How to Break Up With the Big Banks

Today’s banking marketplace is more consolidated than ever, with just a few giant banks dominating the industry – to the detriment of you, the consumer. This doesn’t mean you have to give up and just deal with it in order to participate in the economy, though. Freeing yourself from the shackles of mistreatment and hidden fees to start actually working on your financial goals without exploitation is relatively simple.

An account with one of the major banks likely means suffering with outrageous fees, minimum balance requirements, and subpar customer service. You’re a faceless account member to siphon profit from rather than a human being just trying to not starve before your next paycheck.

Closing your account can seem like a huge nuisance, but it’s really not as challenging as it seems – remember they want to keep you forever and will do whatever they can to do so.

You first need to find your new bank and transfer some of your money over. Transfers can be immediate or take a few days depending on the amount, so you should get this out of the way first. Leave a little bit of money in your old account just in case they decide to charge you a fee for no reason.

Now, make sure you gather a list of all your automatic payments and switch them over to your new bank. Don’t forget about subscriptions like Amazon Prime that charge yearly instead of monthly.

After some time has passed and you’re certain everything is up and running with your new account, it’s safe to close your old one for good and transfer the rest of your precious coin. Don’t be lazy and just drain the old account and leave it inactive. The bank can and will hit you with a fee to take your balance into the negative. You have to follow their very specific instructions to shut it all down. Get together your account info, ID, and whatever else before you start.

Chase:

JP Morgan & Chase is the largest bank in the US. It got rich off the mortgage crisis in 2008 and has been labeled “America’s Most Corrupt Bank” by Forbes.

It’s probably no surprise that Chase doesn’t make it easy to close your account, as it doesn’t offer an online option. Instead, you have to show up to the bank in person or call customer service at 1-800-935-0935. You’ll need to press 0 to actually speak to a human, lest you end up in an endless loop of the main menu options. They also have a form online to fill out before you visit the branch if you need to save some extra time.

Bank of America:

Bank of America has faced punishment for misusing its customers’ cash and misleading clients about how their stock trades were handled. It also reportedly asked customers about citizenship and then froze accounts.

Naturally, they don’t allow you to close your account online either. To close your account, you either have to show up to the bank in person or give them a call at 1-800-432-1000. You can also send a request to:

Bank of America, FL1-300-01-29

PO Box 25118

Tampa, FL 33622-5118

Wells Fargo:

Wells Fargo hasn’t been free of scandal either, as reports of opening unauthorized accounts in their customers’ named and illegally repossessing cars, amid a litany of other allegations.

If you want out of your account, you can do so online as long as you’ve emptied the account entirely first.

Alternatively, you can call Wells Fargo at 1-800-869-3557 or walk into a branch. If you still have money in the account, you can’t use the online option, but you can mail them a form to close the account and send your balance to you via check.

Citibank:

Citibank was recently hit with a $700 million fine for an entire portfolio of sketchy credit card behavior. You can close your account by sending them a message through the website, entering a bank location, or calling 1-888-CITIBANK.

PNC:

Just like other big banks, PNC has been in hot water for allegedly misappropriating funds that were supposed to be earmarked for funerals. To close your PNC account, visit the bank or give them a call at 1-888-PNC-BANK. You might also be able to cancel via the online chat service.

 

Once your account is closed, you should get a letter in the mail with confirmation and a check for whatever funds may have been left over. It may not be the world’s simplest process to get through, but it’s worth it in the long run to avoid fees and ridiculous requirements.