We are often tempted by bank deals offering investments with good interest. Almost always the basic condition for their contraction is opening a bank account. However, it does not matter to us, because the bank assures that it is a free account. In just a few minutes we set up an account and transfer our funds. A few months later, the investment ends and we withdraw the money. It would seem that the deal is done.
But is that for sure?
Why we should close bank accounts, that we don’t use?
Let’s start by answering a basic question: why after withdrawing all funds from completely free account should we close it? It is free, right?
The answer is simple: because a „free account” can stop being free at any time. Very often it happens without our knowledge (not to mention without our agreement). Of course, the bank is obliged to inform us about changes in the amount of account maintenance fees. Unfortunately, it is very common practice for banks to present this information on the website of the bank account (or on the account mailbox, that we never check). And since we don’t use this account anymore, we simply won’t find out about the intended change.
If we don’t have any money in our account, can the bank still charge fees?
Unfortunately, even if our account is empty, the basic fees for keeping the account will be practically the same as if it had money on it. Fees will be charged and the account balance will be set to a negative value (i.e. overdraft). After some time, our debt will only grow, and we will be informed about it when we receive a request for payment of the accumulated sum of fees together with interest.
How can you protect yourself against unexpected account fees?
It’s simple – just terminate the contract of bank account. In principle, there are no costs connected to this, and it will allow you to spare yourself any financial problems.
There is definitely no point in procrastinating – if we withdraw money from the account we don’t need anymore, it is always better to bring the matter to end right away. We are forgetful and after some time we won’t remember that we left an active account. If the bank introduces fees, we will loose money every month.
How to terminate a bank account contract?
Termination of the contract is not so complicated – an appropriate written declaration would be enough. The problem appears when we are not sure what accounts we have in a particular bank and how many active contracts we have with this bank. This is why it is better to express our statement in a way that will make it clear we want to terminate all other agreements between us and the bank – even if we don’t know their details (of course, we have to make sure if we don’t have any contracts we want to keep).
I there anything else we should take care of when terminating the contract? Processing personal data and consent to send commercial information.
While you terminate your contract, it is also worth to declare that you do not consent to receive commercial information (so you won’t get any spam or unwanted phonecalls). You can also demand them to delete any personal data that require your consent to process or store (of course there are also some categories of personal data that the bank has the right to store for a certain period without your consent).
This way you will not be annoyed by ads and phonecalls regarding new bank offers and the bank will not store more information about you than it is necessary.
For convenience, please find below a ready-to-use draft of termination statement of bank contracts complete with instructions on how to fill it in:
Finally, it is worth mentioning that in most situations, the contracts with the bank will be terminated not at the time we hand the statement, but only after time period specified in the contract. This period may vary, but in most situations it is a month from the moment the bank receives our statement. Until then, any fees will still be charged.