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American Express boasts some of the best rewards credit cards on the market today, ranging from cash back credit cards to luxury travel rewards credit cards and everything in between. However, there may be situations where you don’t want to keep your Amex card for the long haul. Maybe you’re scaling down the number of rewards credit cards you have or are tired of the temptation credit cards bring to your life. Or, perhaps you’re getting divorced, so you plan to sign up for a new credit card you can manage on your own.
Whatever the reason, there are some steps you need to take to close a credit card account. Keep reading to find out what it takes to close out an American Express credit card, as well as some alternatives to consider.
How to close an American Express credit card
The good news about closing a credit card account with American Express is the fact that there are multiple ways to get the job done. If you’re ready to close your Amex card account, you have three options to consider:
Call American Express
If you prefer to handle your credit card business over the phone, you can call American Express to cancel your account with a live customer service representative. American Express says that you can reach a live representative by calling the number on the back of your card, but you can also call collect at 1-336-393-1111 if you’re outside of the United States.
When you are connected with customer service, all you need to do is explain that you want to cancel your account. Also, be prepared to share your account information, such as your credit card account number and your address with ZIP code.
Chat with Amex
You can also reach out to American Express via their online chat function, which is easily accessible once you log into your American Express credit card account. Steps you can take to cancel your credit card account this way include:
- Log into your account at AmericanExpress.com
- Find the “chat” button on the bottom right-hand corner of your screen
- Click “chat” and tell the representative you want to close your account
Once again, you should be prepared to offer information that can help verify your identity, like your mailing address and zip code.
Send a letter in the mail
You can also send a request to cancel your account via the mail if you prefer. Make sure to include applicable information in your letter, including your account number, name and address. You can mail your letter to American Express using the following address:
PO Box 981535
El Paso, TX 79998
Does closing an Amex credit card affect your credit score?
You may be wondering this: Is it bad to close a credit card? While closing a credit card account may not have a significant impact on your credit score, it could cause your score to drop temporarily—even if your account is in excellent standing.
Closing a credit card can reduce your overall available credit, which could cause your credit utilization ratio—which counts for 30 percent of your FICO score—to increase.
Additionally, the length of your credit history makes up 15 percent of your FICO score, and closing an account can eventually shorten that history. But credit card accounts in good standing remain on your credit report for 10 years.
For these reasons, many experts suggest keeping old credit card accounts open, even if you’re not using them.
Options to consider before canceling your Amex credit card
If you were initially wondering how to close your American Express credit card account but you’re considering the alternatives, here are a few moves you could make instead.
Put your card away for safekeeping
If you have an Amex credit card that doesn’t charge an annual fee, then you can always stash it away in a safe or a sock drawer. Your account can keep adding depth and history to your credit report that way, and it won’t hurt your credit if you don’t use the card.
If you do decide to stash your card away and don’t log into your account page frequently, you should take the time to set up account alerts. That way, you’ll know right away if someone tries to use your card number for a fraudulent purchase, and you can call in to report it.
Request a product change
Also, know that American Express may let you switch to a different credit card without closing your account. This is called a product change, and it’s a common move for consumers who want to get away from credit cards that charge an annual fee.
Just know that you can only upgrade or downgrade your Amex card to another option that earns the same type of rewards. If you have a card that earns American Express Membership Rewards points but charges an annual fee, for example, you can switch to a card that earns the same type of points (instead of cash back) without an annual fee.
Closing an Amex credit card: FAQ
If you’re still thinking of closing your account, these frequently asked questions and answers can aid in the process.
Can I close an Amex credit card with an outstanding balance?
You can close an American Express credit card with an outstanding balance. Just remember that you’ll need to continue making payments until your account is paid in full.
Can American Express still charge me interest on a closed account?
American Express will continue charging interest on your closed credit card account until your balance is paid in full. If you want to pay down your debt without any interest charges, you may want to look into a balance transfer credit card that offers an introductory 0 percent APR for a limited time.
What will happen to my Membership Rewards points?
If you close your American Express credit card account and you have rewards in your account, you will forfeit your points balance. However, you can get around this if you have another American Express credit card that offers the same type of rewards. For example, you could cancel your American Express® Gold Card without losing your American Express Membership Rewards points, so long as you also have an open Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express account.
The bottom line
You can close a credit card account any time you want, but you should think over the advantages and disadvantages before you do. It’s possible keeping your old account open could be a boon for your credit, and you could always consider a product change instead of account closure.
Whatever you do, make sure your decision to keep or close your credit card account is an informed one.