How to Cancel Credit Card Accounts

By Kate Evelyn

  • Overview

    Got too many credit cards clogging your wallet or keeping you buried deep in debt? You are definitely not alone. In fact, having a total of 10 credit cards is the norm for the average American. If you haven't figured it out yet, there is no practical reason to have that many credit cards. It's time to start canceling those credit card accounts. Start with the one with the highest interest rate first. It's probably a department store card.
  • Instructions

    • Step 1

      Pay off the card. Canceling your credit line while you still have a balance will keep you from accruing more charges, but you can't completely close out your account until you have it down to zero. Call your credit card company and ask for your payoff amount. This may be different from the amount listed on your statement since it accounts for all interest to date. Then mail in a check immediately.

    • Step 2

      Start checking your account balance on a daily basis so you know exactly when the payoff goes through. Once your check is credited, call the credit card company again. Sometimes all you have to do is choose an option from an automated menu to cancel your credit card account, but you don't want to do this; you want to speak to a live person.
    • Step 3

      Tell this person that you'd like to close your account, effective immediately. Write down the name of the person you're speaking with, the date and the time, and ask him to send you written confirmation that the account has been closed. Also tell the person you'd like the credit bureaus to know that "the account was closed at owner's request." This will differentiate you from people who had their cards canceled due to delinquent payments.
    • Step 4

      Repeat steps one through three if you have more credit cards you'd like to cancel. Then wait about a month and request a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus to see that your instructions were followed properly.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Ingredients:
    • Telephone
    • Computer with Internet connection
    • Tip: You can pay off your account online instead of by check if you're set up for online bill pay. Just make sure to use the payoff amount and not the current balance. Some companies will also allow you to pay off your card over the phone.
    • Warning:
    • Cut up your card and throw it away once you're sure it's canceled. Don't discard it intact.

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