Closing Amex Account
February 23, 2007 7:29 PM   Subscribe

How do I go about closing my American Express credit card account?

I've read about the pros and cons of canceling a credit account, and I've decided that my American Express account is no longer necessary. What's the best way for me to go about canceling it? I've heard from others that Amex gives you absolutely no hassle cancelling, which is encouraging, but considering I've never cancelled a credit account, I'm not sure how to go about it.
posted by Aanidaani to Work & Money (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Just call the 1-800 number on the back of the card and say you want to cancel. Some companies read a script to try to get you to stay. Just be firm but polite.
posted by sharkfu at 7:35 PM on February 23, 2007

Best answer: The 800 number for customer service will be on the back of the card, and is all you need. They may offer you some sort of deal to entice you to stay, but they will certainly cancel your account if you wish (provided you have no balance, of course).
posted by Ynoxas at 7:37 PM on February 23, 2007

I've always just called and done it over the phone. They'll probably offer you all kinds of reasons to stay, and maybe try to give you some incentives (low rate balance transfers or something). Just hang tough for a few minutes and they'll give up. When they ask why you're closing your account, I always say I hate credit cards and have stopped using them entirely. In my case, that has the virtue of being true, and it seems to shut them up.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:39 PM on February 23, 2007

Yup, call the number. You really, really have to be firm. Don't get upset with the person you're speaking with -- they're working off a script. If anything, tell them you understand that they're doing what they have to do but that you simply want to cancel. It's nice that AmEx says it has no hassle cancellation, but be prepared to say "no, please just cancel my card" two or three times.
posted by cog_nate at 7:41 PM on February 23, 2007

I always ask them to put "Card cancelled at customer's request." in the note field so that it doesn't have a generic 'Account closed" which, I've been told, can look bad.

Also, the responses above make me very curious... why wouldn't a company let you cancel a card? I've done it many times without hassle. AmEx will tell you that at any pt in the next 6 mos, you can call and have the card turned back on again but after that you'd have to reapply for a new card, should you change your mind.
posted by dobbs at 7:46 PM on February 23, 2007

Interesting. I've had to cxl several AMEX cards recently (not mine), and had absolutely no problem. The conversation went like this:

"Thank you for calling AMEX blah blah"
"Hi, I'd like to cxl account number 3*********"
"Sure, no problem. You'll get one more statement on your normal billing date, and the amount on that will be $xxxxx"

AMEX customer service is, I think, some of the absolute best in the world.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:02 PM on February 23, 2007

Amex, technically, isn't a credit card anyway, so I wonder if that has a different impact on your credit rating than canceling and actual credit card?
posted by smallerdemon at 9:28 PM on February 23, 2007

Amex will close it with no problem. it's the credit card compaines that rip you off that hassle you about closing a card.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 9:55 PM on February 23, 2007

so what, technically, is Amex, anyway?
posted by librarycat at 8:15 AM on February 24, 2007

American Express IS a credit card indeed. They offer cards that do have credit limits at this point (Amex Blue), so those cards work just like Visa/MC/Discover as you can go over your limit, make late payments and such.
posted by Asherah at 8:27 AM on February 24, 2007

American Express has charge cards, which must be paid off monthly, as well as credit cards, on which one may revolve a balance from month to month. It most certainly counts as a credit card company.

The Green, Gold and Platinum Amex cards are ones that have to be paid in full each month, but they have a whole bunch of 'regular' credit cards, like the Blue from American Express.

Just call and ask to cancel it. There won't be a problem. They might try to give you things to get you to stay, but you most certainly can cancel it if you want to.
posted by winna at 8:31 AM on February 24, 2007

Technically I think it's a "charge" card. I suppose that it's also a credit card, but the amount of credit you have changes from month to month depending on your spending habits and history of timely payments. Over time, of course, the green, gold and platinum amex cards can have very high amounts, quite possibly well beyond what a lot of the limits of a regular "credit" cards.

But as pointed out, you gotta pay it off at the end of the month unless you're interested in incurring some hellishly painful fees.
posted by smallerdemon at 11:20 AM on February 25, 2007

A couple of years ago I got cranky at the annual fee rise for an Amex charge card. I called intending to cancel, but was talked into keeping the card because they refunded the annual fee.
The next year I called again. That year they wouldn't waive the fee, but they gave me a voucher for a night in a nice hotel.
I forgot to call last year.
Might be worth bearing in mind.
posted by bystander at 6:00 PM on February 25, 2007

nth that calling them should be enough.

I like to follow up with a quick letter - just something along the lines of "As discussed with CSR Joe on [date], please close my account [acct #], effective immediately. Please note that the account was closed in good standing at customer request." Boilerplate letter content before and after.

I just send it to Customer Service (either the address on the back of the card or listed on the web site).
That way, you have a paper trail in case anything strange happens (like a company not cancelling a card but instead charging you for a yearly fee or when they mysteriously can find no record of your call or whatever.) Not that I've had problems with Amex, ever. Just my procedure in general.
posted by yggdrasil at 7:53 AM on February 26, 2007

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