The Right Way To Close a Credit Card

Close Your Credit Card the Correct Way

A woman cuts up a credit card
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There are lots of good reasons to close a credit card: you have too many credit cards, your card issuer raised your interest rate or added an annual fee, or simply because you don't want that credit card anymore.

Before call your credit card issuer to have your credit card closed, first consider whether closing that card will impact your credit score. Once you're sure closing the credit card is the right move to make, follow these steps to make sure the card is closed correctly and in your favor.

Pay Off the Balance

You can close a credit card even if you still have a balance, but your credit score may suffer because your credit utilization will appear higher. Credit utilization considers the ratio of your credit limits to credit card balances and is part of the second biggest factor that goes into your credit score.

When you close your credit card with a balance, you'll still have to make regular monthly payments (at least the minimum) until you've paid off the balance. If you can, pay off the balance on the credit card before you close it. This will lessen the impact to your credit score and give you one less credit card payment to worry about. 

Contact Customer Service

Call your credit card's customer service using the phone number on the back of your credit card. Let the representative know that you'd like to close your credit card account. Don't be surprised if the representative tries to talk you into keeping your account open.

For example, they may offer to lower your interest rate or enroll you in a rewards program as an incentive. If you're sure you want to close the account, don't allow yourself to be convinced otherwise. Note the date and time you made this request.

Follow-Up With a Letter

Follow up with a letter to your credit card issuer so that you have a record of the request to have your your credit card closed.

Include your name, address, and credit credit card number (or at least the last four digits of the card number). State that you made a request by phone to have your account closed and note the date of the request. Send your letter via certified mail so you have proof that the letter was mailed and received should that fact ever come into question. Keep a copy of the letter and the certified mail receipt for your records. 

Your credit card issuer will usually close your credit card even if you don't follow up with a letter. Sending a letter does give you proof that you made the request to have your account closed if it ever comes into question in the future.

Check Your Credit Report

In a few days, check your credit report to make sure the credit card is reported as closed by you. It won't necessarily hurt your credit score if it's not reported as closed or if it's reported as closed by your credit card issuer, but you want your credit report to accurately reflect the status of your account. Contact your credit card issuer or file a dispute with the credit bureau if your credit card account isn't reported as closed.