How to Cancel a Discover Card for You or Someone That Died

Updated

There’s a lot of loose ends that need to be tied up after a person dies. One thing you need to do is cancel your loved one’s credit cards. Canceling a credit card would reduce the likelihood of fraudulent charges and could save you the hassle of having to dispute them later.

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Perhaps you would like to cancel your own Discover card. Maybe you are ready to work on a cash-only system after realizing that credit cards don’t work for you. 

If you need to learn how to cancel a Discover card for any reason, keep reading. We’ve consulted the fine print on their website to help you “discover” the process.

How to Cancel Your Own Discover Credit Card

Canceling your Discover credit card is a pretty straightforward process. Of course, it is the customer service representative’s job to try to talk you out of it, so you may encounter a bit of resistance when making the call.

Here are the steps on how to cancel your own account.

1. Pay off your balance

According to Discover’s website, you can “cancel” a card while it still has a balance, but you will still need to keep making payments. To truly remove Discover from your life, you must first pay them all the money you owe.

2. Use up your rewards

Part of the benefit of using a Discover credit card is that you can earn rewards or cashback when you use it. Those rewards will disappear after the card is canceled. If you know you will be canceling the card soon, you might want to take advantage of them now.

3. Notify other users

Do you have other authorized users on your account? You might want to tell them you are canceling the credit card. This will eliminate your college-aged kid from standing at a gas pump trying to figure out how to pay for a tank of gas.

4. Cancel auto payments that are connected to your Discover card

To keep your life running-as-usual, make sure you change your form of payment on your accounts that automatically charge a credit card. You don’t want the canceling of a credit card to disrupt your binge session of The Crown on Netflix.

5. Call the customer service number on the back of your card

Once you have completed all the previous steps, you’re ready to contact a customer service representative at Discover. Call the number on the back of the card. You’ll need to give the Discover rep your card number, the name on the account, and the date you would like the card to be canceled.

6. Request a confirmation letter

Ensure that your request goes through by asking that the customer service rep mails you a confirmation letter. Tuck this letter away in a safe place.  

7. Destroy your card

Cut up your credit card in tiny pieces before throwing it away. You shouldn’t have to worry about crooks getting a hold of your number after the account is canceled, but it’s better safe than sorry. 

8. Wait a month and check your credit report

Discover’s website says to wait a month and then obtain a copy of your credit report. The credit card will still be on your credit report, according to Discover’s website.

The website states that “an account in good standing remains on your credit report for up to 10 years, while an account that has past delinquencies remains on your credit report from the first date of delinquency up to seven years.”

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How to Cancel a Deceased Loved One’s Discover Credit Card

Canceling the credit card that belongs to a loved one who recently passed away is similar to the previous process. To learn more about the digital afterlife and how they relate to executor duties, follow the links to those articles.

1. Stop using the credit card

It is illegal to use the credit card of a deceased family member. Things become more complicated if there are joint account owners, and one still survives.

2. Call Discover’s deceased account services specialist

Discover has an entire department that specializes in working with family members who recently lost a loved one. To reach this department, call 1-800-347-5519. 

Tell the account service specialist that the cardholder is no longer alive. You have to provide verifying information, such as the card number and address on the account. 

In most cases, you will not have to send a death certificate to Discover. You probably will also not be required to know any password for the account. Discover’s website says that their account representatives will verify the death.

3. Talk with a local attorney before paying off the credit card balance

Credit card laws vary from state to state. In some states, if the authorized user is a spouse of the deceased, then the spouse may be liable for any balances. This is not true in every state.

If you are confused about how to pay off the balance, you may want to talk with an attorney familiar with estate laws in your state. 

4. Pay off the account balance

Once you determine who is responsible for the credit card account balance, call Discover at 1-800-347-5519.

Once you know how much you need to send, use the payment stub included in your deceased loved one’s credit card statement. Write the appropriate account number on the check and mail the payment and the stub to Discover. 

Only those who are responsible for the account must pay the balance. This means that if you are the child of the deceased, you are not responsible for using your assets to pay off the debt of your deceased parents. The funds from your parent’s estate should be used to make the payment.

If you are jointly responsible for the account, then you are likely responsible for the balance due.

5. Destroy the card

Of course, you don’t have to wait until the final step to destroy the credit card, but it may be helpful to have the credit card number and customer service number available until you are sure that the account is deactivated. 

6. Repeat this process with other accounts

Go through your loved one’s wallet and personal papers to see if any other credit card companies need to be notified of the death. 

Seek the Help of Your Estate Attorney and Funeral Home Director

If your loved one left behind a complicated estate, make sure you seek the advice of the attorney for the estate since laws vary from state to state.

The funeral home director can also be a valuable resource. While they do not contact credit card companies, they do fill out the necessary paperwork and will digitally inform the social security administration regarding your loved one’s death. 


Source: 

  1. “Closing a Deceased Cardmember’s Account.” Discover Card. https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/help-center/faqs/deceased.html/.

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