How to cancel a credit card

Cancelling a credit card

There is more to cancelling a credit card than just cutting it up.  If you don't close your account properly, you could still be charged fees or penalties, even if you no longer use the card.  You could also leave yourself open to undetected fraud if someone else uses your card details without your knowledge.

Here we show you the right way to close your credit card to avoid these problems in the future.

Steps to closing your credit card

To close and cancel your credit card, follow these steps.

  1. Cancel direct debits - Cancel all direct debit payments from your credit card
  2. Zero balance - Pay off your account balance. Your balance must be zero before cancelling the card.
  3. Call your credit card provider - Tell them you would like to close the account. They will need to verify your identity because only the primary cardholder can close the account. Take note of the date and time you called, and the name of the customer service officer you spoke to.
  4. Put it in writing - Follow up your call with a letter confirming you want to close the account. Include your credit card account details, your signature, and details of your phone call. Ask for written confirmation that the card has been closed. Keep a copy of your letter in case there are any issues later.
  5. Confirmation - You should receive confirmation from your credit card company once the card is closed. This could be a letter or a final statement. If it does not arrive, follow up with the credit card provider.

Cancelling joint credit cards

If your credit cards are linked to a single account, check whether the account is in both of your names or which one of you is the primary card holder and which person is the secondary card holder. This will determine who can close the account, and how.

Primary and secondary credit cards

If you are the primary card holder, you are solely liable for any debt on the credit card account, so talk to your credit card provider about cancelling the secondary card.

If you are the secondary card holder you may not be able to prevent your card being cancelled.

Joint credit cards

If your credit card is in joint names, both card holders must agree to close the account. You will also need to agree about how you will pay any outstanding debts on the card, as you are equally liable for the debt. 

If you cannot pay the account in full, contact your credit provider to inform them, and ask them to put a stop on the account to prevent any further transactions.

Avoid unnecessary problems by closing your account and cancelling your credit card properly.

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Last updated: 20 Jun 2017