So you want to cancel a credit card, but you’re worried that it will damage your credit score. FICO, the company that calculates your score, recently explained that the main thing to be concerned with before canceling a card is your credit utilization ratio. This is basically how much credit you’re using compared to how much credit is available to you–the higher the ratio, the more it negatively affects your credit. So if you’re looking to close an account without hurting your score, you need to have zero balances on all of the cards that you want to keep before canceling an account. That way, your credit utilization ratio doesn’t change because it’s still zero. Don’t worry about a canceled card shortening your credit history–FICO recently explained that that’s a myth. So, assuming that all of the credit cards that you want to keep have a zero balance, here are 5 steps for canceling a credit card:
- Pay the balance in full
- Because interest may have still be accumulating, call and confirm that the card has a zero balance.
- After confirming that you really have a zero balance, call and cancel the account.
- Send a letter confirming that your account is closed.
- Because it often takes awhile for the credit card company to update your credit report, wait 60 days, then use the free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com to confirm that the account is closed.
How To Cancel A Credit Card Without Hurting Your Credit Score | The Consumerist | April 5, 2010