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It’s official. You’re on a budget and living like no one else! Congratulations!
Now what should you do about those pesky credit cards? You should definitely destroy them—and it will feel great. But first you need to close the credit card accounts. And that means you’ll have to deal with those annoying credit card reps. Be prepared—they’re not going to make this easy.
That’s because you make them a lot of money. By the end of 2016, Americans approached $1 trillion in credit card debt, according to the Federal Reserve. So don’t be surprised when you call the card issuer and you’re transferred to a smooth-talking retention specialist.
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Closing a Credit Card Is a Pain
They’re so used to having people call and cancel credit cards that they have entire teams waiting to stop you. But don’t worry. You know they’re just saying whatever they can think of to keep you from leaving:
- You’ll lose all your reward points.
- You’ll ruin your FICO score.
- You’ll lose your cash-back bonus.
Once they realize you’re not biting, they might try something a little more positive:
- We’ll give you 5,000 airline miles.
- We’ll waive your annual fee.
- We’ll switch you to a no-fee card.
They’re not trying to be kind. They’re trying to keep the thousands of dollars’ worth of revenue you represent. So be prepared to fight (politely, of course) to close your credit card account.
To help you succeed, we’ve got a few no-nonsense tips for breaking up with your credit card company.
How to Cancel a Credit
1. Be Clear.
After confirming your balance is zero, take a deep breath and repeat this phrase: “I’m calling to close my account.” Be firm. Let them know you’re not interested in their offers or their threats. You’re calling for one reason and one reason only—to cancel your credit card.
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2. Repeat as Needed.
If they don’t get the extremely clear hint, stay calm and repeat, “I’m calling to close my account.” Only those words. Nothing more. They should catch on and close your account just to get you off the line (and focus on making money from someone else). If not, ask for a manager. Keep going up the chain until someone gives.
3. Keep Proof.
As you make your way through this (hopefully quick) process, keep track of who you speak to and when. Then send the credit card company a certified letter with the details of your conversation including date, time, names, and any confirmation numbers you received. Request a statement in writing that shows your account is closed and your balance is clear.
Time to Celebrate!
Once your account is closed, focus on something celebratory—like cutting up your card with a pair of hedge clippers. Next, if you have more than one credit card account, repeat the process. After all, you’re a pro now! Show those credit card reps you mean business!
Cutting credit cards out of the picture can bring you one step closer to financial peace. Learn the next steps to taking control of your money with Financial Peace University Online. Get one year of full access to Dave’s most popular class anytime, anywhere. Start FPU Online today!