To cancel a Chase Freedom card, call Chase customer service at 1-800-432-3117. Enter the card number when prompted, then use the menu to speak to a customer service representative and tell them you want to cancel. They may try to get you to stay a customer by offering a retention bonus, but you can decline that and request cancellation anyway. The representative should be able to instantly close the account.
Keep in mind that if you cancel a Chase Freedom card, it will not absolve you of any unpaid balance. If you don’t have a $0 balance when you close the card, Chase will continue to send you monthly bills until the balance is paid in full.
There are a couple other things that you should also know before you cancel a Chase Freedom card. The first is that you will lose any unredeemed rewards points, so make sure to spend them first. Secondly, closing your account will likely hurt your credit score, though how big the impact is will depend on how long the card was open and how large the credit limit was.
Closing a credit card with zero balance is not a good idea if that card has no annual fee. Any credit card you manage responsibly, even an unused one, reflects positively on your credit history. So closing such a card will have a negative impact on your credit standing. But it can be worth it if your card is costly or if you’re worried about falling victim to fraud while you’re not keeping a close eye on it.… read full answer
Here are the arguments against closing a credit card with zero balance:
Average account age suffers. This makes up at least 15% of your overall credit rating, so shortening it can hurt. Here’s a quick example: Imagine you have three credit card accounts, which have been open for 3 years, 5 years and 10 years, respectively. The average account age is 6 years. If you close the 10-year-old account, the age of your average account falls to 4 years. Older accounts are better for your score because a long track record of responsibility tells issuers you’re likely to behave the same way in the future.
Utilization increases. “Utilization,” or how much of your credit line you use, is important to your score. Creditors care about both your utilization on individual cards and your total utilization. Generally, the lower each is, the better. And closing an account with zero balance will increase your total utilization. Let’s say you have three credit cards, each with a $1,000 credit line. You use 0% of one and 25% of the other two. Overall, that’s 16.7% utilization. But if you cancel the unused card, it jumps to 25%. That’s troublesome because credit score damage typically worsens if your utilization rises above 30%, and you’d be close to that milestone.
So closing an account will be a blow to your credit. You can improve your score afterward by paying on time with your remaining account(s). But it’s usually best to just keep accounts open and avoid the damage entirely. There are a few exceptions, though.
Here’s when to close a credit card with zero balance:
It has an expensive annual fee.
You’re worried about fraud and won’t be monitoring the card as closely. All credit cards give you a $0 fraud liability guarantee, but you might not want to count on the issuer to flag every fraudulent charge on its own.
Keeping it open becomes a hassle, for one reason or another.
By the way, in case you’re wondering, it is possible to close a credit card that has a balance. But you’ll still be responsible for paying and will continue to accrue interest until the balance is fully paid off, even after the account is closed. You just won’t be able to make any new purchases.
When you cancel a credit card, your credit score could fall in the short term, depending on how old the account is and how much other credit you have. But canceling a credit card account might also benefit your credit score in the long run if you manage the rest of your finances better as a result of having one fewer account to worry about.… read full answer
Why canceling a credit card could hurt your credit score temporarily:
One way canceling a credit card account could hurt your credit score is if it reduces the amount of credit that you have available and thus increases your overall credit utilization. Keeping utilization low is key for a good credit score. So closing a high-limit credit card account will hurt your score more than closing a low-limit account, all else being equal.
Another way canceling a credit card account could hurt your credit score is if it brings down the average age of your accounts. That can make it seem like your credit history is shorter than it really is. Closing one of your oldest accounts will lead to more credit score damage than closing a newer one.
Plus, you’ll have one fewer account reporting positive information to the credit bureaus each month, assuming the credit card you cancel was in good standing.
Why canceling a credit card might still make sense:
Despite the potential for short-term credit score damage, canceling a credit card can still be the right decision. For example, if you’re paying an annual fee for a card you don’t use, and you’re not planning to apply for a mortgage or car loan in next few months, it’s probably better to close the account. Credit scores usually rebound within 3-6 months after canceling a credit card. And if you don’t plan to borrow during that time, you don’t have to worry about that drop.
But an unused credit card with no annual fee is another story. Even a credit card with zero balance still reports positive info to the credit bureaus on a monthly basis. That means it’s an asset to your credit score.
In any case, you should know all the facts before you cancel a credit card, so you can make an informed decision. We’ll summarize the key considerations below.
Here’s what happens to your credit score when you cancel a credit card:
Credit score drops: Your credit score often goes down because the average age of your open accounts decreases and your overall utilization increases (since you have less available credit).
Scores bounce back: Your credit score should rebound within 3-6 months of canceling your credit card account. Make sure to have at least one open credit card remaining and pay all your bills on time.
What happens if you don’t cancel: A credit card that is in good standing will continue to help your credit score. Even if you don’t make purchases with it, it will still report positive information to the credit bureaus each month. This is definitely worth considering if your card does not charge an annual fee.
Age matters: Closing newer accounts won’t have as much of an impact as closing older ones.
Limit matters: Closing low-limit accounts won’t do as much damage as closing high-limit ones.
When score drops matter: If you don’t need the best score possible for the 3-6 months it usually takes credit scores to bounce back after credit card cancelation, the temporary drop shouldn’t cost you anything.
Bottom Line: Avoid canceling your oldest card and your card with the highest credit limit. That will mitigate the amount of credit score damage. And if you have to close your oldest or highest-limit card, make sure you do it at a time when you don’t need your credit score to be at its best.
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