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Cancel those old credit cards!

So here is a good example of why you should cancel credit cards that you no longer use (or even those that you shouldn’t continue using).

About a month ago I got my monthly CIBC Visa statement. Now, I stopped using this card about a year ago, in favor of a President’s Choice Mastercard (which gives me grocery points). I opened the statement assuming my normal 50 cent credit balance (I like pissing off these folks by overpaying by less than a dollar, and thus their systems then send me monthly statements, costing them money), but NO, I owed $60!

I asked my wife, why did we have a charge on the Visa card for pictures from a company in Calgary? My wife remembered that we had ordered pictures from this company last year (at this time) for our daughter’s band. I went and checked my records and YES they had charged us LAST YEAR and I had paid LAST YEAR. Here is the $60 question, why were they charging me again THIS YEAR?

I phoned up the CIBC Visa “help” line. The young lady was very helpful and says I had to put a “trace” on this charge to get it removed. The solution proposed was that I should pay the bill and when the charge was reversed I would have a $60 credit. I pointed out that I didn’t use this card any more, thus having a $60 credit does me no good.

The Moral of this Essay?

  1. If I had CANCEL‘ed this card, this would NOT have happened in the first place!
  2. Always check your credit card statements. I find at least 1 or 2 spurious charges on my cards every year.
  3. With all of the personal information theft going on having the minimum “points of attack” (i.e. credit cards) minimizes your possible damage in this kind of incident.

Keep this one in mind, and maybe figure out just how many credit cards you have sitting around gathering dust. It is NOT an easy task to CANCEL credit cards, but if you miss out on 1 of these possible incidents, it is worthwhile.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. It’s actually pretty easy to cancel a credit card – pay the balance in full, and wait until you get the bill showing the final payment and a balance of zero. In the meantime, make sure you don’t put any more charges on that card.

    Then, call the credit card company, and tell them you want to cancel the card. Don’t take no for an answer. Get the correct address, and send a registered letter confirming that you want the card cancelled and the account closed.

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