How Cancelling A Credit Card Hurts Your Credit Score

Credit cards can be an effective tool for managing personal finances, but there may come a time when one might consider cancelling a card. While it might seem like a straightforward decision, it’s essential to understand how this could affect your credit score. Thus, today in this post, we’ll explore how cancelling a credit card might impact your credit score.

So, Let’s get started.

Understanding Credit Scores

A credit score is a numerical expression derived from an individual’s credit files, indicating the person’s creditworthiness. Credit scores are influenced by several factors:

  • Payment history: Timely debt repayments improve your score, while late payments decrease it.
  • Credit Utilization: It refers to how much of your available credit you’re using. Lower utilization is better for your score.
  • Length of credit history: A longer history generally increases your score.
  • Types of credit: The variety of credit (credit cards, auto loans, etc.) can affect your score.
  • New credit: Applying for many new lines of credit could harm your score.

In the United States, credit scores are reported by three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Each of these companies has a unique scoring model that is based on information in their files on you. The models vary somewhat, but generally speaking, they look at similar factors as well as ones specific to your situation.

Consequences of Cancelling a Credit Card on Your Score

Cancelling a credit card affects your credit score predominantly through changes in your credit utilization ratio and the length of your credit history.

Let’s say you cancel a credit card with a high limit that you’ve seldom used; this action can increase your credit utilization ratio if you have balances on other cards, which can lower your score. Similarly, if the cancelled card was one of your oldest, it could reduce the average age of your accounts, again potentially decreasing your score.

Things to Consider Before Cancelling a Credit Card

Before you cancel a card, think about these issues:

  • The age of the card: Is it one of your oldest accounts? If so, you may want to keep it open. The age of the account is a major factor in determining your credit score, so if you cancel an old card, you could lose points.
  • Your credit utilization ratio: If all your accounts have balances on them and you have no other options for lowering this ratio (such as by closing another card or getting a loan), then cancelling the credit card might be worth considering. However, if you can decrease your balance or pay off some debt with another card that’s been sitting around unused—or open an installment loan with a low interest rate and make monthly payments against it—then cancelling your expensive card may not help much after all.
  • The credit limit of the card: Does it make up a significant portion of your overall credit limit? If so, then you might be better off keeping the card open and using it sparingly. This will help you maintain your overall credit limit and keep it from decreasing as a result of cancelling this card. The interest rate on the card: If it’s high, then definitely consider cancelling if you can’t pay down your balance quickly.
  • The card’s balance: Can you pay it off completely before cancelling? If not, then it may be better to keep the card open because you’ll still have a debt on your books. Cancelling can hurt your credit score and make it more difficult to get new lines of credit in the future.
  • Other factors: Consider also the annual fee, customer service quality, and other benefits the card may have offered.

Tips on How to Cancel a Credit Card Without Damaging Your Credit Score

If you decide cancellation is the best course, you can follow these strategies to minimize negative impacts:

  • Pay off your balances: Clear pending dues on the card you want to cancel. This will help your credit score by reducing the amount of debt on your books.
  • Gradually reduce your credit utilization: You can request a credit limit increase on your other cards or pay off balances on other cards before cancelling. This will help you reduce your overall credit utilization and improve your score.
  • Change other cards: If possible, get a card with a different bank, which will show on your report as a new account, rather than cancelling an existing one. This way you can keep the account open without affecting your score.
  • Preserve older cards: Try to keep your oldest credit card account open, as it’s significant to your credit score calculation.

Alternative Solutions

You might consider alternatives to outright cancellation, such as reducing your credit card usage or downgrading your card to one with lower fees. For example, if you’re paying a $100 annual fee and are only using the card once every two months, you might consider downgrading it to a no-fee version that has lower limits on purchases and balance transfers. This way, you can preserve your credit history while reducing fees You can also find a new card with no annual fee.

If you have excellent credit, you should be able to qualify for one with a lower interest rate than your current card, which would save you money on any balance transfers or purchases made during the introductory period.

If you are still determined to cancel your credit card account, there are several options. You can request a paper termination form from the issuer; this is typically free and will take about two weeks.

Alternatively, you can go online and fill out an electronic termination form. This will expedite the process but may cost anywhere from $5-$10. If you have a balance on your card, be sure to pay it off before canceling. This will prevent any interest charges from accruing while the account is closed.


Cancelling a credit card can impact your credit score. To protect your financial health, it’s essential to understand how your score is calculated and steps you can take to mitigate potential negative effects.

Have you cancelled a credit card recently? Did you notice a significant change in your credit score? Engage with us, tell us your experiences, and share your tips for maintaining a good credit score despite cancelled cards. Remember, together we learn and grow.

Turn to for honest, reliable, and in-depth financial reviews and advice. Your financial health is our priority.

Similar Posts