How to Get a Refund That Was Sent to a Canceled Credit Card

By Emma Diehl · August 05, 2022 · 6 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

How to Get a Refund That Was Sent to a Canceled Credit Card

When a refund goes to a canceled credit card, it may seem like that cash is lost for good. In fact, getting your money back just requires a few calls to the credit card company and the merchant, and a little patience.

However, there are ways to avoid a refund going to a canceled credit card and methods to recover the cash if it’s stuck in limbo between the retailer and the credit card company. Keep reading to learn how to avoid this situation, and what your options are.

Key Points

•   When you cancel a credit card, you may be eligible for a refund of any remaining balance or fees.

•   The refund process varies depending on the credit card issuer’s policies.

•   It’s important to contact the credit card issuer to inquire about any potential refunds.

•   Keep track of your cancellation request and follow up if necessary to ensure you receive your refund.

•   Be aware of any potential fees or penalties associated with canceling a credit card.

Can You Stop a Refund From Going to a Canceled Credit Card?

To avoid a refund going to a canceled credit card, the easiest approach is to reach out to the merchant before starting the refund process.

Ask the business if it’s willing to refund the purchase differently. That’ll likely mean store credit or a gift card. In some instances, it could mean receiving cash back or refunding the purchase to a different credit card.

Going to the business first may involve calling customer service or visiting a bricks-and-mortar location. If the business is willing to refund the purchase differently, you’ll avoid the long process of getting back a refund that went to a canceled credit card.

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*

Recommended: Common Credit Report Errors and How to Dispute Them

Steps for Getting a Refund on a Canceled Credit Card

When a refund is going to a canceled credit card, you have a few options to ensure the credit doesn’t go to waste. It can help to know a little about how credit cards work, but it’s not essential.

1. Check if Your Canceled Card Account Is Still Open

In the event that a credit card was canceled due to theft or loss, don’t worry. If the account is still open under a new card number, the refund from the merchant will be credited back to the new card.

Recommended: How to Report Identity Theft

2. See if the Refund Was Accepted by the Card Issuer

When there’s no longer a credit card associated with the account, things get trickier. What happens next will vary based on how long ago the cardholder closed the account.

If the customer can still log in to their account, they may see the refund reflected online. But if the account is long closed and can’t be accessed online, first the customer should reach out to the merchant and ask for the Acquirer Reference Number. Armed with this info, they can then talk to the credit card company.

3. Request the Refund

If the merchant says the refund was posted to the old account, call the credit card company and request a refund via check. This is when the Acquirer Reference Number can come in handy. In some cases, the credit card company or bank may ask for a written request.

4. Be Patient

A standard refund usually takes a week or so, but getting a refund from a canceled credit card can take longer, depending on merchant policy, credit card company policy, and even the returned item or service.

Generally, expect a refund between seven and 14 business days after your request. If 30 business days elapse with no refund, it’s time to follow up with the merchant.

5. Return Directly to the Merchant for the Refund

If 30 days pass without a refund, it may be time to return to the store to track down the refund.

In some cases, the card issuer may reject a refund to a closed account and send it back to the store. Reach out to the store’s customer service, and ask if it received a bounce back from the credit card issuer. If the store did, customers might be able to request a refund in the form of store credit or cash.

This process can be complicated or tedious, depending on the retailer’s size and bookkeeping system. An independent retailer is unlikely to have a customer service department, so going to the store with receipts and reference numbers could help speed up the process.

How To Avoid a Refund Going to a Canceled Card

Asking for an alternative refund method is one way to avoid a refund going to a canceled card, but here are a few other ways to steer clear of the lengthy process.

•   Conduct an audit of transactions before canceling a credit card. Are there any purchases you plan to return? Keeping the card open until the refund is processed could make sense.

•   Keep an eye on finances. A money tracking app can help you keep tabs on your spending, avoiding the confusion of which refund goes on what card. Some services also offer free credit monitoring and a debt payoff planner.

•   Think long and hard before canceling a credit card. Canceling a credit card can harm your credit score, and canceling one out of the blue may lead to more issues than benefits. Closing a card without thinking it through could lead to refunds on a canceled card.

Recommended: What is The Difference Between Transunion and Equifax

The Takeaway

The simplest way to avoid a refund going to a canceled card is by going straight to the merchant and asking them to refund the amount through an alternative means. That could mean getting store credit, but it’ll sidestep the credit card company and get your money back faster. If a refund does go to a canceled card, it’s not lost for good. It’ll just take a few steps to get the refund.

Tracking refunds and spending can be overwhelming with multiple accounts. That’s where SoFi comes in. SoFi tracks spending all in one place, ensuring you’ll never miss a refund.

Track your money like a champion.


Can I get a refund that was sent to a closed credit card?

Yes, but getting the refund will depend on if the account is still open, how long the card has been closed, and the credit card company’s policies.

Photo credit: iStock/MBezvodinskikh

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.


TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender