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How to Close Credit Cards Without Hurting Your Credit

Nicholas Fiorentino August 6, 2018

Canceling a credit card is typically something that is advised against, due to the impact it will have on your Credit Score. This is due to the fact that your available credit will decrease, which is a key metric that is used to calculate your credit utilization ratio.

Another reason to be wary of canceling a credit card is the average length of time each account has been open. If you’re a newer user of credit cards, or don’t have enough older credit cards that you plan to leave open this method can damage your Credit Score. Thankfully for me, my Father opened credit cards for me at a very young age and my average credit length is very old.

When to Cancel a Credit Card

  • When the temptation to spend is too strong
  • There is an annual fee that exceeds the value you receive from the credit card

When to Keep a Credit Card

  • The Annual Fee is $0
  • The length it has been open is very long (this is also a big indicator to your Credit Score)
  • You don’t have any newer credit lines opened

Assuming you answered #2….here is a Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Call the credit card provider using the phone number listed on the back of the card
  2. Confirm the credit card has an annual fee
  3. Redeem any points currently on the account (I scored $357 in cash doing this!)
  4. Ask the operator if they are willing to waive/refund the annual fee
  5. If they are NOT, ask if they have a $0 fee credit card which they can “consolidate your available credit” to (this will keep you from losing available credit in your credit utilization ratio!)
  6. Assuming they can do #5, apply for the new credit card with $0 annual fee

My Actual Results:

American Express

Started with:
Plum Card. $9,000 Available Credit. $250 Annual Fee

Ended with:
AMEX Blue Business Plus Card. $20,000 Available Credit ($11,000 additional!). $0 Annual Fee.

Bonus: American Express was kind enough to refund a prorated $208 of the $250 annual fee since I threatened to cancel!


Started with:
1. Barclay Black Card. $14,000 Available Credit. $495 Annual Fee.
2. Barclay Arrival Card. I had this since college and literally never used it. $1,000 Available Credit. $39 Annual Fee.

Ended with:

Barclay Refunded my $495 annual fee. I closed my Arrival Card.

Get a Car Loan with Any Credit Along with a Happy Couple and a New Black SUV next to them


Started with:
1. Chase Sapphire Card. $8,000 Available Credit. $495 Annual Fee.
2. Chase Freedom Card. $2,000 Available Credit. $0 Annual Fee.
3. Chase Amazon Prime Rewards Card. $6,000 Available Credit. $0 Annual Fee.

Ended with:

I closed my Sapphire Card Account (savings of $495/year) and my Freedom Card. Chase was able to boost my available credit on my Prime Rewards card to $15,500.

Final Results:

1. Savings of $1,240 per year in Annual Fees
2. Gain of $9,500 of Available Credit to use (this should actually BOOST my credit score!)
3. Redeemed Points as cash back, $357

I feel a lot better now knowing that I am not aimlessly wasting money on Annual Fees for the egotistical privilege of having a metal credit card.

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