Is it possible to close a credit card with a balance?
Yes. Some creditors require you to pay off your balance before closing your account but generally you can close your credit card at any time, even if you still have a balance. Closing your card doesn’t make your balance disappear. You’re still liable for the outstanding balance and you’ll receive a notification from your bank requesting payment.
Your leftover balance will still accrue interest based on your card terms. You’ll want to pay this off as soon as possible – ideally before you close the card in the first place.
See if your bank allows closures despite a balance
Here are the phone numbers of the Big 5 Banks you can call to close your account and verify you can do so with a remaining balance.
Contact number to close your card
1 (800) 983-8472
1 (800) 465-4653
1 (800) 769-2512
1 (800) 387-6466
1 (800) 263-2263
How to close a credit card with a balance
Closing a card with a balance isn’t terribly different from closing a card without a balance. This process may slightly vary from provider to provider, but here’s how to close your card:
Call the number on the back of your credit card.
Speak with a representative and let them know you want to close your card account.
Confirm your personal information, including your name, phone number and address.
The representative should guide you through the rest of the process. It’s here that you’ll likely discuss the matter of payment.
Make sure you cancel any pre-authorized payments linked to the card
Check your final credit card statement to verify there are no additional charges
Check your credit report after 30 days to verify that your account has been closed
Will closing a credit card impact my credit score?
Yes, you can expect your credit score to take a small hit after closing your account. This is because closing a card account negatively impacts your credit utilization ratio and your credit history — two factors used to calculate your credit score. There longer you hold an open account in good standing, the better it is for your credit score. That’s why it’s often more beneficial to simply leave a card account open, even if you’re not using it.
If you don’t want to risk using or losing the card, or if the card has an annual fee, you might consider closing it.
Compare balance transfer cards
If you want to close your credit card account but you still have a balance, consider applying for a balance transfer card. A balance transfer card can let you move your old debt onto a new account with an interest-free period. This will let you repay your debt over time without worrying about interest.
Is it better to close a credit card with zero balance?
You can expect a similar impact on your credit score when you close your credit card with or without a balance. Consider closing the card early if you’re worried that you might keep using the credit card when you’re trying to pay off the balance. On the other hand, closing the card after you’re down to zero balance ensures you never have to think about that card account again.
You’re free to close your credit card, even when it has an outstanding balance. Just make sure you have a plan to repay that balance. Consider looking at balance transfer credit cards to pay off that balance interest-free while you close your old card account.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. You’ll still need to pay your balance in accordance with your card’s terms and conditions.
It depends on the issuer. Some banks allow you to reopen your card account within a certain time period. Contact your lender for more details.
Steven Dashiell is a credit cards writer at Finder. He's worked on 250 Finder articles and counting, helping readers embrace and maximize credit cards. Backed by nearly a decade of research and reporting experience, Steve's work can be seen on Debt.com, CreditCards.com and Lifehacker.
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