How to cancel a credit card

Cancelling your credit card correctly

There is more to cancelling a credit card than just cutting it up. Here we show you the right way to close your credit card to avoid these problems in the future.

Closing your credit card account

It's important to close your credit card account correctly. If you don't, 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, and to default listings appearing on your credit report.

Smart tip

Your credit report includes details of your credit cards, so it's important to repay the outstanding balance in full before you close the card to avoid a default listing.

There are two ways you can cancel your credit card accounts. You can cancel by calling your credit provider or online through your internet banking or mobile app.

How to cancel your credit card by phone

You can cancel your credit card by calling your credit provider and asking them to close your account. To close and cancel your credit card by phone, follow these steps.

  1. Cancel direct debits - Cancel all direct debit payments from your credit card
  2. Zero balance - Pay off your account balance or transfer the balance to another card with a lower interest rate. 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 card holder 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.

How to cancel your credit card online

From 1 January 2019, all credit card providers must give you the option of cancelling your credit card online. Some banks already let you do this through your internet banking or an app. Before you cancel your credit card online, make sure:

  • you cancel any direct debits
  • you've paid off the balance in full, including any accrued interest and fees
  • there are no pending transactions on the account.

Smart tip

Make sure you receive confirmation that the account has been closed. If you don't, contact your credit provider to check.

To cancel your credit card online:

  1. View your accounts online - Select your credit card account in the list.
  2. Click the link to close your credit card - Read the information on this page and select continue.
  3. Close account - Your account will be closed when you confirm.
  4. Confirmation - You'll receive confirmation your credit card is closed and a final statement will be sent. You will also be advised of the steps you can take if your provider wasn't able to cancel your card online.

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 card holders

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 on how you will pay any outstanding debts on the card, as you are both 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.

Getting a refund if your account has a credit balance

When you close a credit account, any overpayments, credit or interest adjustments could result in your account balance being in credit. This may not be automatically refunded to you.

If your credit card has a credit balance after you have closed the account, contact the card issuer and ask for the credit balance be refunded. Your credit provider may do this by transferring the balance to another account you hold with them or they may send you a cheque.

ASIC will take action against any credit providers who fail to refund customers of their outstanding balance when their accounts are closed. See ASIC's media release on refunds given to Citibank credit card customers.

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

Related links

Last updated: 13 Aug 2018