There are plenty of reasons why you may want to have an American Express credit card in your wallet, including building credit and being able to shop online.
But there may also be some reasons why you may want to cancel a credit card – for example, when your card has been stolen or if you’re looking to replace it with a card that offers a rewards system or a lower annual fee.
Whatever your reason may be for wanting to close your American Express credit card, is it possible to close your account online? Or will you have to go the traditional route by calling a representative?
Why Cancel Your Credit Card?
American Express credit card holders may choose to cancel for any number of reasons. In your case, you may want to cancel your card for any one of the following reasons:
- Your credit card was lost or stolen
- Unauthorized spending activity was identified on the card
- The card is no longer being used
- You’re looking for a card with a lower annual fee or APR
- You’re looking for a card that offers a rewards system
- You want to cut back on credit card spending
- You want to pay down your overall debt
What You Should Do Before Cancelling Your Credit Card
Before you take the steps to cancel your credit card account, there are a few important things you should do first:
Pay Your Balance Off
You likely will not be able to close your American Express credit card account until you’ve first paid off what you owe. If you’ve got an outstanding balance, you should pay that down first until the balance is zero. Otherwise, the balance could be listed as defaulted and hurt your credit score.
Redeem Your Points
If you’ve got a credit card that comes with rewards points — such as the American Express Cobalt card, SimplyCash card, or American Express Gold Rewards card, for instance — you’ll want to verify whether or not you are still carrying points that have yet to be redeemed. If so, make sure you use them up first before closing your account. Otherwise, you could lose them.
Let Authorized Cardholders Know You’re Closing The Account
If you have family members who have their own American Express credit card associated with the account you intend to close, inform them of your intentions. Once the account is cancelled, ask the other authorized users to dispose of their cards securely; otherwise, collect them and toss them out yourself.
Cancel Any Recurring Payments Made With The Card You’re Cancelling
It’s common to have a credit card on file with certain entities that offer monthly services, such as cell phone services or even an Apple iTunes subscription. These accounts are billed every month using your credit card, but if you close the card account, you risk having your services interrupted. To avoid this, make sure to update your credit card information on file.
Cancel Debit Cards Linked To Your AmEx Credit Card Account
If you have any debit cards linked to your credit card account, be sure to cancel these as well so you don’t inadvertently reactivate the account.
Can You Close Your American Express Credit Card Account Online?
Credit card companies typically require a phone call with a live agent to initiate the cancellation of a credit card. Fortunately, American Express offers another way besides a live telephone conversation to cancel a credit account.
To cancel your credit card online, follow these steps:
- Log into your online American Express account.
- Click on the live chat icon.
- Click ‘Chat’ to start chatting with a customer support representative.
- Wait to be connected to an agent.
- Once connected, inform them that you want to cancel your credit card account.
- Provide them with the required information to verify your identity and the account you wish to cancel.
- Follow the steps provided to close your account, including paying down your outstanding balance in full and cancelling pre-authorized payments, if applicable.
You can also cancel your credit card by telephone or by mail if you wish.
What To Do After Closing Your American Express Credit Card Account
Once you’ve closed your American Express credit card account, take the following steps:
- Make a note of who you spoke with and the date and time of the conversation or live chat.
- Ask for written confirmation of the account cancellation in the form of an email or a mailed document.
- Cut up your credit card and throw it out in the trash.
Can Cancelling A Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?
Cancelling your American Express credit card could negatively impact your credit score. The credit bureaus that receive your payment information from your credit card issuer determine your creditworthiness by assessing multiple factors, such as the number of credit accounts you have and the average age of these accounts. They also look at your credit utilization ratio, which refers to the amount of credit that you have available to you relative to how much of that credit you use.
When you cancel a credit card account — especially one that has a high credit limit — your credit utilization ratio can increase, which isn’t good for your credit score. A credit utilization ratio of no more than 30% is recommended. Any higher than that can pull your credit score down.
Further, reducing the number of credit accounts you have open and decreasing the average age of your accounts can also be bad for your credit score. Creditors and lenders prefer to see borrowers who have a mix of old credit. The older the accounts, the better.
Taking a credit card account out of the mix can also reduce the average age of your accounts and result in one less account on your profile, both of which can hurt your credit score.
That said, closing your credit card can be a good thing for your credit score if you have a habit of overspending and carrying a high balance month after month. This type of financial behaviour can drag your credit score down. In this case, you may be better off cancelling the card to avoid any habits that can be detrimental to your credit score.
Should You Keep Your Credit Card?
You might have a valid reason for wanting to cancel your AmEx credit card. But certain reasons may not warrant closing the account just yet, including the following:
- Your AmEx credit card is very old and in good standing, which is helping to keep your credit score up.
- You just want to close the account because you’re not using your credit card.
- You don’t have many other credit accounts, in which case your credit mix will suffer if you cancel your credit card and your credit score could ultimately take a dip.
- Your credit score is already on the lower end of the spectrum.
Regardless of why you want to close your American Express credit card account, you may not necessarily have to pick up the phone to cancel. Instead, American Express offers a live chat feature that allows you to chat virtually with a customer service representative without having to engage in a traditional live conversation.
While you might not be able to cancel online without the intervention of a virtual agent, you can still close your account entirely online. Take the appropriate steps before cancelling your card to make sure your balance is paid off and your rewards points have been redeemed.