So, Sunday morning I was hustling around and trying to get as much done before having to head out to church, taking advantage of my wife and kids being gone (they slept over at grandma’s house). It’s amazing the things you can get done when you are distraction-free.
Anyways, we have been going through Financial Peace University, and last week, we had the “Dumping Debt” lesson. Now, Jenni and I have been debt free, other than our house, since June 2013. But, for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to actually close our two credit card accounts because I was still under the mindset that we “needed” them until we actually built up our 6-month, fully funded emergency fund. I felt secure knowing that I had access to $10,000 plus, even if it came with a 13.9% interest rate (or whatever the rate was). So, when we finally hit our goal earlier this year of having our 6-month fully funded emergency fund, it was a real reality check for us.
It’s not like we actually worried about the credit cards much. In fact, my cards were down in my office buried in my normal pile of paperwork and the card Jenni was carrying wasn’t even the newest card. We ended up cutting up the old card during our FPU class along with one other person. Then, this past Sunday, we actually cut up the other 3 (my 2 and Jenni’s new card). The funny part about it was that the cards were still attached to the paper they came mailed in. We hadn’t even activated them.
Now, I know that just by cutting up the cards doesn’t actually close out the account. So, I decided to call both companies (Chase and American Express) to close the accounts. I was expecting some drawn out, retention issue when I went to call and cancel. But, to my surprise, they were very easy to close. They mainly just had me verify normal information for my identity and then asked why I wanted to cancel. I just told them I didn’t use them anymore.
One thing I made sure to ask was for them to send me a mailing confirming that the account had indeed been closed. Both companies said that it could take 7-10 business days for the letter to arrive.
I don’t feel much different now that we don’t have the credit cards. I guess, even before we closed out the accounts, I didn’t really get my security from them. Maybe I was just more worried about making that phone call to cancel the cards? I’m not sure.
To be fair, we do still have a Kohl’s charge card, but we only use it to get the discount the rare times that we actually do go shopping there. And when we do use it, we head right to the back of the store and make a payment that same day so that it really doesn’t even show up. It’s kind of stupid that they force you to use their card to get the discount, but that’s just the way it is. For now, we will hold on to it, but it is not safe from being chopped either.
I would encourage you to cut up and get rid of your credit cards as you are able to. What has your experience been with closing out different credit cards? Did you keep your cards after getting out of debt until you built your emergency fund? I want to hear your opinions!
This article originally appeared on My Family On A Budget
Photo credit: Informedmag