If you're trying to clean up your credit report, you may come across a few open credit cards that you're no longer using, or may not even know where they are. This makes it tough to close the account because you don't have the full account number to give to the credit card issuer.
Fortunately, since credit card accounts are often tied to your personal information, like your Social Security number, you can still close the credit card without having the account number.
Make Sure It's Okay to Close the Card
More often than not, keeping a credit card open is better for your credit score. For example, you should keep open any credit card that: still has a balance, is your only credit card with available credit, is your oldest credit card, or has better terms than your other credit cards.
If the credit card still has a balance, it's a good idea to pay off the balance before closing the account. Once you contact the credit card issuer, make sure they have your correct billing address on file and have a credit card statement mailed to you so you can verify the amount and pay off the balance. You can opt to pay the balance over time or all at once if you can afford to.
Call the Credit Card Company to Get the Account Number
Usually, your credit report contains the contact number for the company listing the account.
No phone number listed on the credit report? Find the website and look for a "Contact Us" link on the site to find a contact number. You can also try looking through your old documents to locate a credit card statement from that creditor.
Once you have a number, call the card company. Let them know you have an account with them, but no longer have the credit card or the credit card number. The customer service representative will ask for some identifying information to look up your account. For privacy reasons, the company might have a policy against giving out credit card numbers over the phone.
Some automated customer service numbers give you the option of entering the last four digits of your social security number and zip code if you can't locate your credit card number.
Close the Account Over the Phone
If the representative can give your account number or at least the last four digits of the account number over the phone, write it down for future reference, and then request to have the credit card closed.
They may ask for the reason you're closing your account or even offer better terms to keep your business. If the offer sounds worth taking, you might want to reconsider closing your credit card.
Follow up in Writing
After closing your credit card by phone, send a certified letter to the credit card issuer confirming your request to have your credit card closed.
In the letter include your name, address, and last four digits of the account number. State that you requested to have your credit card account closed by phone and would like your credit record to reflect that the account was closed at your request.
Then, check your credit report in a few weeks to confirm that your account was closed.
You can check your credit report from all three major credit bureaus for free once each year through AnnualCreditReport.com.