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How To Close An Account At Washington Mutual

Before Washington Mutual was acquired by JP Morgan Chase, in better times for the bank, they offered a yield on their online savings account that was tops in the land. Since then, the rate as fallen to 2.25% APY, which doesn’t even register on the radar of high yield savings account rates [3], and so I opted to close my account when I opened a Dollar Savings Direct account [4].

This is the first online savings account I have ever closed and I had no idea it would be such a headache. I don’t know if this is unique to WaMu’s policies or if it’s universal to online savings accounts but it was a pain. First, let me tell you about my experience and then I’ll explain the easiest way to do it.

How To Improperly Try Close A WaMu Account

In Maryland, there are no convenient WaMu branches to visit so I would have to do it by mail. Yep, they can’t close an account over the phone, which makes sense but is quite infuriating. The first time I called, I was told that I needed to zero out the accounts (I had both checking and savings) and then I could close the accounts by phone. So, I transferred all the funds out of my checking into my savings and then initiated a transfer out of savings. The checking to savings transfer was instantaneous, so I immediately closed my checking. I was told I could just call back in a couple days once the savings was zeroed out and could close that by phone. That was wrong.

What happened was that once the checking was closed, the $300 minimum daily balance requirement kicked in for the online savings account. I was assessed a $4 fee, overdrawing the account! When I called today, I had to fight with the call center CSR, who had no power but the follow the script she was given, to understand the actual process, then escalated to a supervisor who reversed the $4 fee. Overall, the experience with the call center CSR, through no fault of her own, was frustrating and infuriating but the supervisor was accommodating and great.

How To Properly Close A WaMu Account

There are rules as to how you can close out interest-bearing and non-interest bearing accounts, just forget about them. You only need to know the two ways to close a WaMu account:

  1. Visit a branch and close it with a teller. I didn’t have this option, but this is by far the easiest.
  2. Send a letter to WaMu’s Bank By Mail, indicating that you want to close your account. You’ll need to provide your account number (which you can get by viewing one of your statements through online banking) and a return address so they can send you your balance by check.

The mailing address for that letter is:
Washington Mutual BBM
PO Box 659588
San Antonio TX, 78265-9588

Don’t close any accounts over the phone, you’ll just end up decoupling your checking and savings and be hit with fees.

(Photo: Sërch [5])