Whether you've just taken out a credit card or have decided to part ways with a long-standing flexible friend, you may not know exactly what your rights are and what you can expect. Well, fear not, the moneyfacts.co.uk guide to cancelling your credit card will tell you everything you need to know.
The first thing to do is to be sure about the product before you take it out. Make sure that you fully understand what you are applying for – that means reading the small print thoroughly, and not being afraid to ask your prospective credit card provider questions, either.
It's also important to satisfy yourself that you're getting a good deal prior to application; this involves undertaking a credit card search to compare what's out there. This doesn't need to take a massive amount of time, but it can pay dividends later on.
Whenever you take out a new credit card, you have a legal right to cancel the agreement within 14 days without facing financial penalty and without needing to give a reason.
If you receive your credit card agreement or credit limit notification after this 14-day period, you have the right to cancel within a day of receiving either of these documents.
However, you shouldn't assume that you can cancel your credit card agreement without paying anything. While you wouldn't face a 'financial penalty' in the form of a cancellation fee, for instance, you will have to pay back any balance you have accrued on the card (and any interest you have accrued in the days you have had this debt). If the card you have taken out charges an annual management fee, you may have to pay some of this proportionally to the length of time you have held the card, or the full annual fee if this is payable at the outset.
You will normally have to inform the credit card provider in writing, although you may also want to call them to inform them of your intentions.
After the cooling off period, you can still cancel your credit card agreement. However, it's more likely that you will have a balance on your credit card when you come to cancel – this balance, any interest and any annual fees will need to be paid off (or transferred to another credit card) before you can cancel your agreement.
Remember! When you transfer credit card balances to a new credit card, cancel any older, unused cards. This is important because these card limits still remain available to you and may therefore be considered by lenders when they are deciding whether to lend to you.
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Although you can cancel the credit card agreement, you can't cancel any credit searches that have been undertaken when applying for a card. If you're cancelling because you've seen a better card elsewhere, bear in mind that several credit searches in a short period of time will lower your credit score.
Disclaimer: This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.