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How to Prevent ‘Zombie’ Bank Accounts from Chewing Away at Your Finances


In zombie news updates:

Trial date set for Baltimore college student who ate roommate’s brains and heart

Naked man storms girlfriend’s house, bites chunk out of man’s arm

Dead man’s zombie bank account springs back to life, eats entire family’s finances

Fueled by a string of cannibalistic attacks and zombie pop culture hype, Summer 2012 will likely go down as the Reign of the Walking Dead.

While many Americans are still cowering in fear over potential bath salt attacks or an undead apocalypse, an epidemic of vacant-eyed, blood-soaked monsters hungry for brains won’t be the only threats rising from the dead.

Following a series of debt obligations rising from the grave, Bank of America Corp. announced last week it will no longer “reanimate” closed accounts when a business attempts to withdraw or deposit funds.

This “reanimation” has been aptly nicknamed by many consumer advocate groups as “zombie accounts”, or a bank account that has reopened after cancellation. While banks and businesses stand to make a hefty sum off these reopened accounts, they have the potential to inflict severe damage on accountholder finances.

Although much of the zombie craze has been rooted in hype, the financial nightmare that can be birthed by these monstrous bank accounts is far from horror fiction.

Killing a Bank Account Harder Than Ever

While it doesn’t take much to breed a zombie, killing them is a different story. Although they move at a snail’s pace and have the wit of a sea sponge, try as you might, taking the clumsy cannibal down can be difficult.

Just as killing a flesh-feaster is no easy task, squashing the potential for a zombie bank account attack can be challenging. With such an increased reliance on automatic payments in recent years, it can be all too easy to let a potentially dangerous bill slip under the radar.

According to a recent survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, one in five customers considered switching banks but didn’t because of the hassle, effort and fees involved with the process.

While the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is making strides to eliminate obstacles of closing a bank account, it would seem that automated deposits and bill payments have made it increasingly difficult to kill a former account.

Keep Your Arsenal in Check and an Undead Account Down for Good

When confronted with a zombie, there are three routes to take. The first, you die. The second, you become a brain-muncher yourself. The third, you equip your arsenal and fight back.

When it comes to resurrected bank accounts, consumers can employ a similar form of fighting when it comes to their finances.

Zombie bank accounts were usually reanimated because of negligence on the part of the customer, business or bank. While it’s difficult to control the latter two, there are steps you can take to ensure a safe route to a new bank account.

  • Find a new bank before closing a former account. This will ensure your funds have an immediate home following a closure.
  • Review all your automated payments. This step will require the most diligence and effort. Make a list of every automatic payment you’ve made over the past 12 months.
  • Transfer funds. Move all your former funds and direct automated payments to a new account, and be sure to inform your bank that you intend to close your old account.
  • Close your account. Don’t forget to request a written, signed statement of your closure by the bank. This will come in handy should you be faced with a reopened account.

Make an effort to see that no automated payment slips under the radar. Just one overlooked bill, even a small one, can bear monstrous fangs if associated with an overdraft fee.

Along with pesky gym memberships and old cable bills, make sure your credit card isn’t in a position to chew away at your finances. The American Express Prepaid Card and American Express Gold Card both offer tight overdraft protection programs, even when confronted with a closed account.

What to Do If You’ve Been Bit

Being slashed by a slew of late fees and overdraft charges with a reanimated bank account is a lot like being nibbled at by a zombie. There’s not a whole lot that you can do to avoid impending doom. You’ll have to cough up the fees or face further punishment.

However, if your reactivated account is anything like the wave of drug-induced cannibalism that’s hit the states recently, chances are you might be experiencing a pseudo-zombie attack.

Check your bank’s policy on reactivated bank accounts. If you bank with Chase, Bank of America or most other major banks, chances are there’s a provision against reopening a closed account. However, banks and business alike stand to rake in a hefty sum off of reanimated accounts gone under the radar, so they’re not likely to notify you of an overdraft unless you’re checking.

Always contact your bank if an account has been reopened. There’s a good chance you won’t be at fault. If you were able to get your hands on a signed document verifying your account closure, even better.

However, if your bank won’t budge and you feel terrorized by a zombie account, consider filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the bank account section.

Whether or not the zombie craze will continue in the coming months is uncertain, but the potential of resurrected, “zombified” bank accounts is all too real. Always make sure to properly prepare your arsenal if you want to avoid being the next victim.

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