How to Correctly Cancel a Credit Card
Cancelling credit cards involve a little more than simply cutting them up. We’re going to teach you how to effectively close your credit cards and avoid any future issues.
- Closing your credit card account
- How to cancel joint credit cards
- How to get a refund if your account has a credit balance
Closing your credit card account
Not closing your credit card correctly can result in the continuation of fees and penalties, even when you’ve ceased the use of your card. You also run the risk of having fraudulent activity on your card, and not knowing about it. This could land on your credit report and become an unnecessary inconvenience.
There are two methods to canceling your credit card accounts- calling your creditors and cancelling over the phone, or cancelling through online banking or your mobile app.
How to cancel a credit card over the phone
You can call your creditor and ask them to close your account. To do so, follow these simple steps:
- Cancel direct debits. Cancel all the direct payments set up from your credit card.
- Zero balance. Make sure to pay off your balance on the card, or perform a balance transfer to take advantage of a lower interest rate. In order to cancel your card, your balance must be zero.
- Call your creditor. Express to them that you wish to close your account. They’ll ask for verification of your identity, as the primary cardholder is the only person eligible to close the account. Go one step further and take notes of who you spoke with, and the date and time of your call.
- Get it in writing. Send a letter that details your request to close your account, after you make your call. In the letter, list the account details, your signature, and the notes you took from your phone call. Request written confirmation that your card has been closed. Save the letter in the event there are any future issues.
- Confirmation. It’s likely you will receive confirmation from your creditor that your card and account were closed. This might be a letter or statement from the company. If you don’t see it within a reasonable amount of time, follow up with the creditor again.
Smart Tip: Because your credit report lists details of your credit cards, it’s important to pay any outstanding balance in full before closing the account. Doing so will mitigate the risk of any defaults listed on your report.
Cancelling your credit card online
Creditors should make it available to you to cancel your credit cards online, through mobile banking, or online banking accounts. Before making the move to cancel the account online, complete the following tasks:
- Cancel any direct debits you’ve set up with your card
- Pay the balance down to zero, including any interest and fees
- Ensure that there are no pending transactions on your account
- View your account online (you likely have to set up one if you haven’t prior to now).
- Locate and click on the link to close the credit card, reading all information and selecting “continue.”
- Close the account. Once confirmed, your account will be closed.
- Receive confirmation. You should get a confirmation that your credit card has closed and that a final statement will be sent to you. You may also have instructions of the steps you can take if there’s any reason the creditor could not complete the cancellation online.
Smart tip: Make sure you have confirmation that the account has been closed. If you don’t receive anything, follow up with the creditor accordingly.
How to cancel joint credit cards
If you have two cards linked to a single account, you should check to see if the account is in both names, or identify the primary cardholder. The primary cardholder will be the person who has the ability to close the account.
Primary and secondary credit cardholders
The primary cardholder has sole liability of any outstanding debts on the account. Talk with the creditor about cancelling the secondary card.
The secondary cardholder may not have the ability to prevent his or her card from being cancelled.
Joint credit cards
If your credit card belongs to a joint account, where both names are associated with the card, then both must make the agreement to close the account. Both account holders will also have to agree on how to repay any outstanding debts.
If you cannot make the payments in full, call your creditor to let them know. You should have the option to freeze your account and prevent any additional charges.
How to get a refund if your account has a credit balance
Some people find that when they’ve closed an account, they have a credit from overpayments or interest adjustments prior to closing. Unfortunately, the credit balance may not automatically be refunded.
If you find your credit card has a positive balance after you’ve closed your account, contact the company who issued your card and ask for a refund of the balance. Your creditor may transfer the balance to another existing account you have with them, or send a check by mail.
Avoid unnecessary stress by properly cancelling your credit card and closing your account.