How A 1¢ Interest Payment Zombified My Bank Of America Account

Image courtesy of (Mike Rollerson)

A few days ago, we shared the hilarious and pitiful one-cent check that a reader received after closing out his Bank of America money-market account and taking the funds elsewhere. This was a silly and annoying waste of paper and postage, but better than the alternative…having the account go zombie and run up a negative balance when it should have been long since dead.

That’s what reader Dessa says happened to her and her mom when they closed down their BoA accounts and took their money to a local credit union.

My mother and I had both had BoA accounts since long before it was BoA, both of us had had Seafirst Bank accounts. However, when they were planning on starting their “monthly fee on having/using debit cards” and other crap, we decided to jump ship to [a local credit union].

In either October or November (I forget which), we went down to our local bank, told them we were closing our accounts, took out the money, and thought we were done with them. Until December came.

In December, we both got bank statements from BoA. We figured these were just because we’d closed mid-period, so it would be a final confirmation that the accounts were closed. Except there wasn’t a $0 balance. There was a -$4.99 balance.

It turns out, that because we didn’t close the account right at the end of the period, we got our 1¢ interest. Which apparently kept the accounts open. And, since that meant the accounts had under the minimum balance for free checking, we therefore were charged the $5 fee for the accounts, resulting in us owing $4.99.

Luckily for us, going into the bank branch, the banker helping us saw what happened, credited us for the fees, wrote us out the 1¢ checks (this is apparently a requirement, because without that taken out, the account won’t be fully closed), and made SURE that the accounts were closed and that we’d never have to worry about it. And we haven’t.

Let it serve as a cautionary tale. In fact, we’ve seen this happen so often that the case where Bank of America sent a customer a one-cent check rather than zombifying the account seemed unusual and refreshing.