Thursday, August 6, 2009

Have You Ever Tried to Cancel a Credit Card?

Oy vey. I just got off the phone with my old credit card company. It took me 18 months to pay this bad boy off, which was done back in May. In May, I tried to cancel it, but they told me they had a 10 day waiting time on canceling accounts once they are paid off. So of course, I forgot about it...which I'm sure is what they're counting on.
I was going through some paperwork this afternoon after I clocked out (this is an excellent reason to keep up on your paperwork, peeps!) and found the paid off receipt. I suddenly realized that I had never canceled this card, so I grabbed my phone and went to work.
Peeps, I work in health insurance. You KNOW I am used to phone trees, operators who can't speak English, automated systems in Creole, and being disconnected when you hit "0" for the operator. It's hard to fool me and I know my way around these systems. It didn't take me long to get to an "Accounts Manager" who gracefully tried for fifteen minutes to talk me out of canceling my card. She had good points, of course. If I cancel the card, my credit score will go down. (I have a decent credit score. In the low 700s) Well, that's fine. I'm not planning on financing anything right now. They were willing to cut my annual fee in half, down to $40. $40 for what? Seriously, what in the world is the annual fee for? The card had 15% interest. They were already making money off of me. Then she mentioned the perks of the card. I said, "WHAT PERKS?" This card has no points, no free towing, no airline miles. This was a first basic card after college that I maxed out, paid off, maxed out, paid off, maxed out, paid off. Enough is ENOUGH.
Finally, after about fifteen minutes of this woman basically arguing with me over why I should keep the card, I said, quite firmly, "Ma'am, if you are unable to process my request, I will need to speak to your manager and tell him or her why you are wasting my time." Problem solved. Card canceled, documents mailed to me in ten business days, and have a nice day.

So, do you think I did a good thing? Should I have kept the card and paid the $40 to keep my credit score? Or is it smart to get rid of temptation? (I do love to shop.) How much debt are you in these days? Does it keep you up at night, or do you not care about your credit score?


Kara said...

SMART! You can always open another one later. Good for you.

I have tried to close them before and, man, do they try every trick in the book!

Miriam said...

hmm, apparently if you rack up enough debt, the government will bail you out, so maybe canceling it was not so great... Just make sure your credit limit is in the billions... *sigh*. I have one credit card with a medium size limit that we keep in case of emergency, there's no annual fee and high interest, but it's nice to have "just in case"

gail said...

just found your blog from "what i wore today" you left a great comment there.

anyway, i think you did the right thing. we are slowly paying off our cards and canceling them. it does take time, but its so worth it. we only keep one card that we actually use, and pay it off each month. it is soooooooooo easy to get into debt and sooooooooooooo hard to get out. we've been debt free 2x in the last 25 years and once we are debt free again i'm NEVER going in debt again!!!!

Sarah R said...

Good for you, Gail! And welcome to my blog. I'm not as fashion oriented as Kasmira but I admire her gumption.