What Happens If You Cancel a Credit Card but Are Owed a Refund?

What Happens If You Cancel a Credit Card but Are Owed a Refund?
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After you cancel a credit card, you may still need to return the items you purchased using that credit card. Try explaining to the merchant that the card is no longer active. If the merchant insists on crediting the canceled credit card, you are still entitled to the refund. However, it may take a little longer to receive the funds. If you do not receive your refund, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.


  • When you cancel your credit card, the issuing company must send you a check for any refunds owed. If you return merchandise after the card has been closed, you may need to seek reimbursement directly from the merchant.

Alternative Refunds

When you cancel a credit card, the number is no longer valid. In most cases, the credit card company will decline the refund, since the account is not open. The merchant may receive notice that the refund did not go through immediately or within a few days, depending on the merchant's processing system. You can ask the merchant for an alternative refund, such as store credit, cash, check or a refund to an active credit card. If you are concerned about the refund going to your canceled card, you can inquire about returning the item without a receipt. Each store has its own policy regarding returns without a receipt.

Credit to Your Closed Account

If you recently closed the account, the credit card company may accept the refund and apply it toward any balance that may be remaining on your credit card. If there is no balance due, the credit will result in a positive account balance. The credit card company is legally responsible for issuing you a check for the credit on your account.

Requesting a Refund

If you are unsure about the status of the refund, contact your credit card company's customer service line to speak to a representative. Explain the situation, and ask if the refund was posted to your closed account. If the credit card company has your refund, ask about the procedure for requesting a check. The company may require you to submit the refund request in writing.

Processing Time

The amount of time it takes to receive your refund from the credit card company will vary, depending on the company. Some companies wait for the billing cycle to end before issuing refunds, while others will issue an immediate refund if the account has been closed. If you have not received your refund within 30 days, contact the credit card company to confirm the check has been issued.