One would assume if you had a positive amount of money in a bank account, then you your be safe leaving it there. That is not the case these days as one member explained in the forums:
I had a saving account that I had a car payment automatically withdrawn from a few years ago. The last time I used the account was a deposit in January of 2005 when the car loan was paid off. There was a residual balance of $19 left in the account at the time. In the meantime I moved, got married, bought a house, had a baby, and completely forgot about the account. I never changed my address with the bank so I never received any statements as well.
Just yesterday I remembered I had the account so I looked into and it was an odd coincidence that it was only closed last Friday with a -$154 balance. That’s right, I left an account open with a positive balance for 2 years and through service fees the account reached a negative one-hundred-fifty-four dollar balance.
I talked to them on the phone and here’s what happened. The account only went negative from their service fees just recently, but once it reaches a -$10 balance they charged me $5 a day for almost 30 days before closing the account. I could possible understand this if I overdrew the account, but their own service fees forced the account negative. I’ve talked to the bank manager about this and she did not offer any help and just stated that this is their policy.
I had a very similar incident happen to me while living in Japan. I have an account with no fees that I left open with information going to my old address. When I returned I found that they had initiated a monthly fee completely unknown to me and had proceeded to drain $150 from the account. When I contacted them they were completely unsympathetic and it wasn’t until I mentioned that I was planning place more money into their bank that they were willing to waive the fee.
While one would assume that leaving a positive amount in a bank account would be safe, it really isn’t. If you have an account that you are no longer going to use, it’s better to close it completely rather than face a situation like the one above.