Capital One offers a great lineup of rewards credit cards for every type of user. Whether you need a travel card, business card or even a secured card, there’s most likely a suitable Capital One credit card option for you.

And while there is a variety of Capital One cards to choose from and apply to, what happens if your needs change? Over time, the original credit card account you opened may no longer suit you. For instance, you may start a new career that requires a lot of travel. Then, you may decide it’s time to close your current rewards card and opt for a travel credit card instead.

Closing an account may seem risky or troublesome because it could affect your credit, but it generally depends on your specific credit factors and the account. Being as informed as possible will help you make the right decision.

How to close a Capital One credit card account

Before you start taking the necessary steps to close your Capital One account, it’s recommended that you first pay off any outstanding balance. This is to avoid the possibility of Capital One raising your interest rate or even demanding immediate payment of the balance. You can close the credit card regardless, but you will still be responsible for any subsequent monthly payments. Whenever you’re ready, you have two main options for how to start the process.

Can you cancel a Capital One account online?

Yes, you can cancel a Capital One account online. Capital One members are able to close their accounts online from the website, but not via the Capital One mobile app. After logging into your account on a browser, find the card you want to close and hit “View Account.” On the account page, click “I want to…” and select the “Close Account” option. Then, continue on with the given instructions to close your account.

If you would prefer to cancel by phone, you can do so by calling 1-800-227-4825. Be prepared with any information you may need to provide to the Capital One representative who answers your call. They may require the last four digits of your social security number, your account number and the full number of the credit card you’re looking to close. This is also where a representative may offer you certain incentives or perks to keep your account open.

You can also do this process by mail; write a letter to Capital One that says you would like to close your account and include your full credit card number, the account number and your signature. You can send the letter to the following address:

Attn: General Correspondence

Capital One

PO Box 30285

Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0287

What to do after closing your Capital One credit card account

After you’ve closed your account, you should be prepared for a few things. Firstly, you will still be responsible for any outstanding balance on the card, including any charges made beforehand that haven’t yet been posted to the account. So, you are still required to pay all minimum monthly payments until the balance reaches zero. Additionally, you’ll need to cancel any automatic payments or previously authorized recurring charges coming from that card. Continue checking on the account and your statements to be sure you aren’t missing any required payments.

Alternatives to closing a Capital One credit card account

You have your reasons for wanting to close a Capital One account, but perhaps that isn’t the only solution. Depending on what your needs are, there may be another helpful option besides canceling the credit card.

Request a product change

Many credit card issuers give customers the option to actually change their card without closing their account. Capital One has a wide assortment of cards, so a different one may meet your needs better than your current one. A product change allows you to upgrade or downgrade to a similar card. For instance, if you have a cash back credit card from Capital One that charges an annual fee, you’ll likely be able to downgrade to a no-annual-fee version of the card. Contact Capital One to discuss what specific cards may be good options for you to select.

Lock your card

Capital One gives members the option to “lock” their cards so they can’t be used until they are “unlocked.” So, if you have a no annual fee credit card, you can pay off any remaining balance, lock the card and put it away in a drawer for the time being. If the card is positively impacting your credit by lengthening your credit history and lowering your credit utilization ratio, then this may be a good option. If you choose to lock your card, you’ll also be notified of any unauthorized account activity.

Closing a Capital One credit card: FAQ

The process of closing your account is fairly straightforward, but it’s best to have all the facts before you begin.

Does closing a Capital One credit card affect your credit score?

Closing a credit card account may impact your credit score depending on certain factors. If the unused balance on the account is greatly improving your credit utilization ratio, closing the account could negatively impact your score. Be sure to look at your full credit report to determine the chances of your score being affected.

Closing an account may also cause your credit score to drop temporarily regardless of its actual impact, so don’t panic if you weren’t expecting any changes and then see a sudden decrease.

Can you reopen a closed Capital One credit card?

In most cases, once an account has been closed, it is a permanent move. It’s very rare for Capital One to be able to reopen an account once it has closed.

What happens to the rewards when you close a Capital One credit card?

It’s not likely that you will be able to use any rewards accumulated on the account once it’s closed, so it’s recommended that you use up any remaining rewards or points beforehand.

The bottom line

If you’re thinking about closing a Capital One account, really consider what is motivating you to do so. Another option, such as a product change, locking the card or taking advantage of incentives to keep the account might be a better option.

If you decide to cancel your Capital One account, make sure you complete all the necessary steps and are fully informed. Also, keep in mind that you won’t get a partial refund of the card’s annual fee just because it wasn’t used for that full year.

Once you’ve closed the account, take a look at today’s best credit cards for an option that might better fit your needs.