The following are tips to help avoid potential negative impacts.


Automatic Payments

Make certain to maintain sufficient funds to cover all automatic payments posted to the account. Before closing an account, identify all automatic payments and discontinue them. If this step is not completed, fees could be charged even after the account is closed. When cancelling automatic payments, be sure to ask the company how long it will take to process the request to allow enough time for final payments to post to the account before it is closed.

Closing an Account

Always contact the financial institution to close an account. If an account is not properly closed, fees may be charged after funds in the account are depleted.

Depositing Checks

When depositing checks, allow enough time to make certain the check clears (usually 3-5 days, depending on the institution) before withdrawing or using the funds.

Balancing an Account

It is important to balance accounts regularly to avoid using more funds than are available. If an overdraft occurs, funds should be deposited immediately to cover the overdraft amount and any associated fees.


Use caution when agreeing to a joint account or becoming a co-signer on someone else's account. Joint account holders are equally responsible for the handling of an account.

Sharing a Personal Identification Number (PIN)

Do not share a PIN with others. If unauthorized transactions result from a shared PIN, the PIN should be changed. Charges resulting from unauthorized transactions made because of a shared PIN may not be refunded.

Post-Dated Checks

There is no legal obligation for a payee to hold a post-dated check. If the check is tendered prior to the post-date, the account holder is responsible for funds availability.

Statements and Other Correspondence from a Financial Institution

Always notify financial institutions where accounts are held of changes to personal information such as an address or name change. Not knowing the status of an account does not remove responsibility for it.

Account or Handling Errors Made by a Financial Institution

It is important to review account statements and receipts closely for inaccuracies. Bring questions or errors to the financial institution's attention immediately. The sooner the financial institution is made aware of the situation, the easier it is for them to review and respond to the matter.

Lost or Stolen Checks or Debit Cards

If checks or a debit card is lost or stolen, it should be immediately reported to the financial institution. See Checking Account Fraud for additional information.