What you need to know
Whether you're upgrading to a new credit card, getting a balance transfer, or are simply reducing the number of cards in your wallet, there comes a time when you need to cancel a credit card. But it’s not quite as simple as cutting your card in half.
Here, we give you the contact details for different providers, go through the steps you need to take to properly cancel a credit card, what else to consider before closing your account and answers to frequently asked questions. If you're not satisfied with your current card, you can also compare credit card offers to find a better option for you.
What’s the number to call when I want to cancel my credit card?
The phone number on the back of your credit card is usually a good bet, but here are details for contacting the major card companies to cancel your card:
|ANZ||13 22 73 | 24 hours, 7 days a week.|
|American Express||Customer service: 1300 132 639 | Alternatively, call the number on the back of your card.|
|Bank of Melbourne||13 22 66 | 24 hours, 7 days a week.|
|Citi||13 24 84 | 24 hours, 7 days a week.|
|Coles Mastercard||1300 306 397 | Mon-Fri: 8am-9pm, Sat: 8am-8pm, Sun: 830am-8pm|
|Commonwealth Bank||13 22 21 | 24 hours, 7 days a week.|
|Latitude Finance (formerly GE Money)||Cards have different contact numbers. Please call the number on the back of your card.|
|HSBC||1300 308 008 | Mon-Fri: 8am-8pm|
|IMB||133 462 | Mon-Fri: 8am-8pm, Sat: 9am-4pm|
|Jetstar||1300 150 100 | 24 hours. 7 days a week.|
|NAB||13 22 65 | Mon-Fri: 8am - 5:45pm|
|People’s Choice||13 11 82 | Mon-Fri: 8am-8pm, Sat: 830am-430pm|
|St.George||13 33 30 | 24 hours. 7 days a week.|
|Virgin Money||13 37 39 | 24 hours. 7 days a week.|
|Westpac||132 032 | Mon-Sun: 8am-8pm|
|Woolworths||1300 10 1234 | Mon-Fri: 8am-8pm, Sat: 9am-5pm|
How to properly cancel your credit card
Follow these steps to cancel your credit card successfully:
- Pay or transfer the outstanding balance. If you try to close your account with an outstanding balance, the bank could increase the interest rate or demand full and immediate payment. If you plan to do a balance transfer, you’ll need to include the details of your previous account in the application and close your account after the transfer is complete.
- Transfer any reward points. If you have any existing reward points on the card, redeem them for rewards or transfer them to your frequent flyer account before requesting the cancellation of the card. All unclaimed points are forfeited when you close your account.
- Cancel direct debits. Make sure you cancel all existing direct debits linked to your credit card because a direct debit can reactivate a cancelled card, even when you’ve requested the account closure.
- Call to cancel your card. Once you’ve paid your outstanding balance and claimed your reward points, call your card provider’s customer service department to inform them of your decision to close the account. Some card providers might agree to cancel your card over the phone by confirming your identity, while others might require that you send a written request. If you have to send a letter, get the address over the phone. If you can cancel the card over the phone, make a record of the date, time, and name of the representative you speak with.
- Cancel your card in writing. If you need to send a cancellation request in writing, include your credit card number and account number in the letter and state your request for the card provider to close the account. You should receive a letter confirming the closure of the account, so make sure you keep this information safe in case you need to make a dispute in the future.
- Check for future statements. Try to log into your account or go through your credit card statements following your request to make sure that the card is definitely cancelled.
- Destroy your credit card. It is advised that you cut the card into tiny pieces to make it impossible for anyone to piece it back together. If you're feeling extra cautious, discard the pieces at different times or places.
- Confirmation. You should receive a cancellation confirmation by mail. If you don’t, follow up with your lender using details from your first phone call.
What else should I consider when cancelling my credit card?
If you're planning to closing your credit card account, make sure you also consider the following factors before you take action.
- Annual fees. Check when your credit card annual fee will be charged and whether or not this will affect your final payments when you plan to close your account.
- Applying for a new credit card. If your plan is to cancel one card and apply for a new one, know that applying too many times can have a negative impact on your credit history.
- Bad credit. Poor creditworthiness is bound to affect your ability to get a credit card in the future. So if you already have a lot of debt, you may want to hold off on cancelling your card while you focus on paying down your debts. As well as giving you immediate access to credit if you need it, this strategy can help improve your chances of approval for a new card down the track.
Expert advice on cancelling cards and your credit report
We spoke to Katherine Craig, Equifax’s Public Relations Manager, to get insights on how cancelling a credit card could affect your credit report. She says a priority should be settling outstanding payments on your account before you go to close it so that you can avoid default listings.
“If you have a default on your credit file, it is a smart thing to pay the debt. Your credit report will then record the default as having been paid (and the date on which it was paid). It may impact your ability to get credit or get it at the most valuable price, but it is certainly better than leaving it unpaid."
So what about cancelling one card and applying for another? If that's your goal, Katherine recommends limiting your applications to reduce the impact on your credit rating.
“Credit reports don’t show the type of credit, or whether it was granted or taken up, what (your) current credit limit is or if it is now closed. However, too many applications for credit can impact a lender’s view – it may actually appear to (the banks) that you have a lot more active credit commitments than you do.” If you’ve submitted too many credit card applications in the recent past, Katherine suggests that you wait for around three to six months before applying again.
What should I do if I'm not happy with my credit card?
If you've got a credit card that's not working for you anymore, you may want to find one that's more suited to your needs. There are many types of credit cards in the market including no annual fee, low rate, rewards and frequent flyer cards, as well as those with purchase rate and 0% balance transfer offers. And once you find a card that you are happy with, you can apply for it and cancel the old card.