There are several reasons you may want to cancel a credit card account: you may feel you have too many cards, you’ve paid it off and don’t ever use it, or you’ve found better rates and terms somewhere else. Whatever your reason may be, there is a right way to close your account that does not lead to any damage to your credit report.
First, plan on paying off your balance before you cancel your credit card. You may do this by paying the balance or by transferring the balance to another card.
Once this is done, call the issuer by phone to confirm that your balance is zero. Notify the customer service representative that you are closing your account. You will also need to obtain the address to send a written confirmation that you are canceling your card.
Your letter to the credit issuer should state that you are closing your account and should request that this information be sent to the credit bureaus to include on your credit report. Don’t forget to include your name, address, and account number in your letter. For added protection, send your letter by certified mail or return receipt requested so that you can prove your letter was received.
Closing your account can take up to 30 days. Once that month is over, get a copy of your credit report. There should be a notation stating, “Closed at customer’s request.” If the report simply states that the issuer closed your account, you will want to request that information be corrected, as that misstatement can negatively affect your credit report. To correct this error, you will most likely have to start again at the beginning of the process by contacting the credit card company and requesting to close your account and report the information to the credit report agencies.
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