RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A lot rides on your credit score. It decides why type of loan you can get when applying for a house or car. Cancelling some of your credit card could actually hurt your credit score.
“There is a very wrong way to close out a credit card,” says registered financial consultant “coach” Pete D’Arruda.
D’Arruda has been referred to as the credit king.
“If you have a credit card with a high utilization limit, which means money you can borrow, you don’t want to cancel that,” says D’Arruda. “It’ll hurt your overall utilization rate.”
In other words, lenders won’t want to give you money.
Instead of cancelling a card that’s growing too big, stop using it and concentrate on paying it down—but keep it active.
“As long as you make monthly payments, it really helps your credit score,” explains D’Arruda.
There are several things you should avoid doing with a credit card.
• Don’t close a credit card that still has a balance (it drops your credit limit to zero and makes it look like you’ve maxed out your card)
• Don’t close your oldest credit card (it shortens your credit history)
• Don’t close your only credit card (removing it takes points away from your credit score)
If you receive a letter that says your inactive credit card, with a high limit, is going to close because you haven't used it, buy something small.
“You’re killing yourself by cancelling it,” says D’Arruda. “You’re ruining all that good credit history. It just goes away and falls off your report.”
Experts like D’Arruda say you should buy something inexpensive on that on that card every 4-5 months just to keep it active that also keeps that high spending limit from being taken off your credit rating.
If you decide to cancel a credit card, pay down your balance in full first. Creditcards.com says you can’t completely close a card until the balance is paid.
When you close out a card, speak to a human. Make it clear you want it noted the card is being closed at the customer’s request. You should also send a letter to the credit card company stating that want your credit report to reflect that the account was closed at the consumer’s request.