Credit Cards

How to cancel your credit card without harming your credit score

If you're looking to cancel your credit card, make sure you do it the right way - or you could damage your credit score. Here's how to cancel a credit card without hurting your credit.


Learn how to cancel your card properly to avoid damage to your current rating

There is a better way to cancel your credit card to avoid damaging your credit score. Source: Freepik.

It’s not uncommon to cancel a credit card. Maybe you’re trying to reduce the number of cards you have. Or maybe you’re unhappy with the card’s terms or rewards program.

Whatever the reason, if you cancel your credit card, it’s important to do so in a way that won’t hurt your credit score.

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Canceling a credit card takes much more than cutting it in half and tossing it away. The reason it can impact your current score is that it affects your credit utilization.

Plus, it puts a little dent in your credit history as well. However, there are smart and easy ways to cancel your credit card without plummeting your score into the abyss.

In this article, we’ll show you how to cancel your credit card while minimizing the damage. Keep reading to learn how to do so and if canceling the plastic is really the best alternative for your finances. 

Why canceling a card affects your credit score

asian girl looking at credit card thinking
Learn how canceling a credit card will impact your credit score. Source: Freepik.

There are two important factors that help determine your credit score: your credit utilization rate and your credit history. When you cancel your credit card, the issuer will report the account as closed to the credit bureaus.

This can have a negative impact on your credit score because it will reduce the average length of your credit history.

Additionally, cancelation may also cause your credit utilization ratio to increase, which could lead to a further decrease in your score. See the content below for more details.

Canceling a card changes your credit history

Generally speaking, canceling a credit card will shorten your credit history. This is because credit history is calculated based on the average age of all your open credit accounts.

So, if you cancel an older credit card, it will bring down the average age of your accounts, which could have a negative impact on your credit score.

Of course, there are other factors that come into play when it comes to your credit score, so canceling a credit card may not have as big of an impact as you think.

If you have a good payment history and keep your balances low, you should still be in good shape.

Canceling a card might increase your credit utilization

When you cancel a credit card, the credit limit on that card is removed from your overall credit limit. This can cause your credit utilization ratio to increase because your total credit limit is now lower.

A higher credit utilization ratio can negatively impact your credit score because it gives lenders the impression that you’re more likely to max out your credit cards.

That’s why it’s important to consider the potential consequences of canceling a credit card before you do so.

When should you consider canceling your card?

Confused young woman having problem with blocked credit card making rejected unsecure online payment using laptop at home, invalid expired account, transaction failed, money withdraw impossible, debt
Is it time for you to cancel your credit card? Source: Adobe Stock.

If you’re thinking about canceling your credit card, there are a few things you should take into account. First, consider whether or not you’re using the card regularly.

If you’re not using it often, it may not be worth keeping it open. Second, think about whether or not you’re comfortable with the spending limit on the card.

If you’re close to maxing out your credit limit, it may be time to cancel. Third, consider the annual fee. If the annual fee is high and you’re not using the card often, it may make more financial sense to cancel it.

Finally, think about your overall financial goals. If you’re trying to save money, canceling your credit card could be a helpful step. By eliminating the temptation to spend, you can focus on paying down your debt and building up your savings.

So how can you cancel your credit card correctly?

Canceling a credit card may seem like a straightforward process, but there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that it is done correctly. To do so in a proper manner, follow the steps listed below.

Pay your balance in full

The first thing you should do in order to cancel your credit card is to pay down your balance in full. Many card companies will only accept cancellation once their client’s balance is brought down to zero.

Redeem all earned rewards

Before you go ahead and close your account, make sure you redeem all the rewards you’ve earned with it. Some cards allow you to transfer points to other programs.

Others won’t have a minimum redemption value, so you can ask for a direct deposit. 

Call your credit card company

You’ll need to contact your card issuer and let them know that you’d like to cancel your card. They may ask you for a reason why you’re canceling, so it’s important to have an explanation ready.

Once you’ve spoken with customer service, they’ll likely give you specific instructions on how to proceed. Make sure to follow those instructions carefully so that there are no miscommunications.

Send in a letter confirming the cancelation

It’s generally a good idea to send a credit card company a letter of cancelation when you decide doing it.

This helps to ensure that your credit card is actually canceled and that you won’t be charged any additional fees.

It’s also a good way to protect yourself from identity theft or fraud.

Dispose of your card safely

It’s important to safely dispose of your credit card after you cancel it for a few reasons. First, if someone finds your credit card and uses it, you could be held responsible for the charges.

Second, if your credit card information falls into the wrong hands, it could be used to commit identity theft. 

There are a few ways to dispose of your credit card safely. One option is to shred the card into small pieces.

Another option is to cut the card up so that the account number and expiration date are no longer visible. Or, you can return the card to the credit card company by mail.

Whichever method you choose, make sure you take extra care to safeguard your personal information.

Is canceling your credit card a good idea?

There are some benefits to canceling a credit card. For one thing, it can help you save money if you’re someone who tends to overspend when using plastic.

Canceling a card can also help simplify your finances if you have multiple cards and find it difficult to keep track of all your payments.

On the other hand, it can hurt your credit score. This is because credit scores are partially based on your credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of credit you’re using compared to the amount of credit you have available.

Ultimately, whether or not canceling it is a good idea depends on your individual circumstances.

If you’re carrying a balance on the card or if you’re trying to improve your credit score, it might be best to keep the card open.

However, if you’re struggling with debt or simply want to simplify your finances, canceling might be the right move for you.

How to use credit cards?

If you’re unsure about whether or not you should cancel your credit card, this next post might help. In it, we’ll show you the best possible way you can use your plastic to keep your finances healthy.

Follow the link below to learn more!

pile of plastic credit cards lies on wooden table, selective focus, top view

How to use credit cards

Learn how to use credit cards the best possible way, keep and improve your financial health.

About the author  /  Aline Barbosa

Aline Barbosa is an editor, writer and learning-enthusiast. Passionate about music, books and human behavior. Curious about the unknown. Believer that learning is a life-long process.

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