How to Close A Bank Account in Canada

Posted on July 19, 2021

Are you tired of your bank's excessive fees? Are you ready to seek other options for saving and investing your money? Perhaps you're in the process of moving and would like a bank that offers brick-and-mortar locations near your new home. 

Maybe you're wondering how you'll manage to find the time to close your chequing and savings accounts now that you're in the middle of a divorce or major life change. 

No matter the reason, closing your Canadian bank account shouldn't be a task that keeps you up at night. To understand how to close a bank account in Canada, read through our helpful guide. This could easily become a chore that you can take care of this week! 

Basics of Closing A Bank Account 

Though each banking institution will have its own requirements for closing an account, there are a few steps that you should be taking to prepare for the transition. You don't want to feel unprepared when it's time to move your funds! 

Find A New Bank

First, you'll want to do research on all of the banks available to you before pulling out of your current banking agreement. If you're closing your current account because of exorbitant fees or unreasonable withdrawal or deposit limits, double-check to ensure that your new arrangement works with your lifestyle. 

We advise against going off the grid. Without a dependable bank to move your funds to, your money will remain uninsured and subject to being lost or stolen. Instead, compare banks that fit your individual needs. 

Update Auto-Pay Info and Direct Deposit Details

Do you have any auto-payments for bills or services that require on-time payments? Make sure you update your billing details to your new bank account before closing your current account. You could be penalized for defaulting on a loan payment, mortgage rent, credit card, or utility bill if you aren't careful.  

Withdraw or Transfer Funds from the Previous Account

Once you have a plan in place and a destination for your funds to transfer to, it's time to withdraw your funds to a zero balance. Your bank will assist you with transferring the funds to a new internal account, or to a new bank. Remember -- most banks will charge a fee to transfer a balance to a new bank.

Close the Old Account 

Once you have transferred your funds to an alternate bank or account, you will want to make sure to close the account you are no longer using. Leaving an account open despite its inactivity may result in annual fees for as long as the account is open. These fees can cost between $20.00-$60.00 annually until the account is officially closed with the bank.

Closing A Bank Account in Canada 

Each institution will have its own fees and procedures associated with account closures. We encourage you to visit your institution's website to confirm its current policy. 

RBC

There are three ways to cancel an RBC bank account.

In-Person: If you are closing your account to move to a different bank, you will need to visit the branch in person. Otherwise, closing an account may be done by: 

Phone: - Available for savings or chequing accounts with a balance of zero 

Online: -  Available for savings or chequing accounts with a balance of zero 

As long as the account has been open for at least 90 days, there are no fees associated with transferring funds to an alternate RBC account. Account types other than savings or chequing accounts will need to be closed in person. 

BMO

Leaving your account inactive for one year with a zero balance will result in the automatic closure of your account. 

If you need to close an account with an existing balance, visit your branch in person or contact the BMO Customer Service team via phone. Choosing to leave an account with an existing balance inactive for over a year will result in a fee of $20.00 after two years, $30.00 after three years, and $40.00 after ten years of inactivity. 

CIBC

CIBC requires customers to close their accounts in person. You'll want to be vigilant about this, as dormant accounts will accrue fees after long periods of inactivity. 

Closure fees include: 

  • Closure request three months (90 days) of account opening - $20.00
  • Transfer to another CIBC account - free of charge
  • Balance of Account form to transfer to other institutions - $19.50

Once you have arrived at the branch, you will be assisted in all required closure steps. There may be additional fees required in order to transfer to a different bank.

TD

A TD account with a zero balance can be easily cancelled by email or by calling the TD customer service line. An account with an existing balance must be closed or transferred to an alternate institution in person. 

Closing an account with TD will result in a $15.00 service fee.

Scotiabank

While many banks require closures to be made in-person, Scotiabank prioritizes best-in-class customer support. They aim to make the closure process as streamlined as possible. 

Scotiabank requires various administration fees to complete any closure requests. These include: 

  • Account closure - $20.00 
  • Transferring to another institution - $20.00

To make any changes, simply call the Scotiabank customer support line. If you prefer to make changes in person, stop by your branch to begin the process. 

Tangerine 

Since Tangerine is an online banking service, your options are limited to connecting with their customer service over the phone or online -- depending on the closure request. If you are looking to close just one of your many Tangerine accounts, an online request will suffice. 

Are you hoping to transfer your funds to a new bank? Keep in mind that Tangerine charges a $45.00 transfer fee for this kind of request. 

EQ Bank

EQ Customer Service is available by phone and live chat. Leaving your account with no balance for a period of twelve months will also result in an automatic closure by EQ specialists. Customers are not charged for an automatic closure that is due to inactivity. 

Motiva Financial 

Closing an account with Motiva Financial is an easy process with their friendly customer service department. Simply give them a call to request to close your account. Depending on the account type, the customer service team will request additional information or documentation associated with the account. 

Transferring funds to a different financial institution will result in a transfer fee of $20.00.

Can A Bank Close your Account? 

Can a bank close an account? Many institutions will close your account after certain periods of inactivity. Depending on their Terms of Use, some banks will even charge an inactivity fee if the period lasts longer than a year. 

For accounts that have been inactive for over ten years, banks like BMO will send the unclaimed funds to the Bank of Canada. Review your bank's current Terms of Use for their unclaimed funds policy. 

If you maintain a negative balance on an account, your bank has the right to close the account. Overdrafting an account, while not uncommon, can have serious consequences if it becomes a habit. Accounts that have been closed because of a repeated overdraft cycle may make it difficult for you to find opportunities with other banks. 

Reopening A Closed Bank Account 

Depending on the reason for closure, you may be able to reopen your closed chequing or savings account. If your bank has determined that you are a high-risk account holder, you may not be eligible for future accounts. 

If an electronic payment or deposit posts within a certain timeframe, an inactive account may be eligible for reactivation. Contact your bank for their current policy. 

All of your Banking Questions Answered

With hundreds of apps and self-service forms available at our fingertips, many of us expect to independently manage our accounts without additional assistance. Technology has made us wary of complicated processes and customer service robots. 

We want to be able to do things ourselves -- or, we want a simple solution to our problem. 

Unfortunately, closing a bank account is not traditionally something you can manage on your own. The good news, however, is that most banks make this process a simple, collaborative experience -- whether on the phone or in person. 

The customer service representatives at each bank are trained in this procedure, and will be able to guide you every step of the way  -- especially if it's your first time! 

Now that you've decided to close a bank account in Canada-- are you in the process of choosing a new bank? Utilize the Insurdinary library of resources in order to compare recommended banking institutions.  

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