Credit Cards

The Importance of Following Up After Canceling a Credit Card

When most of us cancel a credit card, it’s a simple process: We call (or send a secure message), the call center rep either tries to tempt us into keeping the card in exchange for extra miles or gladly fulfills our request (sometimes to our disappointment), and the credit card eventually disappears from our online profile. We may even get a letter in the mail, confirming that the account is closed. Sometimes, things don’t quite pan out that way.

Credit Card Wallet

For the past week, my dad has been receiving calls from Citi, asking him to call a certain number and provide a specific code in order to hear a message related to his Citi AAdvantage account. He assumed it was a fraud alert and since I’ve been using the card to meet the $3,000 spending requirement, he asked me to take care of it. After all, I would be much more familiar with the purchases made on the card than he would. Strangely, he had not received any texts or secure messages about his account so I called the number and was instructed to make a payment on his Citi AAdvantage Gold credit card, which was apparently $50 past due – only, he hasn’t had a Citi AAdvantage Gold card in over a year. 

I called the number on the back of the card and spoke to an agent who did some digging and found out that my dad did in fact have a Citi AAdvantage Gold credit card account open but, “it’s managed by a different department, so I’ll have to transfer you there.” The second agent informed me that the $50 charge was for the card’s annual fee and that the account had been open since 2011. I’m pretty sure it hasn’t, since I cancelled it last year when I couldn’t get them to waive the annual fee. Plus, I’m pretty sure before I unlinked the card from his online profile, it was labeled inactive. 

In addition to the fact that Citi failed to cancel the card when I asked them to, the $50 annual fee was charged back in January. So not only had this past due charge been reported to the credit bureaus, but Citi had made no attempts to contact him until two months later. The agent submitted a request to have the negative mark removed from his credit report and told me I still had to pay $41 of the $50 annal fee since I was canceling 30 days after the renewal date. I had to point out that the only reason I missed the cut-off date was because they didn’t cancel the account a year ago when I’d asked them to and that I didn’t receive sufficient notice about the annual fee being due. The agent was reasonable and submitted another request to have the entire $50 fee removed.

I will still have to follow up and make sure that my dad’s credit report is cleaned up, the credit card is in fact cancelled and the $50 annual fee completely refunded. I’m just baffled by how this happened and that we didn’t hear about it for so long. This just goes to show that you should always follow up and don’t assume a credit card is cancelled just because the agent on the phone says so. Make a follow-up call and when pulling your free annual credit report, check for any inaccuracies, delinquent accounts and if there are any, dispute them and follow up to make sure they’re corrected.

Have you ever run into a problem like this after canceling a credit card?

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  1. Your story did not leave me convinced at the end that Citi was in fact going to make you whole again (i.e. Remove charge, remove mark on credit report, & follow it all up with a letter at least appologizing and putting all of the above in writing).

    I think you should also file a complaint with the Consumer Finanancial Protection Bureau ( started by Elizabeth Warren).

    At least this way, you’ll show Citi that you’re serious and that they screwed up royally. Plus, I’d love to hear a follow up to what this new agency can do in protecting consumers.

  2. Distressing indeed — and good counsel to double-check to be sure a card has been closed properly. Perhaps this is one area where cancelling a card via secure message (which I just did with a City AAdvantage Exec card) could be proactive… I now have a paper trail, including their confirmation of the card closure.

    Another concern I have with Citi is their lack of easy access to on-line account records…. Never mind that they encourage us to “go green” and “paperless,” it’s a real pain with Citi to get account records older than six months. (oh, they assure us that we can get our past statements older than six months…. by request, if you wait) So very 19th century.

    • I was pretty frustrated by the lack of notice, which I’m sure would not have happened if I hadn’t gone paperless. I’ve had issues with Citi’s security (my card number was fraudulently obtained twice in one year) and now there’s another thing to add to the list of screw-ups.

  3. I had a similar experience with Barclay’s… when they took over the Hawaiian card from Bank of America, the card I had previously cancelled with BoA somehow got resurrected, charged a fee (which I didn’t pay), and then reported to the credit bureaus, which is when I found out. Fortunately, I was able to get the fee (and interest) reversed, and was able to get Barclay to clean up my credit report, but it took about two months (and this alone was worth almost 45 points on my score).

  4. Just last week I got a late notice on a new Citi AA card I opened in February. I had paid the amount in full, on time, so I called Citi and found that they had mis-applied my payment to an old card account that I closed two years ago. They insisted that my bank had made the error but transferred the funds to the correct card and wiped off the late fees and interest. Still scratching my head over this one.

    • It’s really strange that they have all these technical issues in regards to open and closed accounts. This is why I personally decided to pick the Barclay AA Red card over Citi AAdvantage.

  5. Wow. This is all very scary. I just applied for Citi’s AAdvantage card.
    I’ll make sure to double check any card cancellations.

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