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How to Cancel a Credit Card

Last Updated: March 8, 2022
2 min read

Paying off your credit card might seem like a fairly straightforward process — and it can be — but before you dial that number on the back to cancel a credit card, brief yourself on a few important points of the cancellation process.

Before You cancel a credit card

People have a variety of good reasons for canceling credit cards. But if you’re canceling them just to clear out your wallet a little, you may want to reconsider.

Canceling a credit card can  affect your credit by lowering your total amount of available credit and by decreasing the average age of your accounts.

If you carry a balance on any of your credit accounts, lowering your total available credit will increase your credit utilization ratio, and a higher credit utilization ratio can lower your credit score. If the card you cancel is older than your other cards, the average age of your accounts will decrease, which is another negative factor for your credit score.

Steps to take when you cancel a credit card

Pay off your balance first. Canceling your card doesn’t erase any outstanding balances, accrued interest or fees, so be sure to take care of your debt first. If you close it before you have paid off your balance, you will need to continue making payments.

Use any remaining rewards prior to canceling your card. If you don’t want to miss out on accrued points or cash back rewards, redeem them prior to canceling.

Notify other cardholders that you intend to close the account. If your spouse or other family members are authorized users on your account, be sure to let them know that you plan to close or cancel the card.

Request cancellation. Contact your credit card company’s customer service department by calling the number on the back of your card, and let them know you want to cancel your card.

Destroy your card. It’s always a good security practice to shred or cut up your card before you throw it away.

Check your credit after canceling your card

Get a copy of your credit report. Get a copy of your credit report. Approximately one month after you have canceled your card, you can access your credit report to confirm that the canceled card information is reflected accurately.

Your account will remain on your credit report. Although your account will show as closed, it will remain on your credit report for a number of years.

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