Closing a bank account made easy

Partly open laptop computer

Lately, I’ve been cutting back on deposit accounts.

More precisely, I’ve been closing checking, savings and money market accounts that have fulfilled their original purpose, such as ensuring me relationship CD rates or serving as a destination for CD interest payments and are no longer needed.

Now, I like to open deposit accounts online, without human intervention. I feel the same way about closing a bank account.

I don’t want to explain to a customer service representative why I’m closing the account, listen to him or her try to lure me into another product or worry whether my instructions about where to send the funds are being accurately recorded.

Everbank offered me exactly what I wanted.

Its system allows customers to simply submit an online form requesting the account be closed and instructing how and where the balance is to be sent. The bank takes it from there.

After the account is closed, Everbank sends you emails soliciting your reasons for closing it and telling you, "If you change your mind, we’ll be here for you." But you’re free to ignore them.

ING Direct offers the same type of online closure. Its form does ask the reason you’re bailing out but has a box to check stating, "I’d rather not say." That’s my kind of bank.

American Express Bank requires you to fax your request, but that’s no big deal. For me, it’s easier to fax than scan a document and email it.

When I closed a savings account at MetLife Bank, however, I had to speak to a representative. I avoided an extended conversation by saying, up front, that I wanted to bring my balances at the bank back under FDIC limits.

Fortunately, he took my word for it.

Oddly, USAA Bank, while affording customers an online method to close a CD account at maturity, requires that savings and checking accounts be closed over the phone.

"We want to talk you out of it," the rep told me, tongue-in-cheek.

Fortunately, our conversation went without serious incident, although the rep’s uncooperative computer slowed the process down a bit.

I think I’ll take a breather from closing accounts for the time being. Even at banks permitting online requests, closing an account can be exhausting work.

Particularly for someone my age -- and with my lack of patience.

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