Canceled Credit Cards Effect on Credit Score
Credit cards can be a great tool to help build your credit score when used responsibly. However, there may come a time when you need to cancel a credit card for various reasons, such as a high annual fee, unmanageable debt, or fraudulent activity. But what happens to your credit score when you cancel a credit card? In this article, we will explore the effects of canceled credit cards on your credit score and what you can do to minimize the impact.
Firstly, it’s essential to understand how credit scores are calculated. Credit scores are calculated based on several factors, including payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, credit mix, and new credit. Canceling a credit card can affect two of these factors, amounts owed and length of credit history, which can have a significant impact on your credit score.
The amounts owed factor considers how much credit you’re currently using in comparison to your available credit limit. When you cancel a credit card, your available credit limit decreases, but your current credit balances stay the same. This can cause your credit utilization rate to increase, which can have a negative impact on your credit score. Ideally, you want to keep your credit utilization rate below 30%, meaning you’re using less than 30% of your available credit.
The length of credit history factor considers how long you’ve had credit accounts open. When you cancel a credit card, you’re shortening your credit history. The length of your credit history is calculated by taking the average age of all your credit accounts. Closing an older credit card can decrease the average age of your accounts, which can negatively impact your credit score.
Moreover, if you have a good payment history on the credit card you cancel, it can further negatively affect your credit score. This is because a long and positive payment history reflects well on your credit report, and canceling a credit card with a good payment history erases that positive credit history.
So, what can you do to minimize the impact of canceling a credit card on your credit score? The first thing you should consider is the timing of the cancellation. If you’re planning to apply for a loan or credit in the near future, you may want to hold off on canceling the credit card until after the application process is complete. This will allow you to keep your credit score intact while you’re trying to secure credit.
If you’re canceling a credit card because of a high annual fee, you may want to consider downgrading the card instead of canceling it. Many credit card issuers offer the option to downgrade to a card with no annual fee, allowing you to keep your credit history intact while saving money on fees.
Alternatively, if you have multiple credit cards, you can consider canceling a card with a lower credit limit or a shorter credit history. This way, the impact on your credit utilization rate and credit history will be minimal.
It’s worth noting that not all credit cards are created equal, and canceling a specific card can have a different impact on your credit score than canceling another. For example, canceling a retail credit card may not have as significant an impact on your credit score as canceling a major credit card.
In conclusion, canceling a credit card can have a negative impact on your credit score, particularly in the areas of credit utilization rate and length of credit history. However, with careful planning and consideration, you can minimize the impact on your credit score while still achieving your financial goals. If you’re unsure of the best course of action, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from a financial professional or credit counselor.