How To Cancel Your Credit Cards


Sometimes, while getting out of debt, we do things that we think are right but end up costing us in the long run. One such incident is canceling our credit cards.

For some reason, we believe canceling the cards will prevent us from spending more money and get us out of debt faster because we won’t have the option to use them.

While that may hold, you must consider a couple of things before you cancel those credit cards.

Before You Cancel Know This

First, if you cancel your card with a balance, the credit bureaus will see this as more debt and less credit, cutting down your credit score.  What happens is you are, in essence, increasing your debt-to-credit ratio.  If you don’t know what this is, know it is just one factor in your credit report.  

Second, closing out too many accounts at once can also greatly affect your score. There is a specific way to close your credit card accounts, and if you get it wrong, you may end up paying for it. Follow the steps below, and you shouldn’t have any problems.

How To Cancel Your Credit Cards

1. Pay Off The Balance First.

Before you close any card, make sure your full balance is paid. This will ensure that your credit score is not affected.

If you’re unsure, call your credit card company or look it up online. They will assist you in finding your balance.

If you have any rewards left on the card, you’ll want to cash them out or use them.

2. Cancel Your Newest Card First

  You want to start with your newest card once the balance has been paid in full.  Why that card? 

Because cards with a shorter history have less effect on your credit score, a credit card you may have had for several years will significantly affect your score. 

3. Cancel Your Next Card 6 Months To A Year Later

Once you’ve canceled your first card, I want you to wait at least six months to cancel your next card.  Again, the next card you should cancel is the newest one. 

So why wait six months to a year? Cancelling too much credit at one time will hurt your score. 

4. Keep Some Credit

I also recommend not canceling all of your cards. It’s always good to have some active credit, which will help you boost your credit score.

Keep at least one card open and use it occasionally. A good card to use is a gas card.

For example, I have a Marathon Master Card, which I use to get gas. This way, I get great rebates on my gas and also build up my credit score at the same time.

Final Thoughts

Do you have any tips you would like to share on canceling credit cards?  If so, leave a comment here and let us know.



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  1. Mike,
    Thanks for the comment. If you have any questions feel free to comment or email me.


  2. Some pretty good points there. How does this work for Canadians?

    I heard that just stopping using your credit cards and not renewing them was acceptable way to go. With a zero balance of course. I just got an new cards for credit card that I haven’t used in ages and wasn’t going to activate them. Do you see any problems with this? I don’t need more credit than what I’m using already

  3. That’s a great question Darren. To tell you the truth I not sure what the Canadian regulations are. However I believe you will be better off with less credit since you said you really don’t need it anyways. I’ve considered getting a new credit card myself recently but I don’t want to have anymore than 2 cards because it always seems the more credit I have available the more I spend. That’s not saying your situation is the same but it’s just what I’ve noticed.

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