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.

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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 vulnerable 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 the UK, but you could also just call the number on the back of your credit card.

If you have an American Express credit card, make sure you only contact American Express if they are your credit card provider. If you have a credit card from another provider (eg Lloyds or British Airways) on the American Express card network, you need to contact the provider directly.

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 0% introductory 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. Be prepared that any representative you speak to will likely try to convince you to stay and could even forward you to their customer retention division for more persuading.
  • 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 left over, 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 peace 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.

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 bank 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 re-establish a good credit history.
  • Emergency assistance. Credit cards are a convenient method of covering an expense in the event of an emergency, such as a broken boiler or an unexpected flight to visit a sick relative. 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 to a more competitive product, you can use our comparison tables and guides to compare your options.

Get a new card that you’ll love

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first

If you want to close your credit card because it doesn’t offer what you want, you may wish to find a new credit card that better suits you. The chart below allows you to compare cards and find one that has the features you want. Click the Compare buttons to get a side-by-side comparison of the cards you select.

Name Product Finder score Finder score Balance transfers Balance transfer fee Purchases Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Incentive Link
Santander Everyday Long Term Balance Transfer Credit Card
4.3
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 26 months reverting to 23.9%
3% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 23.9%
£0
23.9% APR (variable)
Sign up for Santander Boosts to receive cashback, vouchers, offers and prize draws from selected retailers.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 23.9% APR (variable).
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Royal Bank of Scotland Longer Balance Transfer Credit Card
3.7
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 23 months reverting to 24.9%
3.49%
0% for 3 months reverting to 24.9%
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
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Royal Bank of Scotland Purchase & Balance Transfer Credit Card
3.7
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 19 months reverting to 24.9%
2.99%
0% for 19 months reverting to 24.9%
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
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NatWest Longer Balance Transfer Credit Card
3.7
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 23 months reverting to 24.9%
3.49%
0% for 3 months reverting to 24.9%
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
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Name Product Finder score Purchases Balance transfers Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Incentive Link
M&S Bank Credit Card Purchase Plus Offer Mastercard
4.1
★★★★★
0% for 20 months reverting to 24.9%
0% for 12 months
(0% fee)
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
1 point per £1 spent with M&S and 1 point per £5 spent elsewhere. Enjoy 55 days interest free, preferential rates plus no cash advance fee when buying M&S travel money with the card.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Royal Bank of Scotland Purchase & Balance Transfer Credit Card
3.7
★★★★★
0% for 19 months reverting to 24.9%
0% for 19 months
(2.99% fee)
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
Go to site
NatWest Purchase & Balance Transfer Credit Card
3.7
★★★★★
0% for 19 months reverting to 24.9%
0% for 19 months
(2.99% fee)
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
Go to site
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card
3.8
★★★★★
0% for 18 months reverting to 24.9%
0% for 16 months
(3.49%, min £5 fee)
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable). You might get different interest rates and promotional periods to those shown here, because these depend on your circumstances.
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Name Product Finder score Finder score Purchases Annual/monthly fees Initial credit limits Representative APR Incentive Link
M&S Bank Credit Card Purchase Plus Offer Mastercard
4.1
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 20 months reverting to 24.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
24.9% APR (variable)
1 point per £1 spent with M&S and 1 point per £5 spent elsewhere. Enjoy 55 days interest free, preferential rates plus no cash advance fee when buying M&S travel money with the card.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Credit Card Transfer Plus Offer Mastercard
3.9
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 3 months reverting to 24.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
24.9% APR (variable)
1 point per £1 spent with M&S and 1 point per £5 spent elsewhere. Enjoy 55 days interest free, preferential rates plus no cash advance fee when buying M&S travel money with the card.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Santander All in One Credit Card
4.5
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 15 months reverting to 23.9%
£3 per month
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
29.8% APR (variable)
0.5% after £1 of monthly spend. Maximum of £10 cashback paid per month. Cashback paid Monthly into Card Account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
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American Express® Rewards Credit Card
3.9
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
31%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
31% APR (variable)
Earn 1 Membership Rewards® point for every £1 spent thereafter. Earn up to 90,000 bonus points per year through refer a friend, 4,000 points awarded for every friend approved. 1 point = 0.45p (min 1,000 points) to shop, other rewards have differing conversions.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 31% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 31% APR (variable).
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Name Product Finder score Annual/monthly fees Initial credit limits Minimum income Representative APR Incentive Link
Barclaycard Forward Credit Card
3.8
★★★★★
£0
Min. limit £50, max. limit £1,200.
£3000
33.9%
Rate discounts: 3% interest rate reduction if you make all your repayments on time for the first year, and a further drop of up to 2% more if you continue to do so in the second year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 33.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 33.9% APR (variable).
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118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card
3.6
★★★★★
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£8400
34%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Zable credit card
3.4
★★★★★
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit £1,500.
£9,600
48.9%
Representative example: Representative 48.9% APR (variable). Based on assumed borrowing of £1200. Rate of interest 48.9% (variable) annual.
Check eligibility
Additional account needed
AIB Student Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
£0
Min. limit £300, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
12.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 12.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 12.9% APR (variable).
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Name Product Finder score Finder score Purchases Annual/monthly fees Initial credit limits Representative APR Incentive Link
British Airways American Express® Premium Plus Card
4.0
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
31%
£300 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
139.9% APR (variable)
Welcome offer: Earn 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend £3,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership. Terms apply. 18+, subject to status. New Cardmembers only.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 31.0% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £300 per annum, your representative rate is 139.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
British Airways American Express® Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
31%
£0
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
31% APR (variable)
Earn 5,000 points when you spend £1,000 within 3 months of account opening. Terms apply. UK 18+, subject to status. Earn 1 Avios for virtually every £1 spent.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 31% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 31% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Virgin Money Virgin Atlantic Reward Plus Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
26.9%
£160 per annum
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
69.7% APR (variable)
Earn 18,000 bonus points with your first card purchase made within 90 days of account opening. Earn 1.5 Flying Club miles for every £1 spend and 3 miles for every £1 spend with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays. Spend £10K a year on your card and choose an extra benefit - an upgrade to Premium, or a Companion ticket. Points value varies dependent on reward (min 3000pts)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 26.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £160 per annum, your representative rate is 69.7% APR (variable).
Virgin Money Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card
3.9
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
26.9%
£0
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
26.9% APR (variable)
Earn 3,000 bonus points with your first card purchase made within 90 days of account opening. Earn 0.75 Flying Club miles for every £1 spend and 1.5.miles for every £1 spend with Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Holidays. Spend £20K a year on your card and choose an extra benefit - an upgrade to Premium, or a Companion ticket. Points value varies dependent on reward (min 3000pts)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 26.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 26.9% APR (variable).
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Frequently asked questions

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

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