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With the help of their credit cards, Canadians can shop online and book hotel or airline reservations with ease. Scotiabank offers a number of credit card options, many of which offer rewards that you can redeem for free groceries, gas or discounts for travel. But, there may come a time when you no longer wish to keep your Scotiabank card, for any number of reasons.

The question is, can you cancel your credit card online? In this article, we’ll offer our suggestions on what you should do before and after you close your account.

Why Cancel Your Credit Card?

Despite the perks that come with a Scotiabank credit card, you might have a variety of reasons for wanting to cancel it:

  • Your card was lost or stolen.
  • There have been unauthorized transactions made using your card.
  • You don’t use the card anymore.
  • You’re looking for a credit card that comes with a lower interest rate and annual fee.
  • You’re looking for a credit card that offers the opportunity to earn rewards with every purchase made.
  • You want to cut back on spending.
  • You are susceptible to racking up too much credit card debt.

What You Should Know Before You Cancel Your Credit Card

Prior to cancelling your credit card account, there are a few things you should be aware of:

Any Outstanding Balance Will Need To Be Paid Off 

Before you can cancel your credit card, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve paid off the entire balance. Your account won’t be entirely closed until everything you owe has been paid back.

Any Points You’ve Accumulated Will Be Lost If Not Used

If the card you are cancelling is one of Scotiabank’s rewards cards, make sure you redeem all the points you’ve earned first before closing your account. Otherwise, consider transferring them to another credit card if you’re planning to make a switch. If you close your account before using your points, you’ll lose them. 

Other Cardholders On The Account Should Be Notified

If there are other authorized users, it’s your responsibility to let them know that you’ll be closing the account, then ask them to discard their cards accordingly after the account has been officially cancelled. Better yet, collect all other credit cards and securely dispose of them yourself. 

Recurring Bill Payments Using That Card Must Be Updated

If your card is on file with various services for automatic payment, you’ll need to update your credit card information to avoid any interruptions in service.

Any Linked Debit Cards Must Be Cancelled

If there are any debit cards linked to your credit card account, those will also need to be cancelled to avoid the risk of having the credit account reactivated. 

Can You Close Your Credit Card Online?

Scotiabank doesn’t allow cardholders to cancel their credit cards online. You’ll have to call Scotiabank to request card cancellation at 1-866-267-4935.

There are a couple of reasons for this. For starters, cancelling over the phone may be a more secure way to ensure that the registered cardholder is cancelling the account. 

There’s always the chance that an authorized user on the card could call and cancel without your permission, or your account could be hacked. By phoning in your cancellation request, the customer representative from Scotiabank can verify your identity before proceeding.

Secondly, Scotiabank will want to have the chance to convince you to stick around as a credit card client. They will probably take the opportunity to explain other attractive offers to retain your business, in case you intend to go somewhere else. They can easily do this via a telephone conversation, but would miss that chance if you cancel online. 

Keep in mind that just leaving the card alone and not using it will not make the card “expire.” Cutting it up won’t cancel it either. Instead, you’ll have to go through the cancellation process to officially close your credit card account.

What To Do After Cancelling Your Credit Card

After you cancel your credit card, there are few extra steps you should take to make sure the account is officially closed and there’s no chance of anyone using your card or account to make fraudulent purchases:

  • Make a note of who you spoke with at Scotiabank, along with the date and time.
  • Get written confirmation of your account cancellation.
  • Cut your credit card up in several pieces, and consider throwing each piece out in different trash bins to avoid the risk of anyone piecing the card back together and using it without your consent.

Can Cancelling Your Credit Card Negatively Affect Your Credit Score?

Yes, your credit score may suffer slightly as a result of closing a credit card account. There are several important factors that go into the calculation of your credit score, which can be impacted when you cancel your card:

Payment History

Your track record of bill payments has the biggest influence on your credit score. When you make timely payments, your credit score can increase. But when you miss payments regularly, your credit score will drop. When you cancel a credit card, you miss out on the opportunity to practice making payments on time, which could negatively impact your credit score.

Age Of Credit 

Another factor that goes into your credit score calculation is your credit history length. Carrying credit accounts for a long period of time can be good for your credit score, as long as the accounts are in good standing. But if you cancel an old credit card account, you’ll be effectively reducing your average credit account age, which could cause your score to dip.

Credit Utilization 

Your credit utilization is a measure of how much you spend relative to your available credit. Ideally, you should use no more than 30% of your available credit to keep your credit score up. When you try to cancel a credit card that still has an outstanding balance left to pay, your credit score can take a hit. 

Credit Mix

Your ability to handle a variety of debt types plays a role in your credit score’s health. For instance, making timely payments on your mortgage, credit cards, personal loans, car loans, and any other type of debt can go a long way in keeping your credit score high. Taking away a credit card from the mix will result in a less diverse range of accounts. This could cause a bit of a dip in your score.

New Credit 

If you intend to replace your credit card with another credit card, your credit score can temporarily dip. When you apply for new credit, the creditor will pull your credit report, which is referred to as a “hard inquiry” and can cause your credit score to decrease. 

Keep in mind that while cancelling your credit card could have a negative effect on your credit score, an inability to pay down your balance has a more detrimental impact. If you’re having trouble keeping up with your credit card payments, then you may be better off cancelling your card, despite any potential hits your credit score could take by closing your account.

Final Thoughts

No matter why you want to cancel your Scotiabank credit card, it can’t be done online. You’ll have to get on the phone with a customer representative to close your account. Just make sure that you request confirmation of cancellation in writing and dispose of the old card safely. If you’re considering applying for another credit card in its place, be sure to assess the card’s perks, interest rate, and annual fee before signing up.

Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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