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Whether due to finding better terms at a new financial institution or because of dissatisfaction with your current arrangement, it’s important to understand how to close a bank account. In order to ensure a seamless transition between your old and new banking systems, you need to follow all the proper steps. It can prevent you from incurring unforeseen bank fees or penalty expenses and help you avoid any time lapses which work towards your interest. 

Things You Should Consider Before Closing Your Bank Account

The first thing to consider when you close your account is the root cause for the switch. Determine the reasons why you want to close your account so that you can plan your next steps accordingly. It’s about more than severing ties with your old bank, it’s about making sure that you don’t miss a beat when making the change. 

  • Are You Switching Banks? Unless you are planning on starting an off-the-grid life, it’s most likely that you are going to be switching banks. That means you need to do some research on which new bank you plan to use. Gain an understanding of their processes, policies, and procedures so that you can be fully prepared to make the leap. 
  • Do You Have Any Automatic Payments? Remembering all of your automatic payments is critical to avoiding a default. Go through your bank statement and identify any and all automatic payments you have set up with your account. Prior to closing the account, be sure to note all the payees and scheduled payment dates. Use this information to transfer the payment information to the new account. 
  • Do You Receive Any Direct Deposits? If you are scheduled to receive any direct deposits into your account or are set up as a payee through different software (such as PayPal or Payoneer), be sure to note these as well. There are many sources of automatic deposits including dividends from investments and your scheduled pay for work. To keep everything in order, you will need to provide all of these parties with your new account information. Often, this can be done online through the provision of an updated void cheque
  • Don’t Forget To Transfer Your Funds. Transfer over your balance to your new account. The final step is to transfer over all of your funds into the new account. Keep in mind that, when you close your account, you may need to pay out your current monthly fees. This is especially important to note if you plan to complete the switch online. 

How to Close an Online Bank Account?

There are a few different approaches to closing an online bank account. Depending on your situation and access to the physical branch location (certain online banks don’t have physical locations), you will want to pursue a different route.

Phone

A popular and long-standing way to close bank accounts is over the phone. Most financial institutions have very in-depth personal verification methods. These enable many banks to close accounts over the telephone. If you deal with online banking, and you have more than one account with the same institution, you may be able to close your account online. However, the individual policies and procedures differ based on the institution in question. 

Online Bank Customer Service Numbers 
Tangerine1 (888) 826-4374
Simplii Financial 1 (888) 732-8881
EQ Bank 1 (844) 437-2265
Motive Financial 1 (877) 441-2249
Oaken Financial1 (855) 625-3622

Tangerine

In order to close your account with Tangerine, you’ll need to call their customer service number: 1 (888) 826-4374. They will walk you through the process of closing your account. If you simply want to cancel one of your Tangerine accounts, you could potentially do so by going online. For registered Tangerine accounts, you’ll be charged a fee of $45 if you’re looking to transfer your balance to another institution. 

Simplii Financial 

To close your account with Simplii Financial, simply call their customer service line at 1-888-723-8881 and ask them to close your account. 

EQ Bank

If you’d like to close your savings bank account with EQ Bank, you can call their customer service number at 1 (844) 437-2265. You can also choose to reach them via their live chat.

Motiva Financial 

Closing an account with Motive Financial is easy, simply speak with a customer service representative and request they close your account. They will provide you with further details on how to do so. If you need to transfer your balance to another financial institution, you’ll be charged a balance transfer fee of $20.00.

Oaken Financial

To close an account with Oaken Financial, you must call their customer service number (1-855-625-3622) and request they close your account.

How to Close a Regular Bank Account

Depending on the institution with which you bank, there will be different requirements for closing your bank account. Generally speaking, there are three standard approaches. These include: 

In-person: Go to the bank during business hours. Ensure that you have two forms of identification (one with a photograph) and your bank card. Provide these to the teller and inform them that you need to close the account. Depending on your future plans, the bank can wire your funds to your new account. They can also assist with managing your pre-authorized payments.  If there are any other steps you need to take, the teller will inform you at that time. 

Online: A popular approach as technology becomes increasingly prevalent, you can cancel many bank accounts online through the banking website. Often, this can’t be done on a smartphone or a tablet since the mobile sites don’t have all the features necessary. If you plan to cancel your account online, ensure that you have access to a PC or laptop. Keep in mind that not all institutions offer online cancellation, especially if you are closing all your accounts with that institution. 

