Protect your finances and your credit rating by learning how to cancel and close a credit card account the right way.
Taking scissors to your credit card may stop you from using it, but it doesn’t mean that the account has been closed. Open credit card accounts can accrue fees, leave you open to undetected fraud and have an impact on your credit rating. So, if you no longer have a use for your credit card, learn how to cancel and close it the right way in order to avoid problems in the future.
How to contact your bank to close your credit card account
You can organise to cancel your credit card at any time by calling your bank or credit card provider. Below, we've included contact details for the major credit card providers in Australia, but you could also just call the number on the back of your credit card.
|ANZ||13 22 73 | 24 hours. 7 days a week.|
|American Express||Please call the number on the back of your card. Alternatively, call 1300 132 639, 24/7.|
|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 | 24 hours. 7 days a week.|
|Commonwealth Bank||1800 006 729 | Mon - Fri: 9am - 5:30pm. Alternatively, close your account via NetBank or the CommBank app.|
|HSBC||132 152 | 24 hours. 7 days a week.|
|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 - 7pm, Sat: 9am - 6pm. Alternatively, close your account via Internet Banking.|
|People’s Choice||13 11 82 | Mon - Fri: 8am - 8pm, Sat: 8.30am - 4.30pm|
|St.George||13 33 30 | Mon - Sat: 8am - 8pm|
|Virgin Money||13 37 39 | 24 hours. 7 days a week.|
|Westpac||1300 651 0890 | Mon-Fri: 9am-8pm. Alternatively, close your account via the Westpac mobile banking app or Westpac Live online Banking.|
|Woolworths||1300 10 1234 | Mon - Fri: 8am - 8pm, Sat: 9am - 5pm|
Steps to cancel your credit card
Closing your credit card account isn't complicated, but there are a few steps you should take before calling your bank or cutting your card in half.
- Pay off your balance. You won't be able to cancel a credit card with an outstanding balance. If you're struggling to repay your credit card debt because of high interest, talk to your provider about other options or consider transferring your balance to a card with a promotional 0% offer on balance transfers.
- Call your bank first. While some banks allow you to close your credit card online, it's usually good to call them first to make sure there are no outstanding fees or pending transactions that could affect your account. If your account is in order, you could get lucky and find that closing the account is as easy as making that one phone call.
- Cancel any direct debits. Make sure that you change the details for any direct debits that were being paid using the credit card. A payment request from a direct debit could reactivate the card even after the issuer has received written notice that you wish to cancel.
- Transfer or use any remaining rewards points. If you're using a rewards credit card and still have rewards points leftover, either transfer them to a partnered frequent flyer partner if you have an account with them or use the points to redeem a reward to ensure they don't go to waste.
- Stand firm. In some cases, your provider may ask you why you're closing the account and could suggest other options. But if you really don't want to use the card or open another account, politely decline and reinforce your desire to close the account.
- Send written notice. In addition to the phone call, you can send a written notice to the bank with your request to close the credit card using registered mail. In the letter, you should list the name on the account and the account number along with your request to cancel. You're not always asked or required to do this, but it could help give you extra piece of mind.
Once the provider has cancelled your card, you'll receive confirmation that the account is closed, usually in the mail. Keep these details on hand in case you need them for future reference.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of closing my account?
Closing a long standing credit card account is not an easy decision to make. Weigh up some of the following pros and cons to help make the right choice for your finances.
- Reduced temptation to spend. Without an available line of credit, you might not be tempted to make unnecessary purchases that could result in debt.
- Improved credit rating. Too much revolving credit could hurt your credit rating, especially when it comes to applying for large loans like a home mortgage.
- Fewer fees. You could save money on annual fees by eliminating the number of open credit cards you have. Plus, if you're relying on your savings account to make purchases, you won't have the burden of interest.
- Credit availability. If your credit rating is not stellar you may find it difficult to be approved for another credit card product in the future. In that case, it may be better to keep the account open and use it sparingly and wisely in order to try and re-establish a good credit history.
- Emergency assistance. Credit cards are a convenient method of covering an expense in the event of an emergency. Not having one available could force you to look at other more expensive options such as fast-cash loans.
As your financial needs change, you might discover that a credit card is no longer working for you. Rather than having a collection of open accounts that you no longer use, you should take the time to cancel those cards. This allows you to take better control of your spending habits and your credit report so that you can work on building a better financial future. Otherwise, if you're looking to upgrade your credit card for a more competitive product, you can use our comparison tables and guides to compare your options.