Does a balance transfer close my card?

What happens to your card after you transfer a balance?

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After your balance transfer is complete, your old account doesn’t automatically close. In fact, it could still hold a balance depending on the amount you were able to transfer. Despite that, you can still close your credit card with a balance with most card providers.

Work with the provider to take the necessary steps should you want to close the account. Note that this may not always be the best option, however, depending on your financial needs.

Can you close a credit card with a balance?

Yes, in most cases you can close your credit card with a balance. But that doesn’t mean your balance has vanished. You are still liable for the outstanding balance, you just don’t have a card to spend.

If you close your credit card with a balance, try to pay it off as soon as possible. Otherwise, you will accrue interest and depending on the amount, you could end up with piling debt.

How to close a credit card with a balance

The process varies between card providers. But, in general, here’s how it goes:

  1. Call the number on the back of your card.
  2. Request to close your credit card.
  3. Provide customer support with your name, phone number and address.

The customer support representative will guide you from there.

Can you close a credit card with a balance
Bank of America
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American Express
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Capital One
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Chase
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When you do a balance transfer, does it close the account?

No. Your credit card account is still active after a balance transfer. You can proceed to close the account if you don’t need it anymore.

Should you close your account after a balance transfer?

It depends. Closing your account can remove temptation to spend, but it also may impact your credit score.

Here’s what to consider before closing your old account:

  • Can you resist the temptation of spending? If the answer is no, you may want to strongly consider closing the account or looking into ways of removing that temptation.
  • Does the card have an annual fee? An annual fee for a card you’re not using can feel like a waste of money. However, you may want to consider more than just its face value.
  • Are you applying for other credit products? Closing an account can have a negative impact on your credit score. If you’re seeking loans or other credit, you may want to hold off on closing the account until after.
  • Do you want to use the card in the future? Of course, there’s a reason you got the card in the first place. A good cashback rate, a lower APR or unbeatable travel benefits may make it a keeper.

How closing an old account can impact your credit score

Two of the five portions of your FICO credit score are your credit utilization ratio and credit history. Both can be impacted by closing your old account.

The total amount of credit you have versus what you’re currently using makes up your credit utilization ratio. Closing an account lowers the total amount of credit you have and raises the ratio, which can negatively affect your credit.

Similarly, the credit history portion of your score is the average age of your credit accounts. Longer established accounts indicate a good relationship with creditors, and closing an account lowers that average age.

Alternatives to closing your old account after a balance transfer

You don’t necessarily have to close your account to avoid spending more on your old card. Here are three ways to help keep yourself in check:

  1. Budget and stick to it. A good way to avoid spending on credit is to make a detailed budget and adhere to it.
  2. Cut up your card. Make it more difficult to spend from the account.
  3. Delete the card from digital wallets and saved sites. Similar to the last one, this is about making it difficult to spend the funds. It can also help curb midnight impulse buys.

Our pick for a balance transfer card

Citi Simplicity® Card

  • No late fees, no penalty rate, and no annual fee... ever
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 16.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 16.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges
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Compare balance transfer credit cards

%
Name Product Amount saved Balance transfer APR Balance transfer fee Recommended minimum credit score Filter values
Citi Simplicity® Card
0% intro for the first 21 months (then 16.24% to 26.24% variable)
$5 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
670
Enjoy one of the longest intro APRs on balance transfers, no late fees, no penalty rate and no annual fee.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.49% to 25.49% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
670
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 24.99% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
670
The only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.49%, 21.49% or 25.49% variable)
3%
670
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
American Express Cash Magnet® Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.49% to 25.49% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
680
Unlimited 1.5% cash back. Rates & fees

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

To manage a credit card after a balance transfer requires a certain level of dedication and planning. Just getting the debt shifted over won’t be an instant home run, and smart budgeting is crucial to prevent you from falling into the same place you were before the transfer. Also, if you close your credit card with a balance, know that you still have to make payments and accrue interest if you don’t.

Nail down your plan, and if you’re going to use a back-up card make sure to compare your options before securing it.

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10 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    ShaneJuly 2, 2018

    After a balance transfer and the old card is on zero ,hi Adrienne ,can that card be used again with the same limit,,
    Does the balance transfer to the new card add or subtract from the limit
    5000 credit become 8000 or 2000 after a balance transfer of 3000..
    Thankyou for your reply

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoJuly 2, 2018Staff

      Hi Shane!

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      Yes, you can still use your previous credit card (balance transferred to a balance transfer card) and you’d still have the same credit limit unless otherwise changed by your creditor.

      Regarding this question – Does the balance transfer to the new card add or subtract from the limit – This depends on the balance transfer card you choose, as there are banks who offer 80-100% balance transfer limits.

      To paint a better picture, for example, you have a balance of $5000 from an old credit card and you got approved of a 95% balance transfer, you can transfer $4500 to the balance transfer card and the remaining $500 money owed on the old card must be paid in full so you won’t incur other interest.

      To choose and compare balance transfer credit cards, you can go to this page.

      Hope this helps!

      Regards,
      Nikki

  2. Default Gravatar
    isaacFebruary 22, 2018

    Hi, Will conducting a balanced transfer close off my existing card?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RoslynFebruary 23, 2018Staff

      Hi Isaac,

      Thank you for contacting finder.com about balance transfers.

      No, your old card won’t be closed after completing a balance transfer to your new card. You can continue to use your old card until you close your account.

      If you decide to close your old card, keep in mind there might be an impact on your credit score. You might be thinking of closing your old card to avoid paying the annual fee or simplify your monthly bills. But if that’s your oldest credit card or it has a high limit, the hit to your credit utilization ratio and age of credit might lower your credit score.

      You can learn more about the pros and cons of balance transfers. We hope this helps you make an informed decision.

      Cheers,

      Roslyn

  3. Default Gravatar
    JoseFebruary 7, 2018

    What to do with a card after the balance transfer is paid in full, and if the card interest is high and the card has no rewards benefits?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RenchFebruary 20, 2018Staff

      Hi Jose,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      That’s great that you have already paid your balance transfer in full. Whether to use or not your credit card after you’ve settled your account depends entirely on your own decision after considering your overall financial situation.

      If you think that you’d need to close your account, you may so by contacting your bank’s customer care and they’d be happy to assist you.

      Just in case you’re considering to apply for a new card, you can check and compare credit cards with low interest on this page and credit cards with rewards here. Please review the card’s eligibility requirements and its features and consider whether the card/product is right for you.

      Best regards,
      Rench

  4. Default Gravatar
    MelNovember 8, 2017

    Can you cancel a balance transfer card after you’ve paid off the entire balance? Without it affecting credit score.

    • Default Gravatar
      DanielleNovember 8, 2017

      Hi Mel,

      Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      If you’re closing an account with positive account history, positive credit data stays on your credit report for 10 years from when the account is closed. This allows good credit information to stay longer than negative, giving you the change to improve your financial situation. See more information here.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

  5. Default Gravatar
    nadineAugust 30, 2017

    transfer from capital one to chase bank will capital one know about the transfer and close my account

    • Default Gravatar
      LiezlAugust 31, 2017

      Hi Nadine,

      Thanks for your question. Capital One will know about the balance transfer since they will receive the payment from your new credit card. However, a nil balance on your old card will not automatically close your account unless you’ll instruct them to do so. You can read more about credit card balance transfer on this page.

      Kind regards,
      Liezl

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