You can cancel a credit card application by contacting the credit card issuer’s customer service department. The sooner you contact them, the easier it will be to cancel the application. Applications usually are processed quickly once they’re submitted, especially if you’re an obvious candidate for either approval or rejection. Many credit cards will give you a near-instant decision in those cases. So if you applied online, you may have only a few minutes (or even less than a minute in some cases) to contact customer service. But you might have a window of about 7-10 business days in other cases, such as when you mail a paper credit card application.
If you are unable to cancel a credit card application before it is processed, you will have to deal with the hard inquiry on your credit report. But depending on the issuer, it may still be possible for you to stop the account from being opened, so you don’t have to close it and damage your score further. There are a few more things you should know about the cancellation process, too.
Here’s how to cancel a credit card application:
- Contact the credit card’s issuer as soon as possible. You need to stop the application from being processed to prevent a “hard inquiry” from being added to your credit report. That could temporarily hurt your credit score.
- You may only have a few minutes (or even less) to cancel an online credit card application. If you mailed your application, you will have a wider window, thanks to the time it spends in transit.
- If your application is approved before you can cancel it, you may still be able to avoid officially opening an account. But make sure to call customer service and ask because that's not always the case. With Chase and Discover, for example, the account is considered open once you’re approved. Quickly closing a newly opened account can hurt your credit score.
- Consider waiting a few weeks or months before applying for another credit card. Multiple inquiries in a short period of time can make you seem risky in lenders’ eyes. If that’s not possible, try for a card with very high approval odds, such as a secured card or a card targeted to people who have lower credit scores than you do. You can also work on building credit without your own credit card, like becoming an authorized user on someone else’s card.
At the end of the day, it’s also worth mentioning that keeping a credit card you didn’t want could be good for your credit score. Even if you decide not to use the card, you’ll still have positive information reported to the bureaus each month. But if the card comes with an expensive annual fee, it’s better to close your account than lose money every year. Many issuers charge an annual fee when you open an account and then every 12 months on your account anniversary. Others won’t make you pay an annual fee if you cancel your account before the close of the billing cycle in which it’s charged.
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