With tasty sign-up bonuses and the opportunity to earn Membership Rewards points or Avios on your spending, American Express is one of the biggest names in rewards credit cards. But the perks are sometimes offset by a high annual fee, and what might have seemed like a good deal at first may no longer be the right option for you.
If you’re determined to close your account, first make sure you clear any outstanding balance. Otherwise, this may get listed as a default and could hurt your credit score. If for some reason you can’t pay off your balance now, you could consider transferring it to another card to pay off later, at a lower rate of interest.
Also, make sure to use or transfer any rewards you’ve accrued or you’ll lose them once you cancel the card.
How to cancel your American Express credit card
Most banks prefer that you call to cancel your card so they have an opportunity to try and persuade you to remain their client. Sometimes this can be a good bargaining tactic for getting offers like a waived fee, a better APR or other perks and bonuses. If you do get an irresistible offer, you could consider closing a different card (if you have others).
Whether you’re closing your account online, by calling or even by mail, be sure to have your credit card and bill for account information. You’ll also need to provide a reason for cancelling. A simple “I don’t want the card anymore” works.
Call the number on the back of your card and ask to speak to a representative. If you don’t have your card on hand, call the free customer service line: 0800 032 7642 (if you have a British Airways American Express card, call 0800 917 8020). Make a note of the name and ID number of the representative you speak to in case you have to reference it later.
You can log in to your online banking and start a live chat – available 24/7. If you’re asked to phone in, you could simply say that you’d prefer not to.
Write to American Express, 1 John Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN88 1NH to request that the account is closed, and ask the company to send you a confirmation letter. It’s a smart idea to make a copy of the letter before you send it.
Will cancelling my American Express credit card affect my credit score?
Cancelling your Amex could affect your credit score, but if you generally have a good credit record and don’t have a large amount of card/loan debt, then closing the card will have a minimal impact.
The effect is due to your credit utilisation ratio, which is a measure of how much credit you’re currently using compared to how much credit is available to you.
After cancelling your American Express credit card
Sometimes an error may occur and you could be stuck with an open account, thinking it was closed. To avoid paying unnecessary fees and complicating things further, you may even opt to write a cancellation letter. If you do, the letter should include:
- Your name and address.
- Credit card number.
- Date of cancellation and the name and ID of the representative who assisted you.
- Request for an account closure confirmation letter.
You can make a copy of your letter and then send it to:
1 John Street
Recap: Cancel your Amex in 4 easy steps
- Clear your balance in full.
- Cash-in any rewards points you’ve accrued.
- Contact American Express through one of the channels listed above.
- Follow-up by writing or requesting a letter of confirmation. You may also wish to monitor your credit record.
Can I get my annual fee back?
If you’re paying an annual fee for your card, Amex will normally offer a pro-rata refund (in other words you’ll pay the fee for any months in which you’ve held the card).
My card has been lost/stolen
If you’ve lost your card or it’s been stolen, call Amex asap on 0800 917 8047, or if you’re out of the country, +44 (0)1273 696 933. Those are 24-hour lines. Alternatively you can go online, log in, go to Account Management and select “Order a replacement Card for damaged, lost, or stolen Cards”.
If you use Apple Pay, your card can be instantly updated in your wallet.
Looking for a fee-free alternative?
If it’s the annual fee that’s putting you off, you might be looking for a way to earn rewards without having to fork out for the privilege.
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
- 0% on balance transfers for 20 months
- 0% on purchases for 20 months
- No annual fee
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
. 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.