Top 3 Ways To Cancel Your Credit Card

Find yourself haunted by a credit card your business doesn’t use? If it comes with extraneous fees that outweigh your rewards rate, you may want to just cancel the card and completely close your account. You might also need to cancel a card if you put too many purchases onto the card—negatively affecting your business’s finances.

Unfortunately (for obvious reasons), card issuers don’t make it quick or easy to close an account. So what are the best ways to cancel a credit card? Keep reading—we’ve outlined some of the top ways to get rid of that card.

1. Cancel Online

By far the easiest way to cancel a credit card is through an online interface. Unfortunately, not all issuers offer this option via their online portals.

Doing it online isn’t only a quick way to cancel. If you’re able to cancel your card online, you’ll also be able to avoid customer service agents who might try to convince you to keep your card. On top of that, you won’t have to wait on hold or navigate unnecessarily complicated phone menus.

If your card offers the ability to cancel online, you should be able to find the option after logging into your account. However, note that sometimes companies will place cancellation options behind multiple pages. This could make finding the option to cancel tricky.

2. Cancel By Phone

If you don’t have an online option for cancellation, you’ll be able to call your issuer to close your account. The appropriate number should be found on your issuer’s website. There should also be a customer service number on the back of your credit card.

Of course, by calling, you’ll probably deal with complicated phone menus before being put on hold to wait for a customer service agent. And then once you do reach a human being, they might try to convince you to not cancel your card by providing a counteroffer. These things all take up extra time and create more hassle.

Receiving a counteroffer may not be the worst thing in the world, however. For instance, if the only reason you’re canceling is that you can’t afford the annual fee, you could receive an option to waive the fee. Or perhaps you’ll get an offer to switch you to a different card with no annual fee. Either option may make it worth it for you to not cancel the card.

3. Cancel By Mail

You also have the option to cancel by sending a letter via traditional mail. If you choose to send a certified letter through USPS, you’ll have a receipt of proof that your issuer received the letter.

Because of its slow sending speed, writing a letter may be a good option to do after you already requested a cancellation via the Internet or by phone. This way, you’ll have a paper trail for proof that you wanted your account canceled, but will still be able to take advantage of the faster cancellation routes.

You won’t send the letter to the same address that you send payments. Instead, you can often find the correct correspondence address by looking at your most recent credit card statement. It’s also a good idea to include all (or part) of your account number so that the issuer can easily determine who’s actually requesting a cancellation.

This option likely provides the least amount of hassle to you, as you won’t need to hunt for a hidden cancellation button on a website, nor will you have to wait on hold. However, it certainly takes the longest because it could be up to a week for your letter to reach its destination. As such, a letter is best utilized in conjunction with online or phone cancellation methods.

What Not To Do When Cancelling Credit Cards

If your card is the oldest line of credit on your credit history, you may want to think twice before closing your account. Canceling your oldest credit line could make your overall credit history appear shorter, and a shorter credit history might make future creditors less likely to do business with your company.

You’ll also want to be wary of closing multiple accounts at once or in a short time span. Future card issuers or lenders tend to look suspiciously at that kind of activity, and you might even see a dip in your credit score. If you’re working on improving your credit score, you’ll especially want to keep this mind.

If you’re serious about not using a card, don’t just simply toss it away or cut it up and forget about it. In this case, your card’s issuer won’t know you want the account cancelled—they’ll just see a lack of activity. This means you may still be subject to various fees (such as annual ones) and there might be potential interest if you’re still carrying a balance.

Additionally, once you’ve canceled a card, don’t just leave it lying around or throw it out completely intact. Instead, cut it up before dumping into the trash. This will help combat any potential fraud because the magnetic strip will be completely unusable. If you have a chip in the card, make sure the chip has also been destroyed.

On top of all that, don’t forget to monitor your credit score after canceling. You’ll want to make sure the cancellation hasn’t brought about errors to your credit history. If you don’t know where to look for your credit score, we’ve compiled a list of the best free credit-checking websites.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it bad to cancel a credit card?

This really depends on your particular situation. Canceling a line of credit may have unfortunate consequences on your credit score. For instance, as we mentioned above, if you cancel your oldest line of credit, your report may show a shorter credit history. Additionally, you may also see a drop in your actual credit score—especially if you cancel a bunch of cards in quick succession.

However, if you have a rarely-used card that charges a hefty annual fee, it may be best to cancel, regardless of the negative consequences. Should you go that route, but still want a credit card available to swipe, there are a number of options with no annual fees.

Is it better to cancel an unused credit card?

Once again, this can only be answered on a case by case basis. If your unused card carries an annual fee that’s ultimately not affordable, then it might be worth canceling.

However, if your unused card does not have an annual fee, you’ll want to think twice. For starters, unused cards will still get reported to credit bureaus, something that could look good on a credit report. Plus, it might also be worth having a card in case you need to make a purchase with credit.

Can you cancel a credit card online?

As we discussed earlier, this depends on your credit card issuer. Some issuers will provide cancellation options through their online portal. Others may require that you call or write to close your account.

How can I cancel a credit card application?

If you want to avoid a “hard pull” on your credit history and need to cancel a credit card application, contact the issuer as soon as possible. In most cases, you’ll need to call the issuer’s customer service line.

Note that if you’ve applied online, you may only have several minutes to cancel. If you applied via mail, you’ll likely have a longer time span because the application will spend several days in transit.

Some issuers may also let you decline an account after approval. This won’t save you from having a hard pull, because the application has already gone through. However, it will enable you to avoid any potential penalties that come with closing a recently-opened account.

Final Thoughts

Credit cards are a tricky area to maneuver, and sometimes it’s just best to get rid of one. As a good rule of thumb, you’ll want to cancel your card online or over the phone, and then follow up by sending a certified letter. This will enable you to cancel the account relatively quickly, while keeping a paper trail for your records.

Of course, numerous other credit cards may work well for your business, even if your current one doesn’t. If you still want a credit card, but are looking for a different option, Merchant Maverick has you covered.

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