By Phone: Especially if this is your first time cancelling a bank account, this is a preferable option. Speaking to a customer service representative can prepare you with all the information you need to cancel the account. While you may be able to complete the cancellation over the phone, it may require further steps depending on your situation. 

Regular Bank Customer Service Numbers 
RBC1 (800) 769-2511
TD1 (866) 222-3456
BMO1 (877) 225-5266
CIBC1 (800) 465-2422
Scotiabank1 (800) 472-6842

Process of Closing a Bank Account

The process of closing your bank account will vary based on the individual financial institution. In most cases, the easiest way to learn is to call the customer service line or to visit the location in person. 

RBC

There are three main ways to cancel an RBC bank account including in-person, by phone, or online. 

  • In-Person: You must visit the branch if you are changing banks altogether, since you will be unable to close the account otherwise. Also, if your account isn’t standard savings or chequing, you will need to go in person. 
  • By Phone: You can close your account by phone through the secure online banking portal. This is only true if you have a savings or chequing account with a balance of zero. Additionally, you need to close the account by transferring the funds to a different RBC account. 
  • Online: The procedure for closing your account online is the same as by phone. It must meet the same criteria and you will be able to close it digitally. 

Fees

Closing your account within 90 days of opening it without transferring to another RBC account has a $15 fee. 

Tired of NSF and overdraft fees? Learn how to avoid these bank fees

TD

If the account has a balance of zero, you can cancel online by email or by calling customer service. If there are monies in the account, you must cancel in-person. If you plan to use a different institution for your new account, you will have to visit the TD branch in-person to close your account. If you need to transfer your funds to a new account with TD, you can simply call their customer service line.

Fees

Closing a bank account with TD will cost you $15 at least. 

Need to transfer money? Check out the different ways you can transfer money to a bank account

BMO

The easiest way to close your account with BMO is to go to your bank branch in person or by contacting their customer service. An indirect way of cancelling your account is through inactivity. Inactive accounts with BMO (those with a zero balance and no activity for a period of a year) are automatically closed. However, if you leave your account inactive with a balance you’ll incur a fee of $20 after two years, $30 after three years and $40 after ten years. 

Fees

Closing an account with BMO has an account closing fee of $20. 

CIBC

In order to close an account with the CIBC, you’ll have to visit a branch in-person. Unfortunately, you also can’t simply leave it inactive, as inactive or dormant accounts at CIBC lead to additional fees. Those remaining inactive for a period of at least two years and up to four years, a fee of $20 is applied. Accounts dormant for up to eight years have a fee of $30 and those with a dormancy state of nine years run a cost of $40. However, if the account balance is less than the fee, that will be charged instead.  

Fees

Closing your account within three months (90 days) of account opening results in a fee of $20. If you are transferring it to another CIBC account, the closure is free of charge.  There are additional fees related to the transfer of funds to other institutions. If you are using the Balance of Account form, it costs $19.50. 

Check out how you can transfer money from your credit card to your bank account

Scotiabank

You are free to make any changes to your accounts with Scotiabank either by calling their customer service number or by visiting a branch in-person. Should your Scotiabank account remain inactive, there will be a charge. You will receive a notice of inactivity beforehand, allowing you to take steps to prevent that fee. The fee starts at $20 after two years, rises to $30 for the period up to eight years after inactivity,  and further action gets taken after nine years. A $40 charge will be applied and you will be issued a notice of transfer of these funds to the Bank of Canada. 

Fees

If you are transferring the balance of your account to another financial institution, it will cost $20. This is in addition to the $20 charge to close your account. 

Check out what happens to your bank account if you die

Bottom Line

The most important thing to remember when closing your bank account is to do your research beforehand. There are plenty of resources available both over the phone and online to help you gather all the relevant information. Equipped with all the details about responsibly closing your account, you can limit the cost of closure and find a bank with which you’re happy.

Corrina Murdoch avatar on Loans Canada
Corrina Murdoch

Corrina Murdoch has been a dedicated freelance writer and editor for several years. With an academic background in the sciences and a penchant for mathematics, she seeks to provide readers with accurate, reliable information on important topics. Working as a print journalist for several years, Corrina expanded her reach into the digital sphere to help more people gain insight into the realm of finances. When she's not writing, you can find Corrina swimming and spending time with family.

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