The Do’s and Don’ts of Closing Old Accounts

We generally make money when you get a product (like a credit card or loan) through our platform, but we don’t let that cloud our editorial opinions. Learn more about how we keep this compensation from affecting our editorial views.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Closing Old Accounts

Closing old and unused credit accounts can help you avoid unnecessary fees and guard against identity theft. However, it can also cause your credit score to drop if you aren't careful. Here are a few do's and don'ts for closing those dormant accounts:

Do...

  • Consider closing unused cards that are costing you money. If your card has an extraordinarily high interest rate or an abundance of fees, and your provider isn't willing to lower your rate or waive some fees, you may want to consider closing the card - especially if you don't use it.
  • Be aware that you can usually cancel accounts that have an active balance by asking your creditor to close the account to new charges while you continue to pay down the balance each month. This may be a good way for heavy credit users to prevent new spending while they are reducing their balances. However, watch out for additional fees.
  • Aim to keep some accounts open. This is generally recommended to keep your credit score and debt balances healthy. Signs of active and responsible credit use are viewed positively by creditors.
  • Remember to check your credit reports for updates and errors after you close accounts. You should generally wait 30 to 60 days for the creditor and credit bureaus to update your records. While the accounts and their payment histories may stay on your report for seven or more years, the status should be updated to reflect that they are closed.


Don't...

  • Close the oldest account on your credit reports. This could cause your credit history to appear shorter, which may harm your credit score.
  • Just throw away old cards and expect your accounts to close automatically. The safest way to close an account is to send a certified letter to the customer service department of the creditor. Typically, you should receive an account closing confirmation letter in 10 days.
  • Be pressured to cancel several accounts all at once. If you want to cancel numerous credit accounts, spacing the closures over time could reduce the chance of attracting negative suspicion from potential creditors.
  • Over-consolidate balances onto one card. A good rule of thumb is to keep your credit balances under 30 percent of your available limits if possible.

If you have any more questions, head over to our Community, where you can ask other Credit Karma members about various financial topics.

Editorial Note: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. While compensation may affect which companies we write about and products we review, our marketing partners don't review, approve or endorse our editorial content. Our content is accurate (to the best of our knowledge) when we initially post it, but we don't guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. You can visit the company's website to get complete details about a product. See an error in an article? Use this form to report it to our editorial team. For questions about your Credit Karma account, please submit a help request to our support team.

Advertiser Disclosure: We think it's important for you to understand how we make money. It's pretty simple, actually. The offers for financial products you see on our platform come from companies who pay us. The money we make helps us give you access to free credit scores and reports and helps us create our other great tools and educational materials.

Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform (and in what order). But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you. That's why we provide features like your Approval Odds and savings estimates.

Of course, the offers on our platform don't represent all financial products out there, but our goal is to show you as many great options as we can.

All Comments

Results 251-260 of 690Results per page: 5 | 10 | 25Page 26 of 69   Previous | Next
2 Contributions
0 People Helped

I was just turned down with a bank for a low interest cc. My score is 790. Their reason was too much available credit. I have several old and unused accounts, but have heard that to close them would hurt my score. I call the bank credit dept.but all they could say was well that's the way they do it. I was trying to replace my only cc that I use regulary because the co, is doubling the rate. This does not seem fair for someone who pays their bills. Any sugestions?

With a 790, you should have a long credit history. Closing a line or two should really matter. With that said, it is really rare to be declined for too much credit. Which card did you apply for?

Review by
CK Moderator

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

If I closed my college credit card thinking it was better to tie up loose ends, is it possible to open it back up? I wouldn't want the card, (the terms are terrible) but should I want the history? I have 2 cards with much better terms now.

You could always call up the issuer and ask. Make sure they understand you want to re-open an existing card and not apply for a new one.

Review by
CK Moderator

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

Would it be wise to take out a loan to consolidate an old loan and payoff 2 line of credit cards. How would this affect my score.

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

My bank recently raised the interest rate on my CC. I think this is unfair, as I have always maintained a low balance on the card, always made more then the minimum payment on the card and I recently paid the entire balance off. What gives them the right to increase my interest rate? Suffice it to say I no longer plan to use this card in future. Sadly, I cannot close this account as it is my oldest card. And I do have a relatively short credit history just 5 years.

2 Contributions
0 People Helped

I recently closed 2 cc's after they raised rates had both cards for years was never late and paid more than minimum payments. I'm now paying a fee for closing those cards. How do I negotiate with them when they are just down right rude over the phone.

What do you mean you are paying a fee to close the accounts?

Review by
CK Moderator

3 Contributions
1 Person Helped

Good article, it did clarify some things for me. Now I have silly question. Are you reporting anywhere that I asked you what my credit score is? Is this going to hurt my credit score?

Using Credit Karma or checking your own score for your own use does not lower your score.

Review by
CK Moderator

2 Contributions
0 People Helped

In paying off debt, what would be the best way in order to increase my credit score. I know that I would like to pay the highest interest cards first. Is it best to pay them down one by one to 50% and then all to 35% or pay them down one by one to 35%.

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

I'm 24 and in order to help build credit have a few cards that are joint accounts with my mom. All but one of the accounts has a balance of $0 and haven't been used in a while. I keep them on there because they help my credit score. However, I just looked at one of my reports and found that one of the cards that I have is nearly maxed out by my mom. I very rarely use the card, mainly for Christmas flights home and car service, so the balance is not primarily mine but is severely affecting my score. Is there any way that I can take the card completely off of my account? And if I do, will there be serious repercussions on my score? The card was only added in my name in 2006, so it's not very old.I told my mom, but she didn't seem very concerned so I don't think she's going to try to pay it down too quickly at this point.

If it is on your credit report, it will affect your credit score. Aside from closing the account, there is no easy way to remove the trade line from your credit report. Even if you close the account, the balance will remain on your report until it is paid off. This is one of the hazards of allow others to use your credit.

Review by
CK Moderator

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

some people stole my cc information and used it a few times in another state I saw that in statement and called  bank, thay canceled my card which was a one of my old credit card then send me new one when Ilooked at my credit report history of my credit score went down to fair instead of good.Is there any way to avoid that .

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

My ex wife is still using my last name. And puting bills in my name, and not paying them, it shouldn't go against my credit score. michael miller

Reply by
borntohelp

2 Contributions
0 People Helped

if you are divorced and she took back her maiden name, then using your name may be illegal since you are not married and she can possibly get into trouble for fraud. I would check with your local states attorney to discuss what is legal for your state to ensure that this is accurate because some state laws are different than others. It may also be classified as identity theft by your state as well.

Results 251-260 of 690Results per page: 5 | 10 | 25Page 26 of 69   Previous | Next

Your Credit Scores Should Be Free. And Now They Are.

View your scores and reports anytime.

SIGN UP NOW

Comment on this Article

Write your comment:
Enter Your Comments