How to cancel a credit card?

Information verified correct on October 1st, 2016
destroy-card

What you need to know about cancelling your credit card

Credit cards can be a good way to manage your finances, but there might come a time (for whatever reason) that you’ll need to cancel yours. It’s not as simple as cutting your card in half, though. Read through this guide and follow our easy steps to becoming credit card free.

If you’re in the market for a new credit card, you can start comparing cards and find a better option for you today.

How to properly cancel your credit card

Follow these steps to cancel your credit card successfully:

  1. Pay the outstanding balance. If you try to close your account with an outstanding balance, the bank could reserve its right to increase the 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 once the transfer is complete.
  2. Transfer any existing 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.
  3. 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, but some others might require that you send a written request. If you have to send a letter, get the address over the phone. If you manage to cancel the card over the phone, make a record of the date, time, and name of the representative you speak with.
  4. Cancel your card in writing. Your card provider might require that you send a cancellation request in writing. If this is the case, include your credit card number and account number in the letter, and request that your card provider closes the account. You should receive a letter confirming the closure of the account, so make sure to keep this information safe in case you need to make a future dispute.
  5. Check future statements. Go through your credit card statements following your request to make sure that your account is well and truly closed.
  6. 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.
  7. Destroy your credit card. It is advised that you cut it into tiny pieces to make it impossible to piece back together. If you’re feeling extra cautious, discard the pieces at different times or places.
  8. 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. You can see an example of a cancellation confirmation below:

closed-account-confirmation

What’s the number to call?

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.
Citibank13 24 84
24 hours. 7 days a week.
Coles MasterCard1300 306 397
Mon-Fri: 8am-9pm
Sat: 8am-8pm
Sun: 830am-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: 830am-430pm
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 should I consider before cancelling?

Closing your credit card account might seem like the sensible thing at the moment, but there are a few factors that you should consider before calling your bank:

  • Is there a more suitable credit card for your needs? If you’re not happy with your current credit card, you may like to consider comparing the latest credit card offers. Banks provide new customers with more attractive offers in order to lure them in, so comparing your options may provide you with a better deal.
  • Applying too many times. 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. Katherine Craig, Veda’s Public Relations Manager, explains that while banks can’t see if previous applications have been accepted rejected, they don’t take a very favourable view of individuals who apply too many times.
    Katherine says, “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.” In case 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.
  • Bad credit. Poor creditworthiness is bound to affect your ability to get a credit card in the future, so it’s important that you pay your outstanding dues before cancelling a card. Not doing so will negatively affect your credit rating.
    Katherine strongly advises that you clear any dues before closing your account, “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.”

Commonly asked questions about cancelling a credit card

Why would I cancel my credit card?

Some commonly reported reasons:

  • You were sold one for its initial annual fee waiver or introductory interest rate offer, and the offer period is ending.
  • You don’t want to use the card anymore, whether it’s because of high interest rates or temptation to spend.
  • You lost your card or suspect it’s been stolen.

In any case, it is important that you cancel your card in the proper manner. If your current credit card hasn’t met your expectations, compare and find a card for your needs.

I have a credit card that I keep repaying and using regularly. Can I request for a freeze on spending because I just want to pay it off?

This is possible, and you’ll have to get in touch with your card provider to arrange it.

I can no longer use my card because my bank blocked it for non-payments. Do I still have to pay the annual fee?

If your credit card attracts an annual fee, you have to pay it as long as the account remains active. In this case, the answer is yes.

I wish to cancel two credit cards I currently use. Will this have an adverse effect on my creditworthiness?

Each time you apply for credit or close a credit account, it shows on your credit file. While lenders might view too many such instances as irresponsible behaviour, closing two accounts to minimise available credit should not affect your credit score negatively.

I cut my credit card recently but did not cancel it. Can I get a replacement card?

If you haven’t initiated the process to formally cancel your card, you can simply call your credit card provider to ask for a replacement card.
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14 Responses to How to cancel a credit card?

  1. Default Gravatar
    john | March 1, 2016

    I have 2 cards which I wish to cancel Platinum X and anz Y What do I do ?

    • Staff
      Jonathan | March 1, 2016

      Hi John, thanks for your inquiry!

