Call to speak to us now

Credit Cards and Death

What to do with active credit cards when a loved one passes away?

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things in life. That stress and grief are only amplified when you are charged with the administrative and financial duties that accompany a loved one’s passing. Managing the financial assets of your deceased loved ones can be both time-consuming and confusing. Here is everything you need to know about what to do with your loved one’s active credit cards after they pass away.

How Does a Credit Card Company know if one of their Customers passes away?

How Does a Credit Card Company know if one of their Customers passes away Credit Card Companies are not immediately notified when one of their customers passes away. The executor of the customer’s estate must notify both the credit card company and the three major credit bureaus of the individual’s passing. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion will all close a person’s credit report, including all accounts, when they are notified of an individual passing.

There are only two ways in which a credit card company will be notified of an individual passing. Either the executive of the estate must contact the credit card company directly or the Social Security Administration will send a notice when they are notified. The Social Security Administration may not contact the credit card company for months leaving you and your loved one’s estate at great risk.

Leaving a deceased loved one’s credit card accounts open can be a dangerous risk. Identity thieves, hackers, and other predators target the accounts of recently deceased individuals. The only way to protect yourself and your loved one’s estate is to close any active credit cards and close the credit report with the three major credit bureaus.

Here’s what You need to do if your recently passed loved one has an active Credit Card

This step-by-step guide can help you gather all of the materials you will need to notify the credit card company that your loved one has passed. While it may seem like a task that can be postponed, closing a credit card account should be done as quickly as possible to minimize any possible risk or to prevent any unauthorized automatic payments. Follow this guide to ensure that your loved one’s estate is not put at risk of fraudulent activity.

1. Gather all Necessary Documents

Before you contact the credit card company, it is important to gather all of the materials you will need to successfully close an account. There are two major documents that you will need to secure before you can begin the process of closing an account. 

After a loved one dies, it is important to request an updated credit report from any of the major Credit bureaus. Anyone who has been appointed as an executor or a surviving spouse will be able to request a credit report on behalf of the deceased individual. An official credit report is the best way to see what accounts need to be closed now that your loved one has passed. An official credit report will contain all of the necessary information to help you identify existing accounts that will need to be closed. 

The other important document to secure before contacting the credit card companies is the death certificate. It is best to obtain multiple official copies of the death certificate in the case of multiple open accounts and to ensure that the only copy is not lost in the mail. 

It is also ideal to gather any credit card statements or documentation that was saved by your loved one before they passed. These documents will contain helpful information like account numbers and any security measures the company may request. Once you gather these documents, you will have everything you need to close the existing accounts. 

2. Contact Credit Card Companies to Close Accounts

As soon as you have gathered all of the necessary documentation, you need to contact the credit card company. The number for each credit issuer can often be found on the credit card itself. If you do not have credit cards on hand, you should be able to get the credit card companies contact information online.

During your call be sure to have all of the necessary documentation nearby. It is also best to have a pen and paper or other means of recording information so that you can copy down any addresses, contact information, or reference numbers you are provided with.

The credit card company will most likely ask you to mail in a death certificate or other proof of the decedent’s passing. Be sure to save any reference numbers, email receipts, or phone call reference numbers for your records.

3. Address any Necessary Reoccurring Charges

One of the often-overlooked steps in the process of closing a loved one’s credit card accounts is identifying any scheduled reoccurring charges. Reoccurring charges can often be identified on credit card statements. These charges will need to be canceled or moved to another payment method soon after the credit card account is closed. While most reoccurring charges will just fail to renew without payment, some reoccurring charges could include important bills like mortgages, insurance payments, or utilities. It is important to not overlook reoccurring charges so that necessary services are not suspended and debt is not incurred due to an invalid payment method.

4. Protect your Loved One’s Estate with a Credit Freeze

Protect your Loved One’s Estate with a Credit Freeze The final step you will need to take in protecting your loved one’s estate from fraudulent credit activity is to contact all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and request a credit freeze for your deceased loved one’s identity. This will ensure that predators cannot open any new cards or accounts with your loved one’s name or Social Security Number. After contacting each bureau, you should request an updated credit report to ensure that it is properly marked with a credit freeze.


Give you and your Family Peace of Mind

Closing a deceased loved one’s credit card account as soon as possible can help provide peace of mind that your loved one’s estate and identity are safe. While it is often difficult to do administrative and financial tasks whilst grieving, the relief you will feel when the task is over will be well worth it.