank you George Bush) and about 5 years left on my mortgage (at 4.5%). Is it worth changing? Maybe this is worth a followup article...

With only 5 years left, @

With only 5 years left, @ 4.5%, it would be a bad choice to refinance. Most refinance loan minimum terms are 10 years and including closing costs would add thousands over your current loan.

To all who think that "Bank

To all who think that "Bank Transfer Day" is going to shake the financial industry.......You are sadly mistaken. First of all, where can you go and get free services other than a Non Profit company? No where. So why do people continue to treat Financial institutions as if they do not deserve to be profitable. My guess is that those who complain about the profits banks make are not investers/shareholders. These are publicly traded companies and no one is stopping you from taking advantage. I can't help but find this new plot to take a stand a little bit pathetic. No one is going to want to move their banking somewhere else unless it is lucrative to do so. The truth is, very few clients are going to be effected by the new fee's that the media, I might add, is blowing way out of proportion. There is a cost to doing business. Majority of the people who are up in arms about the new bank charges are those who do nothing but cost the banks money and hog resourses that they for some reason believe they are enttled to. I hate to brake it to you......your $376 checking account is worthless to the Bank. It costs more to print your monthly statements, create your debit card and have a teller available to cash your weekly paycheck than they will ever make off the relationship. Now don't get me wrong. If you find a better way of doing business by taking your accounts to a credit union then by all means, go. But please don't be foolish enough to think you are going to cripple the giant. It's just embarassing.
So to wrap this up and bring you to my final thought. If you are one who is planning to "Make the Move" in November, by all means, go for it. But don't be an ignorant moron who leaves making fist pumps into the air thinking "I really stuck it to the man." Because in all actuality, "the Man" is sitting in his plush corner office, feet up on his desk, arms crossed and laughing. This is an opportunity to shake all the dead weight that does nothing but complain about overdraft fee's and the fact that they can't get approved for a credit card.

You are the one who is sadly

You are the one who is sadly mistaken! The $$$ Vote is the most powerful weapon the 99% have against - listen carefully - PREDATOR GREED. I am all in favor of profits - profits that are a win-win where the profits are RECYCLED AMONGST THE PAYING CUSTOMERS to make the investors more wealthy, and the consumers to have a better standard of living. . Let me ask you (and the rest of the 1%) -

"Hoe does a rich person know when they are wealthy enough"?

Or does the accumulation of wealth continue - and with more and more predatory actions to garner more and more and more wealth? The Super Predatory Greed-Stricken Rich think and behave the same as a Virus. A Virus will grow, suck and pray on its host until the very organism that gives the virus it's life is dead. OR should I say that the Predator-Rich are like a Cancer? When will the Greed-Crazed 1% wake up and realize they are killing off their consumers?

The immoral predators can ship jobs to China and India in search of ever more insidious profits - but isn't it amazing that it all comes back to America and the American consumer who buys goods and VOTES WITH THEIR DOLLARS.

What happens when Enlightened Americans start to refuse to shop at Walmart? What happens when Enlightened Americans refuse to do business with Cancerous Predators like Corporate Banks?

The 99% are waking up and finding a cure for Economic Cancer.

By the way, Over the last 5

By the way, Over the last 5 years I have drawn off over $100,000 in stocks, cashed out all retirement funds, paid the extortion -penalty and bought gold - not as an investment but a way to keep the filthy corporations away from my money. When I close out my bank accounts - that will be another $50,000 the corporate pigs will have to go somewhere else to find their trough.

"Although it's not

"Although it's not technically affiliated with Occupy, it's being embraced by the movement and is the first specific call to action since the Occupy protests began."

So the movement has found leadership and a voice now, I take it. Hope these strategists have their short sells on BoA in place.

Shop around for a bank or credit union the way you'd shop for anything else. Compare services, rates and fees.

Brooklyn Dame's picture

I'm glad to see this article.

I'm glad to see this article. Banks have been getting away with far too much for far too long.http://www­.youtube.c­om/watch?v­=FLgpZh4FI­4whttp://bor­derlessnew­sandviews.­com/”

I would like to change over

I would like to change over my credit cards. My credit cards are now with B of A - not my choice, they bought up the companies I was with. Anyone have any suggestions?

This is a great plan but I

This is a great plan but I recommend a different sequence to avoid a month or two of inconvenience: First, open the new account(s), making a deposit (it can be small) with a check from the old bank. Then wait until you have printed checks and a debit card on that account to proceed. If you have direct deposit from your employer or Social Security or anywhere else, get that switched over. Change your PayPal account.Transfer the money from savings and other accounts at the old bank into your checking account then write a check to the new account to transfer most of the money. I would leave a small amount in the old account, then when the check clears, you can close the old accounts.If you have a credit card from a different big bank than your checking, etc accounts, I would keep the card open until after everything is switched over for the bank accounts. That gives you a stable financial tool you can use during the transition if you need it.


I PERSONALLY RECCOMEND that if you currently have checking and savings accounts (deposit accounts) with a big bank, the organizers encourage you to remove all of your funds, close your accounts, and place your money in a new deposit account with a not-for-profit credit union or with a State run Bank in your State..

If the Bank you are currantly with gives you a problem closing your account do the following: 1.] Get the name of the Full Bank. 2.] The complete address of the office you are refused at. 3.] The Full name of the individual who refused you and thier Title. 4.] Get th4e telephone number of the individual refusing. 5.] Try to get something in writing.

Now file a consumer complaint with the Attorney Generals Office in your State.

Have been with a Credit Union

Have been with a Credit Union for all financial including credit card and home mortgage. Experience is: 1. Credit card interest is 7.99 annual both credit and cash up to $10,000.00 Mortgage is 5.25 % 15 years fixed. Notably, when I went to refinance the out source credit union appointed screwed it up and eventually credit union brought their mortgage loan department back in house (originally in house when I first mortgaged). The credit union modified the refinance mortage even though they did not have to and I had no legal standing (the outsource did the bait and switch with low rate until I said cash back then it went up 1%). All in all credit union is non-profit and works for us very well!

Before you move your money go

Before you move your money go to and enter your zip code to find credit unions and banks near you that are local. Sometimes when the Wall Street banks buy local banks, they keep the original name, so you could switch from a BofA location to a bank that looks local but is actually part of the Wall Street bank system. When you have your money in a credit union, you are a part owner of that organization, so if you don't like their rules, you can get yourself elected to the board, or elect someone who will make rules you do like. My credit union doesn't charge any fees at all, and gives me a tiny monthly interest payment on my checking and a pretty standard one on my savings.
More importantly, they care about my community because they are part of it, and can only be as successful as the community is. The Wall Street bank wouldn't notice if your community burned down, as long as it didn't interfere with their CEOs getting their million dollar bonuses on top of their multimillion dollar salaries. The guy who runs my credit union is actually my employee, and he treats me like I'm important to him, because I am.

I closed my account at Chase

I closed my account at Chase 1 year ago Oct... when I loudly exclaimed for all to hear how criminal the Chase Bank was.. .. BofA took over my mortgage from Countrywide...1 yr ago Oct ..I had to act nice until I had the documents to refinance with my local credit union..and then I emailed my feelings about their criminal acts....I am totally with a credit union and very did take me a little time as I had some automatic pays but in about 2 months all was well

On 11/11/11 all the people

On 11/11/11 all the people that have money in Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo & Citi Bank should go in and remove all their money and put it into a local Community Bank or Credit Union.
They won't let you take out all cash but if you demand a certified check for full amount they can not deny you. If you really want to mess with them demand cash but they will probably say they don't have it
Some how this should be put out to all the people you know and ask them to forward it on to all they know and again and again to get this out.
This would be taking control of our finances and not letting these big institutions & government control our money and life
I say do it on 11/11/11 as a protest against the 1%
What you think?


Here is an article about what is happening on “Wall Street?” Don’t know if you know what’s been happening there or maybe it’s news to you.

Click on link below to see article…

Must be nice to have so much

Must be nice to have so much money you forget where it is or how many accounts you have.

I call that mental illness.

I call that mental illness.

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