So . . . you’ve ditched those credit cards. Go you! And now that you’ve cut them to shreds, the temptation to use credit for that next have-to-have purchase is gone—for good.
But did you know that cutting up the card doesn’t actually cancel it? You’ve got to take it a step further and close the account. Don’t worry, it’s not too hard. We’ll show you how to cancel that credit card and close your account forever.
1. Pay Off Your Card Balance
Hopefully you’ve already done this, but just in case, we’ll tell you again. Pay off that card balance!
We know that sometimes people have to cut up the credit card before the balance is paid, especially if they’ve finally realized what their spouse has been trying to tell them all along—that they might have a bit of a spending problem.
Regardless of why or when you cut up your card, we’re proud of you! Just remember, before you can cancel your credit card account, you’ve got to get that balance to zero.
2. Call the Credit Card Company
Closing your credit card can either be a breeze or it can be a bit tricky. Either way, it’s worth your time and effort to close down the account.
So get out that smartphone and call your card’s customer service. You’ll want to tell them that you and your credit card account are breaking up. (You don’t have to use those exact words, but feel free to get creative.)
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Here’s a word of warning, though: The customer service rep likely won’t let you off the hook easily. They’ve been trained for this very moment—to keep you on the line so they can change your mind.
If that’s the case, just stay calm and repeat, “I’m calling to close my account.” And that’s all you have to say! Not even another word. Listen, they’re going to say whatever they can think of to keep you from closing your account. But don’t fall for these gimmicks:
- You’ll lose all your hard-earned reward points.
- Your FICO score will never be the same.
- No more cashback bonuses for you.
Once they realize you’re not picking up what they’re putting down, they’ll probably try to win you over with some freebies like:
- We’ll give you 5,000 airline miles.
- What if we waive your annual fee?
- How about no fees?
Whatever you do, don’t fall for it. They’re not trying to shower you with gifts. They’re trying to keep the thousands of dollars in revenue you represent, because when they see you, they see dollar signs. So be prepared. You might have to fight (kindly, of course) to cancel your credit card account.
If you don’t seem to be getting through to the person on the other end, don’t be afraid to ask for their manager. Keep letting them know you want to close your account. Hopefully, someone will catch on to the fact that you’re not to be bribed and will finally close your account.
3. Get It in Writing
Here’s the most important part: Get it in writing! No matter what you do, you want written confirmation that you closed your account. Be as detailed as possible. Write down who you spoke with and when the conversations took place.
When in doubt, remember what your English teacher said: Who, what, when, where and why. The answers to these questions will come in handy if the credit card company gives you any trouble down the road.
And now that you have it in writing, you’ll want to send the credit card company a certified letter with the details of your conversation, including date, time, names and any confirmation numbers you received. Make sure to request a written statement that shows your balance is all clear and your account is completely closed.
4. Never Look Back
Congratulations! We’re patting you on the back right now. While others are keeping old accounts open to “save” their almighty credit score, you’ve taken a huge step on the path toward being free from debt for good.
So, what now? (We’re so glad you asked.) If you have more credit cards, it’s time to scroll back up and repeat the process. Call your friends and family and lead the way in showing them how to close their credit card accounts too. And last but not least, finish strong. Attack all your debt (using the debt snowball) until it’s completely GONE.
Want to crush all your debt and take control of your money for good? You need to come at it with the triple threat: learn, budget, track. Learn with Financial Peace University. Budget quickly and accurately with EveryDollar Plus. Track your progress with the BabySteps app. And now you can get all three in a free trial of Financial Peace! Try it out today.