There is good and bad news for anyone who wants to close a credit card with a balance. First, the good news. You can close your credit card even if it still has a balance. The credit card company does not require you to pay off your balance before closing the card.
In some cases, closing a credit card can be helpful. For example, if a credit card issuer raises your interest rate, you might close your credit card to rule out a higher interest rate.
A 45 day notice will give you time to pay off your balance or transfer it to another credit card instead of closing the card while it is still in balance.
How your credit score will be affected
Now for the bad news. Closing a credit card rarely helps your credit, whether your account has a positive or negative history. After you close your credit card, it still logs on to credit bureaus as usual. The only difference is that your card has the status “Closed”. Your monthly payment history is still updated every time you make – or fail to make – your payments.
Closing a credit card with a balance can really hurt your credit score. When your credit score is calculated, it takes into account the amount of your credit card balance against your credit limit. This ratio is known as credit utilization and it is one of the major factors that affect your credit score.
A closed credit card does not have a credit limit, so calculating credit points could penalize you for having a card with a balance and no credit limit.
What happened after the credit card was closed
Once you close your credit card, you will not be able to make purchases on your credit card. And you’re likely to lose any credit card rewards you’ve accumulated.
Remember to make credit card payments after you close your credit card. You are still required to make a monthly minimum payment by the due date. If you are late in payment, you face the same consequences: you face late fees, late notice on your credit report, and an increase in penalties.
Closing your credit card does not relieve you of the monthly interest. Your balance will continue to accrue interest every month until your credit card is fully paid. If you make only the minimum payment on your credit card, it will take longer to pay off your credit card and pay more interest than if you doubled your payments and paid your balance faster.
Waiting Until the card is paid off
You should not allow fear of potential loss of credit points to keep your credit card open. Here’s why. You may need to close your credit card, for example, if you are unable to limit the cost of your credit card and you are looking for debt.
A temporary drop in your credit score is preferable to having a knee deep in debt that you cannot afford. Not only that, losing points that come from closing a credit card with a balance can be offset by the time you pay off. Think about your overall long-term financial health as you decide to close a credit card that has balance.