Cancelling Credit Cards to avoid scams

Just thought I would pass this on….
Every year I cancel my credit card and get a new one. It’s painful to update all my online details, but definitely worth the effort.
All those annoying recurring charges, mostly tiny amounts, that I can never trace and couldn’t be bothered chasing up just disappear and I have a clean slate every year.
This is not for everyone but works really well for me.


I don’t have any of those. I have a few that are for specific recurring bills like internet/phone but it is very clear what they are, why they are there and whether they are needed.

As for avoiding scams I think anybody would do better to take more care deciding before giving access to a card than cleaning up the debris once a year after making payments that they don’t know a reason for.

I can’t help but wonder if you are not having a little leg-pull here.


Seems like whatever you are doing with your credit card you are simply repeating every year. Giving out the details willy nilly and then not bothering to check what is actually being charged.


Do you get a replacement card from your existing provider, or do you shop around for a completely new card ?

I’m thinking that if it is the latter, it would have a negative impact on your credit score ?


What are the annoying recurring charges for?

The only recurring amounts on our card are the direct debits which we agreed to.

Is someone using your card without permission? Wouldn’t it be better to sort out how those apparently unauthorised charges are coming about so you can stop them from recurring every year?


Interesting approach. I can see that it could have merit if you bought a lot of things from a lot of different online websites, especially directly from less well known overseas sellers/businesses. And you have had more than one issue in the past in relation to unauthorised transactions from the use of your credit card.

If you regularly buy online and find some of these haven’t turned out to be a genuine seller, then there is a possibility that the website was set up to skim credit card details. Then cancelling and issuing a new one may have merit.

If one generally uses well known business websites, the risk of skimming is almost zero. The only risk is if their payment system used by the business collected and stored credit card details and the payment system was compromised/hacked where details were ‘stolen’. The likelihood for this is low, but has happened. Usually these companies notify buyers/account holders of a compromised payment system. In such case it is best to speak to the card issuer to see what action should be taken…noting that credit card companies will chargeback any unauthorised transactions as a result of ‘stolen’ credit card details until the breach is identified.

This sounds like you have subscribed to app monthly purchases (either buying a licence for an app or have decided to buy in-app purchases), have subscribed to a premium service (such as texts etc) or other subscription based services (product updates, antivirus subscription etc). While replacing a credit card might be the easiest option to prevent such direct debits occurring, a card issuer may transfer any recurring payment to a new card (assuming it is the same issuer that gives you a new card linked to the same account - in effect, it is a new issued card for the account). Success may only be certain if you changed credit card provider/issuer.

It seems a lot of effort to try and be in front on a scammer. As credit cards companies provide chargebacks for unauthorised transactions, might be easier to wait until an unauthorised transaction occurs or being notified of a data breach before contacting your card issuer and cancelling the card/getting a new one issued.


I’ve found the best solution (though coupled with cancelling the card at the first whiff of fraud) is just to only have debit credit cards, and have a minimal amount in the linked account. I only keep an amount I know I presently need in the account (plus 100-200). It’s enough to cover the day-to-day. And my bank (CBA) allows the card to be a bit overdrawn as long as you put money back in there within a day).

I also have a second debit credit card linked to a different bank account. It’s not activated and lives in a drawer at home, only for use if I have to cancel the first card, while I await the replacement card.


In the wonderful world of cards these days, many cards are issued in electronic form for download via the issuer’s app in addition to a plastic instance, and can be put into google or apple pay for immediate use, and with rolling CVV’s for online use. Your strategy is excellent but I recently learned that the ‘standard replacement of today’ is often only a few minutes rather than 5-7 business days, issuer dependent.


Ahh, for a bank that does that (not the CBA) :stuck_out_tongue:


Westpac. My card was recently compromised and I was sans a functioning card account for less than 20 minutes! About half that time was me figuring out how to download, add to googlepay, and use the electronic version.


PN Bank offers digital cards instantly. Plus, it’s a member owned bank. No or low fees.

I only use 1 credit card and each year I got back to NAB and renew it. I don’t know what these charges are but the bank tells me it can often be staff ‘skimming’ the cards. I have no idea, why they do it or how they derive benefit, but it happens.

What! ‘The staff’ are skimming credit cards - surely they don’t mean bank staff? Or are they saying that retail store staff are doing it?
I have 2 credit cards, one with a $1000 limit that I use for anything I’m not sure of and the other with a larger limit that I use for everything else. Although I pretty much use Paypal for everything and reconsider my purchase if they don’t take Paypal or Afterpay. Anything that limits the number of people who have my actual card number.
I have known people (I used to work in a bank) who have done over-the-phone purchases that required a verification code and they have given the code to the helpful person on the other end of the phone - DON’T DO THIS PEOPLE! This means they are putting your details into an unknown site at their end…
Mind you I have also had people come in AFTER allowing a nice helpful person half a day’s access to their computer to ‘fix it’ too.


You have me puzzled. You MUST have some idea what the charges are for. If a credit card then the monthly statement will list the details. If a branded debit card, then your bank statement will list the details.
I would think it more likely the charges are purchases you forget you made, or direct debit arrangement, or interest, or even just bank charges than any sort of “card skimming”.


I have been to a couple of places and bought fuel or a Chinese meal, then 3 months later extra charges start appearing. Apparently it’s the staff taking the card details and charging it later.

In the case of fuel, it was a service station in rural NSW. I bought $70 worth of fuel. 5 months later my card was charged 52c. Bank said it was the scammers way of testing if the card is still active, then they sell the number.

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To date, when I report it to the bank, they cancel it and reissue a card.

That would be crazy. If some scammers had your card details they wouldn’t charge 52 cents to see if the card was active. They would go for hundreds of dollars.
Some charges on a credit card are interest free if the amount is paid off within the interest free monthly period. Other charges are treated as a cash advance, and interest is charged regardless of the free period. It looks very much like an interest charge.
For instance a $70 charge treated as a cash advance at 16% per annum would be a charge of $0.65.
Anyway, the credit card statement will state the details.

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The wonderful Earth-saving world of electronic credit cards according to “benhelps”.
My card is made of PVCA (polyvinyl chloride acetate) and weighs 6 grams. There are 13.7 millions Australians with credit cards (, accessed 27 December 202), allowing for people with 2 cards let’s say 14 million cards at 6 grams chucked out each year under Pricey’s recipe for dealing with annoying tiny amounts on the bank card. That’s 84 million grams about when my brain fails to calculate how many tonnes of plastic waste going to landfill and degenerating into microplastics that infiltrate all animal life, that’s you and me.
On the other hand how much earth warming carbon dioxide are the computer servers producing in order to service your electronic credit card?
I don’t wish to be harsh on those who might not have been brought up without electricity, sewerage or the internet, but it’s obvious to an old bloke like me if your life revolves around a plastic card: go simple, stop consuming the Earth by using credit cards to fill your life with material and virtual trinkets, live with what’s local and enjoy the free sunrise and sunset.

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LOL, err what charlienic?

I expect sooner or later the plastic aspect of a credit card will become a thing of the past. So then the only consumption in producing and issuing a new card number will be a bit of data adjusted on a server that’s running at the same level of power consumption anyway.

Payment systems moving more to digital only creations is kind of an inevitability of our progressive society/species.

Unto each their own; our household lives a fulfilling life largely online.

Apologies guys, I can’t shed anymore light on why this happens to me and all I can do is relay what NAB have told me.
As for plastic versus digital card, not buying into that debate :joy: