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When Do I Cancel and Close Credit Card?

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When do I close credit card? Will it affect my credit score and credit history? Can I close credit right after my bonus arrives? Can I cancel several credit cards at a time? We probably asked these questions before opening new accounts and when the annual fee was approaching. Lets go deep and research all these questions.

So, we have to keep in mind and distinct these credit cards’ factors :

  • credit cards with sign-up bonuses
  • credit cards with annual fee
  • credit cards without annual fee

Since every credit card may be different – it may call different reason as well as pros and cons to close it or leave it.

Do I close credit card with sign-up bonus?And when?

Since this website is about travel and how you can save on it – credit card’s bonuses is the best option for that.

So, you have opened airline credit card, met minimum spending on it and received you reward of miles and points on the account. Shall I close credit card right away?

Do not cancel sign-up bonus credit card right after rewards credit!

Banks may put you on dreaded “black list”, as a customer, who hunts for just rewards.

You may just make small purchases every month, just to keep the card alive.

When to close it? Probably, when you are reaching your annual fee.

Do I close credit card WITH annual fee? And when?

Annual fee is, probably, the main reason, which drives to cancel and close credit card. And that is absolutely right, as nobody wants to pay more.

The best time would be 2-3 months ahead of annual fee posted on your credit card’s account. Or keep account open for at least 6 months.

Though, if you really like the perks of credit card, for example, Chase Sapphire Preferred.

You may call bank specialist and ask to waive the credit fee or just to get some bonus. Once, it happened to me with United Airlines – I called to close a card and representative assured me to stay with this card: I was waived $95 annual fee and was sent 2 airport lounges passes (which is at least $50 worth each).

Do I close credit card without annual fee? And when?

When? Just anytime! As you are NOT pressed with obligation of paying extra money out of your pocket. But in this case, the better question would be: Do I really want to close credit card without annual fee?

The older credit – the better for your credit history!

As we know, from credit history formation 15% comes from the length of credit history or credit age. Basically, the longer credit card card you have — the higher your FICO® Score is.

I would recommend open a non-annual fee Freedom credit card from Chase, which is part of Chase Ultimate Rewards. And just keep it forever! Or some credit card without annual fee and with free credit score report, like credit cards from Capital One.

Will cancelling a credit card reduce my credit score?

It may. Part of your score is based on how much of your available credit you actually us — this is your credit utilization ratio. When you close a card, this ratio jumps because you’re using more of your valuable credit. And when this ratio jumps, your credit score goes down. (Also note that the longer you’ve had an account, the more you’ll affect your credit score by closing it.) And, your credit utilization ratio stands for 30% of your credit score.

Close credit card if you need it to get approved for a new credit card

Sometimes, it may be a turning point for a you to cancel or close credit card, in order to open new credit card. You may have several credit cards with. For example, with Chase, as this bank is best for rewards credit cards. But you may be denied, as a total credit on all accounts may exceed maximum allowances.

It does make sense to call bank representative to a reconsideration phone lines and just ask to cancel one of your credit cards or just decrease credit line(s). More likely the bank specialist will be happy to do so and will be happy to approve for a new credit card.

Last 4 tips:

  1. If you live with a partner – you may cancel your credit card. And open the same credit card on your partner — that is in the case, if you really enjoy the perks of it.

For example, Chase Sapphire Preferred card, where you are not limited with redeeming rewards. My Chase Sapphire Preferred card is about to reach annual fee – of course, I will try to negotiate with bank to waive it. But I have just opened Chase Sapphire Preferred card to my wife, as one of its perks is no foreign transaction fee. And for us, who travel a lot, that is a good point.

2. Consider converting card to a non-fee one. Along with that you may lose some bonuses. Just talk to bank representatives.

3. This tip is, probably , the most interesting for everyone. As we all love sign-up bonuses – which are the moving point to open new credit cards. When can I receive sign-up bonus again? Different banks – have different conditions and terms. That is why, people, who play miles and points game (no matter like it or not) will close credit cards. As times to receive sign-up bonus again is so sweet , but you would need to wait.

Wait times to receive sign-up bonus differ from 12 to 24 months. Usually the counting start from the time you have closed the credit card.

4. Credit score. YOU are responsible for credit score tracking. Check it at least once in 6 months. Keep track of what is going on. Make conclusions after you close credit card. Lots of banks noways offer it now for free without affecting it (credit score).

Or you may benefit from using these websites:

Creditkarma.com – to watch TransUnion credit score and credit report.

CreditSesame.com – to watch Experian credit score and credit report.

Quizzle.com  – to get Equifax credit score and report.

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Image Credits:frankieleon (flickr) used under CC BY 2.0 license / Resized from original.

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