Sometimes the decision to close your credit card is an easy one. Maybe your credit card issuer won’t lower your interest rate. Or perhaps the credit card no longer benefits you. Maybe you’re simplifying your finances and need to let some credit cards go. Once you’ve made sure that closing your credit card isn’t going to hurt your credit score, there are a few other things to do before you close your credit card for good.
Make Sure You Really Want to Close Your Credit Card
Avoid closing your credit card because you’re angry with your credit card issuer or because you think it’s going to improve your credit score. If you later regret closing your credit card, you may not be able to open it up again. Before you call the customer service rep to cancel your account for good, be sure it’s what you really want to do.
Use Your Credit Card Rewards
Once you close your credit card, you’ll forfeit any credit card rewards you’ve accumulated. Use your rewards before you close your credit card to avoid losing them forever. Some credit cards may let you transfer your rewards to another credit card with the same program, but confirm you can make the transfer before closing your credit card.
Change Any Recurring Bills
If you've set up your credit card for automatic billing for any services, change it before you close your credit card. Two things can happen if a biller attempts to process an automatic payment against your closed account. Your credit card issuer may reopen your account and process the payment. You could easily miss this new credit card charge, especially if you closed your credit card with a zero balance. Or, your credit card issuer could decline the bill. In the latter case, the biller will pursue you for payment and may tack on additional penalty fees for the late payment.
Pay Off the Balance
You're not required to pay off your balance before you close your credit card, but it's good for your credit score. When you close your credit card while it still has a balance, you’re still responsible for making paying off the balance till it reaches zero. You may accrue interest on your unpaid balance.
Warn Your Authorized Users
Once your credit card is closed, any authorized users will be unable to use the credit card. Save them the embarrassment of having the credit card declined at the cash register and warn them that you’re closing the account.
Once you’ve confirmed it’s ok to close your credit card, give a call to your credit card issuer’s customer service. Follow up with a letter confirming that you requested your account to be closed and check your credit report within a few weeks to verify that your account was indeed closed.