When you open a bank account, the bank inherently has some control over it. The bank can, at will, charge fees, make interest rate adjustments, and close your account for any reason they deem necessary. However, that money is still yours. If a bank has closed your account with money in it, what do you do?
All hope is not lost. As much as the bank has control over the accounts that it holds, the money that is in that account is legally yours, and not theirs. There are several steps that you can take in order to recover your money when the bank has closed your account.
- Why has the bank closed my account?
- Steps in recovering your money
- Final thoughts
Why has the bank closed my account?
Most banks have certain rules and expectations when you become their customer. Insurgent activity is detected on your account, they have the rights to close it, Based on your terms and conditions.
Your bank could have closed your account without notice usually for the following reasons:
Reason 1: Too Many Overdrafts
If your bank account has a history of overdrafts, the bank might shut it down. This is particularly true if you make overdrafts but don’t pay them back on time.
When you overdraft and account, you in essence now owe the bank. The bank has two fronts that purchased for you until you pay that overdraft back.
If you simply overdraft and never pay that overdraft amount back, your account might even end up in collections, just like a credit card.
Reason 2: Dormant Accounts
If you have an account that has shown no activity over an extended. Of time, they might close your account. This is true even if their account has a balance in it.
Depending on your state, some banks may be required to you reach out to you when this happens. They may also be required to post a notice for the account holder in the local newspaper.
So make sure that you regularly use your account to avoid it being closed. If you don’t claim your property once your account is closed, the bank might send you money to the state as unclaimed property.
Reason 3: Fraudulent Activity
The bank detects that the account is being used for fraudulent activity, they may immediately close that account.
Thanks can be held partially responsible fraudulent activity conducted by their customers. Because of that, banks sometimes would rather close an account in error than being held responsible for any fraudulent activity.
Steps in recovering your money
Now that you have an idea of the reasons why your account might have been closed, not all hope is lost.
There are steps that you can take in order to recover your money. The important thing to remember is that, these things must be done promptly.
If your bank account was closed years ago and you are now trying to recover that money, it might be a bit more difficult than if you had done it quickly.
Step 1: Contact Customer Service
The first and obvious step is to contact customer service. Like most banks, finding contact information should not be difficult. If you had a debit or credit card with them, what credit card should have a contact number on the back.
Be prepared for a long wait times. This is typically true when it comes to calling most banks.
An alternative would be to visit a local branch and talk to somebody in person. If you talk to the right person, you have a better chance of getting useful information than if you spoke to somebody on the phone.
Regardless of who you spoke with, make sure to keep a record and get their name and write it down. I need to reference it later, depending on the information that they gave you. This is super helpful when following up.
Step 2: Order your ChexSystems Report
Never heard of ChexSystems? I’m sure most of you haven’t. ChexSystems is similar to a credit score what food banks specifically.
ChexSystems Monitors and keeps a record of your banking history. Whenever you have any banking problems, ChexSystems keeps a record of dance for 5 years. Here are a few examples of what they monitor and record:
- Bounced Checks
- Unpaid Overdraft Fees
- Outstanding Debts
- Account closure due to insufficient funds
Ordering a ChexSystems report is fast and free. You can get one here. Once you receive it, take a look and see if there are any issues that might have caused your bank to close your account. This can help you in figuring out how to get your money back.
Step 3: Contact the Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau, or BBB, acts as a middleman when handling Bad Business practice complaints. Filing a complaint with them is quick and super easy.
Because of their resources and reputation, having a company like the BBB represent you can I have a much bigger impact and push the bank to act.
Although working with the BBB does not guarantee anything, it’s definitely a great resource to have.
Step 4: File a Complaint
If you spoke with Representatives and still have no way of getting your money back, you can officially file a complaint with the Federal Reserve. By law, Banks cannot hold your money and refused to give it back for any reason.
Complaints can be filed online. According to the Federal Reserve, investigations conducted can take 30 to 60 days. Once they complete investigations, the agency will notify you if they can’t investigate and let you know if you should seek help from an attorney.
Only use this option after you’ve exhausted step one. In most cases, after speaking to the right individual at the bank, you should have access to your money in a reasonable amount of time.
Step 5: Seek help from an Attorney
If no one at the bank and help you, and the Federal Reserve cannot help you either, you should now seek help from a professional.
Licensed attorneys that are experienced in these matters can be a very helpful resource. It’s also equally important to take into consideration how much using an attorney would cost.
If you’re trying to recover $1,000 but an attorney would cost you $3,000, then you would end up losing money going this route. Make sure you do your math first and thoroughly exhaust Step 1 and 2 of this list.
If your bank has closed your account, especially with money in it, know that there are things that you can do. The most important thing is to act quickly and use the free tools I am listed above.
Most people make the mistake off waiting years before they chase after their money. And it only makes it that much harder to retrieve it.
Just make sure to follow the steps above, and you get your money back quickly 🙂 Let me know how it goes for you!