How to Keep Your Bank From Closing All Your Accounts

Having a checking account is a privilege, not a right, but most people forget this until they lose access to their accounts.

The security software that banks use to sniff out criminal activity is easily frightened. It sets off millions of alarms across the industry each year, and most of them are false.

Nevertheless, bank staff members following up on the warnings appear to be cutting an increasing number of innocent customers off from their accounts, The New York Times reported in a series of recent articles. They close down checking and credit-card accounts in part to keep regulators, who are worried about money laundering and other criminal activity, out of their hair.

The closures often happen without warning, and chaos ensues when people lose access to their money for weeks and can’t pay their bills.

If you want to keep this from happening to you, it helps to keep your account activity from looking like that of a criminal’s.

Many of the tips that follow come from bank insiders who didn’t want to be named for fear of offending their employers — but who spoke anonymously because they are tired of their institutions kicking so many innocent customers out. Keep the advice in mind, and you might avoid being swept up in any future dragnet.

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