Do I Incur in Credit Card Annual Fee if I Cancel The Card before Activating It?


I am going to receive a premium AMEX and a VISA card in a few days. I was enticed by the favorable bonus conditions under matching spending thresholds within three months. However, I noticed that in order to match the combined spending threshold by using both cards in the same period of time I will be required to stretch my budget above my intention.

I have 2 questions

1) When is a card going to be considered "active" and as such make me incur in the annual subscription fee? Is it from the acceptance day or from the day I actually activate the card by using it? In the latter case, I would be fine by keeping both cards. I would match card 1 threshold in about two months and then activate the second one and repeat.

2) In case cards are active since approval day, is there anything like a "change of mind policy" such that I ask the provider to cancel the card without incurring in the nasty annual subscription fee?

Thanks a lot!


  • Consider buying gift cards: Woolies/Coles.

  • Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but you only agree to the terms and conditions of the card at the time you activate it. Until then, you are not charged the fee. I knew someone who carried around an un-activated card "just cause" and they did not have to pay any fees. But that was a while ago.

    And by activate it, I mean physically activate it after you receive the card itself. The application for credit is not a contract.

  • Found this on the Web-
    "If you applied for a card with an annual fee and you were approved, it’s likely the account is open and you owe the annual fee.
    But if you don’t want the card anymore, you may be able to contact the credit card issuer and ask a representative to waive the fee. If you haven’t activated or used the card yet and plan to close it immediately, that may help your case (see great cards without annual fees to avoid that problem)".

    I would call AMEX just to make sure.

    • Of course, this is more likely true for the United States where consumer law (and consumer credit law in particular) is quite different to Australia, and the article you reference appears to be published for an American audience. But, as you say, it doesn't hurt to make the phone call.

  • Hi guys,
    thanks for the comments, all informative. I will double check with the issuers and see how it goes. The gift cards is certainly a good idea, I will consider it in all cases. If any of you have direct experience with AMEX to double check before I engage in the battle, I'm happy to hear

  • Hi guys,

    I just checked with AMEX, the conditions are as follow: 1) The account is active since approval day, in my case 4th of May 2) There's a 30 days change-of-mind policy which requires the customer NOT to have taken any credit or received any sort of benefit.