How to Cancel A Credit Card the Right Way

How to Cancel a Credit Card

When we talk about how to cancel a credit card, there are various reasons to understand before doing it. Whether because you want to split up, have no desire to pay the fees, the card is no longer making sense, you’re done with the debt, or the card has been used fraudulently.

Closing or canceling a credit card, though, isn’t as simple as cutting it in half. There are some requirements you need to follow to make sure your account is closed properly. After all, you don't want to incur any fees or lose the rest of the rewards.

Should you cancel a credit card?

Experts generally advise you not to cancel a credit card as it can harm your credit score. But if you are being charged high annual fees or interest rates, closing your credit card can be beneficial.

If you're looking for information on how to cancel a credit card or how to cancel a credit card that was never activated, take a minute to evaluate your decision to ensure it's a smart choice.

Keep in mind that if your card has no annual fee, then there’s no harm to keep it open. But if you lose money on the card, you can contact the card issuer and ask if you can switch to a credit card without an annual fee.

1. Pay off the remaining balance

Before canceling your card, pay off your credit card balance in full. While you may be able to close an account with a balance, paying it off in full is recommended. It ensures you do not forget your balance or get charged.

You may also consider completing the balance transfer before closing your card. The remaining debt can be transferred to a balance transfer credit card which offers up to 21 months without interest.

After paying off the balance, make sure you also renew your subscription and automatic payments to the new card. These payments will not be approved once your account is closed, and you may risk service interruptions or fees from the billing company. In case you don't have a rewards card, head right away to step three.

2. Redeem any rewards

If you’re learning how to cancel a credit card and the card has rewards, any unused cash back, points, or miles may be forfeited upon account closure.

It's a good idea to redeem or transfer the rewards before closing your account so you don't lose the rewards you've earned.

3. Call your credit card company, bank, or issuer

To learn more about how to cancel a credit card, make sure to double-check that there is no balance left in your account. If you carry a balance from month to month, there may be residual interest.

Once you've made sure the balance is zero, tell the representative that you want to permanently close your account. The representative may try to dissuade you or offer a retention offer, but it's ultimately your decision, so re-confirm that you want to cancel your account.

Let the representative know that you want to note that the account was closed at your request, which ensures that your account will not appear closed by default.

Make sure you have important information, such as the date and time you requested the cancellation, the name of the person you spoke to, as well as the mailing address for sending the written cancellation letter.

4. Send a cancellation letter

One of the keys to this article on how to cancel a credit card is sending the cancellation letter. It may seem old-fashioned to send a cancellation letter after you've just called, but it's an important step that shouldn't be overlooked.

Chances are it's the representative you spoke to close your account, but there's always the possibility of a mistake or a computer glitch.

Follow up with a short letter to your card issuer stating your desire to close the credit card. State that you want the account to be “closed at the customer's request” and include important information, such as name, phone number, address, account number, and the details of your call with the bank representative.

As an added layer of protection, send the letter by certified mail so you can prove it was delivered. You can also request written confirmation that your account has been closed with a zero balance.

5. Check your credit report

In learning how to cancel a credit card, you need to be patient as it can take a month or more for your credit report to reflect the canceled credit card.

Once you see the closed account on your credit report, verify that the reason for the closure is "closed at customer request," or something similar. If the reason is different, such as “closed by the issuer,” call your bank to resolve the mistake as it could potentially harm your credit score.

6. Destroy your old card

Once your account is officially closed, the last step is to destroy your card. This can be done by simply putting your card in a shredder, or you can also cut it into pieces.

In case your card is made of metal instead of plastic, these ways won’t work. You can contact your bank and request a prepaid envelope that you can use to mail your old card back. Your bank will safely dispose of it once you receive your card.

How to Cancel A Credit Card Online

Some banks offer customers the option of submitting a credit card cancellation request online.

To make a request online, you need to visit the bank's website, fill out the form, and submit the request. Once the request is made, a bank representative will call to confirm the cancellation request.

How to Cancel A Credit Card Payment

You can notify the card issuer by phone, email, or mail. Your card issuer has no right to force you to ask the company to take payment in advance.

They have to stop the payment if you ask for it. If you request to stop payments, the card issuer must investigate each case at its discretion.

How to Cancel A Credit Card Application

Once you realize that you need to cancel your credit card application, contact the credit issuer's customer service line. You need to speak to a representative and ask them to cancel your application.

How to Cancel A Credit Card Without Hurting Your Credit

Credit cards can be canceled without damaging your credit score⁠; keep in mind that paying credit card balances in advance (not just those you cancel) is key. Closing a billing card will not affect your credit history.

How to Cancel A Credit Card Purchase

If you know that a credit card transaction is legal, but you want to cancel it because you changed your mind or made a purchase by mistake, take your request directly to the merchant who made the transaction.