How do banks claw back bonuses when accounts are closed?

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When one opens a bank account with an opening bonus and one of the requirements is to keep the account open for 6 months how does the bank enforce this rule?

For example, if I open an account, meet the requirements and receive the bonus in one month. Then I transfer the money out leaving the account with a zero balance and request account closure.

What exactly happens? Is the account left with a negative balance or do they send a bill for the bonus amount? Or is it as I suspect - nothing really happens; you keep the bonus and they don't really do anything about it?

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elfrozo said:   When one opens a bank account with an opening bonus and one of the requirements is to keep the account open for 6 months how does the bank enforce this rule?

For example, if I open an account, meet the requirements and receive the bonus in one month. Then I transfer the money out leaving the account with a zero balance and request account closure.

What exactly happens? Is the account left with a negative balance or do they send a bill for the bonus amount? Or is it as I suspect - nothing really happens; you keep the bonus and they don't really do anything about it?

It is possible that the bank doesnt enforce the rule but I have never tried it with any bank.

But if they want to enforce it, they will charge your account the fee (sending it to negative balance). At that point, you cannot close the account because of the negative balance; other fees/penalty may now apply for an account with negative balance. In any case, you will have to pay the bank to take care of it; bank will have the usual tools under their disposal to collect on an account that is over drawn.

 

They also have the option to report you to chexsystems. Good luck opening a new bank account after that.

elfrozo said:   When one opens a bank account with an opening bonus and one of the requirements is to keep the account open for 6 months how does the bank enforce this rule?

For example, if I open an account, meet the requirements and receive the bonus in one month. Then I transfer the money out leaving the account with a zero balance and request account closure.

What exactly happens? Is the account left with a negative balance or do they send a bill for the bonus amount? Or is it as I suspect - nothing really happens; you keep the bonus and they don't really do anything about it?

  
As others have mentioned, the bank can just apply a negative balance when you close the account.  Now you owe them fees, plus the penalty.  Sound like a smart move?   Some banks (e.g. USAA) have terms that allow them to open a closed account to pay checks, ACH debits, charge fees, etc. and incur a negative balance, which will result in additional fees. 

forbin4040 said:   They also have the option to report you to chexsystems. Good luck opening a new bank account after that.

That, and send it to collections.  So now you can't get another bank account and you have a ding on your credit.  Not worth it.



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