You may have heard that canceling your credit cards can impact your credit score as much as leaving it open. While closing an account can have a negative effect, it doesn’t always have to be that way — especially when you do it the right way.
Because that’s the thing — there is a right way to cancel a credit card (Hint: it’s not cutting it up and throwing it in the trash).
Whatever your reason for wanting to cancel your card, make sure you follow these tips from ThePennyHoarder.com. They’ll make sure you do it right, so your credit doesn’t take a hit.
Determine If Closing Your Account Will Affect Your Score
It may come as a surprise that closing your credit card account isn’t always the best move. While it does minimize the risk that you could wind up in debt, it also comes with a few repercussions that could impact your credit rating.
So before you cancel your card, ask yourself:
- Are there any negative records on your credit report (missed payments, etc.) that you should resolve before closing your account?
- Would closing your account put your credit utilization ratio above 30%?
- How much would canceling your card shorten your average credit history?
All of these can help you determine if closing your account is the right decision.
Pay Off Your Balance
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could cancel your debt when you canceled your credit card? Sadly, it doesn’t work like that. So before you can close your account, you need to get your balance to zero.
Additionally, you should ensure the credit card in question isn’t connected to other accounts, particularly ones set up for automatic bill pay. Find a different way to cover these charges and focus on paying down that balance.
If you can’t afford to pay your balance completely, debt consolidation could help you manage your payments and save a considerable amount on interest. There are many places online that can help, including a company called AmOne.
AmOne helps borrowers who owe less than $50,000 to credit card providers. They will find a personal loan to pay off your debt, leaving you with just one monthly payment. Best of all, most loans have a significantly lower interest rate than credit cards, making it easier to get out of debt.
Redeem Your Rewards
While it’s true that traveling during the pandemic may be the last thing on your mind, that doesn’t mean you can’t plan a future trip with your rewards. Right now, most airlines and hotels are lifting change fees, so if you make your reservations now, you won’t get charged if you change your plans.
But if you don’t intend to travel any time soon, some credit cards have programs for cash back and even gift cards. Just keep in mind you may not get as much value from these rewards as you would when you redeem them for travel. But don’t let that stop you from taking advantage of your benefits! These points can go a long way to help repay other credit cards or indulge in a special treat.
Canceling your credit card before you cash out all of the rewards you’ve earned is basically throwing away free money. Don’t let these benefits go to waste!
Reach Out To Customer Service And Close Your Account
Like any company, your credit card provider doesn’t want to lose you as a customer. When you call to cancel your card, they may try to dissuade you with extra benefits or eliminating your annual fee. However, if you’re determined to close your account, don’t let them bully you into making a choice you don’t want to make.
When you call, get a record in writing stating that the company canceled your card and you paid it off in full. Doing so ensures that you don’t get hit with future interest payments and protect your credit score.
Review Your Credit Report
Even if you get it in writing, you should still check your credit report about one month after you cancel your card. That way, you will know for sure that your account is closed and there are no mistakes that could affect you in the future. After that, you will be free to toss, snip, or shred your card!
- The Penny Hoarder Staff. “Ready to Cut up Your Credit Cards? See If You Should – And How to Do It Right.” The Penny Hoarder, The Penny Hoarder, 11 Sept. 2020, www.thepennyhoarder.com/credit-scores/cutting-up-credit-cards-the-right-way/?aff_sub2=homepage.