credit cards

How do I: Close a credit card account?

Topic: Credit Cards
Who is affected: CONSUMERS AT EVERY STAGE OF LIFE
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: Moderate
What you'll need: Credit card account number, telephone

What you need to know

Whatever your reasons for closing a credit card account, there are a few things to remember as you begin the process.

First, consider the effect that closing an account could have on your credit score. The credit history of a closed account will be removed from your credit report in 10 years, so it won't have a great impact unless it's your oldest account and all of your other credit is fairly new.

When you've made up your mind to jump ship, notify your issuer by phone. Keep a record of all communication. Your creditor will likely want to keep your business and bring a counteroffer to the table. If you don't like it, press on.

Your next step is to put your intentions in writing. Afterward, wait 30 days for your request to be processed.

After waiting patiently, check your credit report. It should be noted that your account was closed "by cardholder request" rather than "by creditor request." Who closed the account does not affect the impact to the credit score, however, future creditors when looking at the credit report might not like seeing accounts closed by the credit grantor.

Here are the steps to closing your credit card account:

  • Notify your card issuer by phone.
  • Follow up by notifying the card issuer in writing.
  • Get a copy of your credit report and make sure it's accurate.
  • Repeat, if necessary.
Step-by-step
It's important to notify your creditor of your intentions in writing. Use our form letter as a template.
A written request to close an account should include the following:
1.Name and address.
2.Account number.
3.Request to close account.
4.Request that the creditor inform the credit bureaus that the account was "closed at request of cardholder," not at the request of the card company.
5.Request that you received mailed confirmation of the closure.
An example can be seen here

 

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