Building credit is difficult, and making sure to maintain your credit when you want to close a credit card can be a little bit tricky. There are ways to cut ties without losing your good credit status, but you have to be smart about it. One of the reasons why there are three different credit bureaus is because accidents happen, and it’s very unlikely for the same mistake to happen three times. Even still, when you go through the laborious process of closing a credit card, you don’t want to have to spend hours cutting through red tape and scrounging for evidence that the mistake wasn’t made on your part. Here are five helpful tips for closing a credit card.
- Pay off your debt. You definitely don’t want to try and close out a credit card unless you’ve finished paying off all of your debt. If you don’t, this could put a terrible mark on your credit report that could take years to fix. That’s why it’s so important to be sure that there isn’t a balance on the card before you officially close it.
- Be sure to redeem all of your rewards. If your card came with rewards, like frequent flyer miles or cash back bonuses, you’re going to want to cash out on those before you cancel your card. After all, you held up your side of the bargain by using that card, so you should make sure that the credit card company holds up their side of the bargain. Who knows, you may have enough miles to finally take that dream vacation to Hawaii!
- Contact customer service. Just because you’ve paid off all of your bills in full doesn’t mean that your credit card company has already put all of your payments through. You never really know, which is why it’s important to call the customer service hotline on the back of your credit card to ensure that their records reflect all of your payments. If you don’t, it could negatively affect your credit score.
- Write a cancellation letter. According to Finance Globe, in addition to calling customer service, it’s always a good idea to write your credit card company a letter, stating that you have zeroed out your balance and requesting that the account be closed. Be sure to attach a copy of your latest statement to the letter and be sure to make a copy for yourself. When you receive a confirmation letter back, you should make sure to put these documents together and keep them in your personal files.
- Take thorough notes. Whenever you talk to someone from customer service, you want to be sure to take down their name, and if possible, their employee number. Oftentimes, they will give you a case number and/or confirmation number to reference if anything goes wrong. This should also be placed with the rest of your documents should any mistakes be made on your credit report.