How to close and cancel your credit card account

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 impact your credit rating, accrue fees, and leave you open to undetected fraud. 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.

cutting-up-a-creditcard

How 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. If you attempt to cancel a credit card with an outstanding balance, the bank could reserve the right to increase the interest rate or demand that you immediately pay the debt in full. If you're struggling to repay the debt because of high interest, consider transferring your balance to a card with a promotional 0% offer on balance transfers.
    • Call your bank first. Every bank will have a different system for closing an account, so it won’t hurt to call ahead first to find out what yours is. 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.
    • Stand firm. You have made a sound financial decision, so stick with it. Not all credit card providers will be willing to let you go without a fight, especially if you are a frequent credit user. Keeping you is costing them less than trying to find customers to take your place. Don’t be surprised if your phone call is forwarded to a retention specialist whose sole job is to persuade to stay with your current card. They may offer you lower interest rates or other perks, but if you really don't want to use the card, 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.
    • 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.

 How to contact your bank to close your credit card account

The phone number on the back of your credit card is usually a good bet, but here are some ways of contacting the major card companies to cancel your card:

ProviderContact information
ANZ13 22 73 | 24 hours. 7 days a week.
American ExpressPlease call the number on the back of your card.
Bank of Melbourne13 22 66 | 24 hours. 7 days a week.
Citi13 24 84 | 24 hours. 7 days a week.
Coles Mastercard1300 306 397 | Mon - Fri: 8am - 9pm, Sat: 8am - 8pm, Sun: 8.30am - 8pm
Commonwealth Bank13 22 21 | 24 hours. 7 days a week.
GE-MoneyPlease call the number on the back of your card.
HSBC1300 308 008 | Mon - Fri: 8am - 8pm
IMB133 462 | Mon - Fri: 8am - 8pm, Sat: 9am - 4pm
Jetstar1300 150 100 | 24 hours. 7 days a week.
NAB1300 361 138 | Mon - Fri: 8am - 8pm
People’s Choice13 11 82 | Mon - Fri: 8am - 8pm, Sat: 8.30am - 4.30pm
St.George13 33 30 | 24 hours. 7 days a week.
Virgin Money13 37 39 | 24 hours. 7 days a week.
Westpac132 032 | Mon-Sun: 8am-8pm
Woolworths1300 10 1234 | Mon - Fri: 8am - 8pm, Sat: 9am - 5pm

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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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 reestablish 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 the right financial product 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.

Want to find a better credit card? Compare credit cards here

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Frequently asked questions

You should receive a notification of closure from the bank when you close a credit card account. Save this paper in case there is ever any question in the future about the account.

To avoid this, you should make sure that there is no balance on the card and advise the bank in writing using registered mail of your intent to close. If you have confirmation that the request was received prior to the annual fee anniversary date, you should be able to dispute that charge if the bank were to add it to your statement.

The credit card will still accumulate debt from the annual fee. You also put yourself at risk for fraudulent spending, especially if you are not regularly checking the status of that account.

One of the items that lenders look into is the amount of credit available to you. Too much is considered a risk as the bank feels that once your loan is approved you will than rack up a large credit card debt using those available balances.

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10 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    KylieAugust 2, 2016

    Can you take your partner off the credit card if you both agree and leave it in one name only

    • Staff
      MayAugust 2, 2016Staff

      Hi Kylie,

      Thanks for your inquiry. Please note that you’ve come through to finder.com.au we are an Australian financial comparison website and general information service and we are not affiliated with any credit card company that we feature on our site.

      It may not be that simple that you just remove your partner’s name from a ‘joint credit card account.’ If you applied for the card together, so long that the account is open, both of you will remain liable for the account and the balance. The possible option is to close the account.

      Now, if your partner is just an ‘authorised user’ (a person who has permission to use a credit card account, but is not responsible for paying the bill), it’s possible to remove his name. You just write the bank/credit card company and then they’ll be able to remove his name immediately.

      Cheers,
      May

  2. Default Gravatar
    GayathriDecember 11, 2014

    I closed my credit card 2 years back. I want a Closure letter urgently due to loan reasons. Where I need to apply to get closure letter.

    • Staff
      ElizabethDecember 11, 2014Staff

      Hi Gayathri,

      Thanks for your question.

      You’ll need to get in contact with your card issuer directly in order to request this letter confirming your account closure.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

  3. Default Gravatar
    BrentSeptember 24, 2013

    Hi

    I am in the process of cancelling a GE credit card and would like to know are banks or credit agencies required to provide you with a written statement saying the account has been closed? They keep telling me that I will receive a letter stating that I have a zero balance on my account which sounds like they are skirting the issue and trying to keep my account open. Any advice?

    • Staff
      JacobSeptember 24, 2013Staff

      Hi Brent.

      After you close the account, you will be notified that the account has been closed. Last time I cancelled a credit card, I did it over the phone. I did it when I had no money owing on the card. I didn’t have to wait for any notification in the mail.

      Thanks for your question.

  4. Default Gravatar
    DavidJuly 7, 2013

    Hi. I cancelled a card in may 2013 due to a gambling addiction with the aid of my partner. By July it still had not been cancelled and I subsequently gambled. Can I put a complaint in.

    • Staff
      JacobJuly 8, 2013Staff

      Hi David. Thanks for your question. If you’re looking to make a complaint, please contact the lender directly. If you requested that the bank close the credit card, they should have closed it if the account was paid in full. Sometimes outstanding charges can lead to the account staying open. Cheers. Jacob.

  5. Default Gravatar
    AmyMay 16, 2012

    Hi,
    Can you please advise on Australian customer rights in relation to cancelling credit cards?
    I emailed Citibank Australia to immediately cancel my Citibank Platinum Visa on the 7 May. I did not want to pay the annual fee due on the 11th May. They did not cancel the card and instead asked for confirmation of my phone number which they already had and on which they had made no attempt to contact me. Citibank Australia then proceed to charge the annual fee on the 11th.

    I owed no money on the card prior to Citibank charging the annual fee to it. Would my written request have been sufficient notice to Citibank Australia to oblige my request?
    Thanks

    • Staff
      JacobApril 8, 2013Staff

      Hi Amy. Thanks for your question. In my experience I was able to cancel my credit card with St.George over the phone in minutes with no written confirmation needed. It may be that the it was prior to the annual fee being charged; however, any requirements will be set out in your credit contract. This sounds like a request to direct towards the Financial Services Ombudsman. They handle issues like this. Not sure if this issue has been resolved in the time it’s taken for us to get to this question; however, I’m extremely interested in the outcome (if there has been one) and I think our users would benefit from hearing your story – please post. Jacob.

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