      To cancel your respective credit cards please contact ANZ directly on 13 13 14.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  2. Default Gravatar
    Anthony | February 10, 2016

    Hi, I’ve had my ANZ rewards card for about 6 months now. I normally transfer my ANZ rewards points into my Virgin Velocity Account. If I chose to cancel my card am I still at risk of losing points as they have already been transferred out of the ANZ rewards account?

    • Staff
      Sally | February 11, 2016

      Hi Anthony,

      Thanks for your question.

      So long as you’ve transferred the ANZ points to your Velocity account, you shouldn’t lose them.

      However, if you have points remaining in your ANZ account when you close the card, you won’t be able to access those points.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  3. Default Gravatar
    El | November 24, 2014

    Hi,

    Last year I applied for 2 credit cards for an overseas trip which have no been paid in full. Last week my wife signed up for a new credit card via work. My question is if we cancel the 2 cards that have been paid does this negatively reflect our credit score? Are there any other implications I should know about?

    Thanks

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | November 24, 2014

      Hi El,

      Thanks for your question.

      Each time you open and close a credit account this information will appear on your credit file. Opening and closing card accounts too often may look irresponsible to card issuers and other lenders, but closing two card accounts is unlikely to have a negative impact on your score. While the actual effect on your credit score is difficult to determine, having less available credit may appear as responsible borrowing behaviour to lenders.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

  4. Default Gravatar
    John | July 1, 2014

    Supposed i have 2 credit cards.
    1st one credit limit of $1500 – $1000 owing
    2nd one credit limit of $5000 – $4500 owning

    Utilisation = $5500/$6500 = 84%

    Now i’m trying to reduce my utilisation to around 20%.

    I want to pay off my 1st credit card to reduce the balance to $0 which previously it was $1000 and cancel the card once i have paid it off.

    If i cancel this credit card, will it bite me in the back in the future as my utilisation ratio is different. Even though i have the same amount of debt, it now comprises a larger percentage of my available credit limit.

    Revised math after cancel credit card no.1 is:

    $4500/$5000 = 90%

    So, will canceling my credit card hurt my credit because it lowers my total credit limit and raise your utilization ratio.

    Does this affect my credit score?

    I was reading this online so wondered if this applied to Australian credit ratings.

    • Staff
      Shirley | July 2, 2014

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately we’re not in a position to explain how your credit limit or leverage is calculated. Each credit card issuer has their own lending criteria, which they will assess you against.

      Generally your credit limit will stay the same, as long as you maintain a good credit history. Paying back your debt on time shouldn’t harm your credit score.

      Our page on credit limits may be able to provide you with more information.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  5. Default Gravatar
    Mandy | April 12, 2014

    I have a credit card that is almost at its limit. I pay it regularly but keep spending on it so I’m getting nowhere. Can I put a freeze on purchases/cash advances and just pay it off?

    • Staff
      Jacob | April 14, 2014

      Hi, Mandy.

      You should be able to arrange this by contacting the credit issuer directly.

      Thanks for your question.

  6. Default Gravatar
    SUZANNE | September 26, 2013

    My friend’s credit card was cancelled four years ago due to non-payment. The balance was approx. $10,000. Now due to accrued interest it is about $25,000. Can they do this to a cancelled credit card and has she any legal way to get interest taken off?

    • Staff
      Jacob | September 26, 2013

      Hi Suzanne.

      You can only cancel the card once the account has been paid in full. If the account was cancelled, your friend would have received a letter in the mail saying the account has been closed. If she didn’t get this letter, it’s best to assume that the account is still open and accruing interest.

      If your friend has records of the conversation with the lender saying that the account has been cancelled, then he / she may be able to provide a case against the lender.

      Thanks for your question.

  7. Default Gravatar
    ana | August 9, 2013

    Hi.

    My credit is not active due to default in payment. I am still paying my credit card off but am not able to use it. The bank has cut me off from using the card, should I be an charged annual fee? Help please.

    Thank you.

    • Staff
      Jacob | August 12, 2013

      Hi Ana.
      Thanks for your question.
      Your bank can take measures to restrict your card use if you have missed your repayments. You are likely to continue to get charged the card’s annual fee until the account is closed. Please try to keep the account out of arrears so you can continue to use the card up to your available credit limit.
      Jacob.

Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated October 1st, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
Enjoy a low and consistent interest rate on purchases and cash advances, combined with no annual fee.
11.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Visa
Introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases, plus a low annual fee.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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