The Perilous Process of Canceling Credit Cards

It took me a long time to decide to cancel our credit cards. It’s not because I feel the need to spend that much money–in fact, we’ve never carried a balance on any card (except by accident). But it’s because of the deals they qualified me for. Cashback bonuses, rebates, in-store discounts…those were the days. But Dave Ramsey tells me that nobody ever got rich off cash back bonuses. And Dave Ramsey also tells me that I will spend 18% less without that plastic in my pocket. And Dave Ramsey is rich. So, we’re doing what Dave Ramsey says.

We had a Discover Card for their cash back bonus, and used that card for everything as newlyweds. It was awesome to get the occasional free gift card to Olive Garden or Borders, especially since our “fun money” stash was always low. When I called to cancel that card, they transferred me from Ohio to Arizona to a professionally trained debater. She told me all about how my credit score would go down, how I needed to keep a credit card for booking hotels, how their 5% cash back on a few of my purchases was better than the 4% I earn onmy checking account balance. I seriously felt like she was the serpent on the fruit tree when she said, “Did your program really tell you to get rid of all your credit cards, even the ones that you’re not carrying a balance on?” When I finally convinced her that I really wasn’t going to change my mind she talked super fast and was no longer my protective best friend. I really felt like it was a personal affront to her. I was so rattled by my conversation with her that I was glad to be done with Discover forever. I didn’t even miss my cashback bonuses.

I also called to cancel our Kohl’s charge card. We rarely used it, and when we did, I forgot to pay it. So, that 15% off didn’t turn out to be such a good deal. The boy who canceled my card very nicely told me that if I wanted to, I could use it to get the deals and pay it immediately in the back of the store. I was SO tempted to just say, “Nevermind.” But Dave Ramsey said to get rid of it, so I did. Plus, my mom (or aunt or grandma) will take me there if I need to go.

We canceled our Target card a long time ago, but got new cards in the mail a few weeks ago. So, we re-canceled that one with no regrets.

We also canceled our BP Visa Card account. Dexter’s call to cancel was simple. After that, it got complicated. First, I realized we hadn’t cashed in on the $75 we had in rebates before we canceled. How dumb is that?! I almost had a heart attack. But I trusted God that we wouldn’t die without those $75, although that trust just about killed me. Then, I got a letter in the mail from a conference I attended in February and gave credit card information to in December. They wanted to let me know that they’d be charging my card for that conference sometime in the next month. (This is a school agency–seriously, do they have the money to wait around like that?)  God provided, and we reopened the account, haven’t incurred extra charges from my conference payment, and ordered my $75 in rebates. Hallelujah! This is a huge blessing since we have so many extra expenses this month–you know, fun things like our federal taxes. Now that our account is open again, I can’t help wondering if we should keep it open. I really want to keep it and ONLY use it to fill up the gas tank, and get my rebates…but we’ve also decided to be gung ho about everything Dave teaches us in FPU. Maybe I’ll go reread that chapter in Total Money Makeover or re-watch the lesson in Financial Peace University.

Sigh…it feels good to have that part (almost) over with.

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9 thoughts on “The Perilous Process of Canceling Credit Cards

  1. Wow! What boldness! We are completely free of debt (and have been before we knew of Dave Ramsey) AND we still use credit cards!

    I completely understand where he’s coming from, I love to listen to his show but we have been able to manage with them nicely. To reduce the amount of time we spend on tracking money, we are looking at more alternatives similar to the envelope system but haven’t agreed on anything quite yet.

    Go get ’em!

  2. Those are big steps! I was surprised to hear that you got so much flack from the Discover people! You’ve got me thinking now….I’m sure you’ll spend less. But I would miss one for getting things on line. Maybe I will just keep mine at home. That would help a lot! Can’t wait to see you and get caught up!

  3. Way to go! I remember back canceling our CitiBank card (even though we hadn’t used it in ages) and the guy got really, really lippy with me. He was snide and trying to guilt me. It was ridiculous. I honestly love the freedom of using only “cash.” (ie money we have, not necessarily linen cash, :)!)

  4. Way to go!!! One small step now , but an even bigger step for your future. Congrats, as a die-hard Dave (actually a financial counselor thru Dave) I just had to congratulate you !!

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