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Although American Express (Amex) credit cards come with a lot of value, it’s not at all uncommon for cardholders to decide they don’t want to carry the card anymore. American Express credit card fees are higher than many cards and no doubt cardholders do some sort of assessment each year to determine if they are getting value from their card.
This is particularly true if you carry multiple annual fee credit cards. If your American Express card doesn’t make the cut and you want to cancel it, then you shouldn’t have any problem in doing so. Following these steps on how to cancel an American Express can ensure it doesn’t backfire on you:
Call the 800 Number on the Back of Your Card
Cancelling your Amex card can be just as easy as calling the 800 number on the back of your credit card. If you are expecting to speak with a live person, perhaps in the hope they might offer you a retention offer to stay on, don’t count on it unless you are a major user of the card. You can expect to be connected with an automated system that will guide you through the prompts to cancel your card.
After selecting the proper prompts, the robo-customer service rep will give you the option of cancelling your card by saying “yes” or cancelling the move by saying “no.” If you say “yes,” you will be read a disclosure statement and your account will be closed. You should receive an email confirmation of the cancellation within an hour.
Alternatively, you could send in a written request to the customer service address listed on your statement or on the website. It will take longer, but you will have a formal paper trail.
Request a Free Credit Report to Check Your Account
You are allowed three free credit reports each year from the three credit bureaus. This would be a good time to order one so you can verify the account closure was reported correctly. Use the opportunity to review the information on all your accounts to see that it is current and correct. It could take more than a month for the closure to show up on your credit report. You can also check your credit report for changes using one of the many free monitoring services.
What About Rewards Points?
When you cancel your American Express card, you will lose any points that have been accrued. The exception is if you have another Amex card. American Express will allow you 30 days to use your points as long as one of your Amex card accounts remains active.
What About the Annual Fee?
If you are hoping to get a refund of all or a portion of your annual fee, it’s not going to happen. Once you pay your annual fee, it is nonrefundable, even if you cancel a month later. So, if you’re definitely going to cancel your card, try to do so before the annual fee is charged.
What About My Credit Score?
It’s always a good idea to consider how closing any credit card can affect your credit. There are two factors that are impacted by an account closure. The first one is your credit history, which accounts for 15 percent of your credit score. If you have had the card for a while, you could hurt your score by shortening your credit history. The reporting agencies look back 10 years for your credit history. However, if you have only had the card for a short period of time – less than a couple of years – it may not have as big an effect on your score.
Second is your credit utilization, which accounts for 30 percent of your score. Generally, you want to keep your credit utilization under 30 percent of your available credit. However, because your Amex card is a charge card and not a revolving credit card like a Visa or MasterCard, you pay the balance in full each month, so it shouldn’t really impact your credit utilization. Just in case, you should still check your credit report.
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Author: Jeff Gitlen
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