Back To Blog

How to Close a Credit Card Account

3 Minute ReadTopic: debt

It’s official. You’re getting on a budget and making 2017 the year of cash!

Now what to do about those pesky credit cards? Sure you can destroy them—and you will. But first you have to deal with those annoying credit card reps. They’re not gonna make this easy.

That’s because you make them a lot of money. The average consumer pays $2,630 in interest to credit card companies every year, according to NerdWallet’s 2015 credit card survey. And that doesn’t include any additional annual fees! So don’t be surprised when you call the card issuer and you’re transferred to a smooth-talking retention specialist.

The money class that will change your life!

Get Started

They’re so used to having people call and cancel 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 account. To help you succeed, we’ve got a few no-nonsense tips for breaking up with your credit card company:

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 card.

Related: No Credit Score, No Home?

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 off 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.

Free Download: Use this form from Financial Peace University to easily keep track of your credit card history.

Once your account is closed, you can focus on more important things, like cutting up your card with a pair of hedge clippers. After all these years together, the least you can do is send Amex out in style.

If you’re not sure how you can survive without a credit card, the first step is to get on a budget. Our free budget app EveryDollar can help you with just that.

Jump-Start Your Goals!

Jump-Start Your Goals!

Get our 8-Day JUMP START series and weekly newsletter that are packed with articles and tools to help you win with money.

Learn to Beat Debt

Take Control of Your Money!

The best way to get out of debt and take control of your money is to make a plan! Financial Peace University is that plan!

Find a Class

Thank You!

Your 8-Day Jump Start is on its way to !

More from the Blog