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The Right Way To Close a Credit Card

Close Your Credit Card the Correct Way

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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 no longer wish to have 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. (See Five Credit Cards You Should Never Close). 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

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 balance to worry about. You can close a credit card even if you still have a balance, but your credit score may suffer. And, you'll still have to make regular monthly payments (at least the minimum) until you've paid off the balance.

Contact Customer Service

Call your credit card's customer service using the phone number on the back of your credit card. Tell the representative 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. 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 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. 

Check Your Credit Report

Review your credit report to make sure the credit card is reported as closed. It won't necessarily hurt your credit score if it's not reported as closed, but you want your credit report to be accurate about the status of your accounts.

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