Credit cards are handy financial tools that can make online shopping, booking travel, and making dining reservations easy. But they’re also useful for building solid credit, which can strengthen your financial profile.
That said, there may come a time when you are no longer in need of your credit card, for any number of reasons. The question is, can you cancel it online? Or will you have to go through the traditional channels of speaking directly with a support representative over the phone to close out your account?
Why Close Your Capital One Credit Card Account?
There are all sorts of reasons why you may choose to close out your Capital One credit card account, such as the following:
- The card was stolen
- The card was lost
- Someone has been using your credit card without your authorization
- You haven’t used your credit card in months and no longer need it
- You want to replace your credit card with one that offers a lower annual fee and APR
- You want to replace your credit card with one that offers rewards
- You want to reduce your spending
- You need to pay down your credit card debt
Important Steps To Take Before Closing Your Capital One Credit Card Account
Before you get in touch with Capital One to cancel your credit card, there are certain things you’ll need to do first:
Pay Off Your Credit Card Bill In Full
You won’t be able to cancel your Capital One credit card until your outstanding balance has been brought down to zero. The credit card issuer will give you a hard time if you try to close out your account while there is still a balance owing. As such, be sure to pay off whatever you still owe before making the call or taking steps online to cancel your card.
Spend Your Points
If the credit card you’re looking to cancel comes with a rewards system, make sure any points that you’ve collected thus far are redeemed before you cancel the account. Otherwise, you’ll lose them.
Inform Authorized Card Users Of Your Intention To Cancel
If you have one or more family members who are authorized users on your account, let them know that you will be closing the account first before you go through with the cancellation.
Cancel Pre-Authorized Payments Made With Your Credit Card
Your Capital One credit card may be on file to be automatically charged for payments for certain services. To avoid interruption of these services, make sure you update your account with these entities with a new credit card number.
Look For Mistakes On Your Final Statement
You don’t want to have to pay for charges on your credit card that were made in error. The only way to spot any potential mistakes is to look over your final statement first before cancelling your account. If you notice any mistakes, have them fixed before cancelling your credit card.
Can You Close Your Capital One Credit Card Account Online?
Yes, you can close your Capital One credit card account online. To do so, you’ll need to log into your account, navigate “I Want To … ” near the top of the page after signing in, and choose “Close Account” to get the process started. Follow the steps outlined in order to officially close your account, which will include paying down your remaining balance and cancelling recurring payments.
Alternatively, you can cancel your credit card by telephone by calling 1-800-227-4825.
How Can Cancelling Your Credit Card Affect Your Credit Score?
Closing out your Capital One credit card account could have negative implications for your credit score.
Credit Utilization Ratio
The credit bureaus look at a few factors to determine your credit score, including your credit utilization ratio. This ratio is a measure of the amount of credit available to you relative to how much of that credit you use.
So, if your total available credit limit is $5,000 and you typically carry a total balance of $2,000 in any given month, your credit utilization ratio would be on the higher side at 40%. Generally speaking, your credit utilization ratio should be no higher than 30% to help keep your credit score strong.
By cancelling one of your credit cards — you’re effectively increasing your utilization ratio by removing some of your available credit while maintaining the same balance. You can combat this by decreasing the amount of credit you use each month.
Age Of Accounts
Credit bureaus also look at the number of credit accounts and the average age of your credit accounts. By cancelling a credit card that you’ve had for a while, you’ll reduce the overall number of accounts you have open and the age of your accounts. Creditors prefer to see a mix of older accounts in good standing, which will tell them that you are able to handle a variety of accounts in a responsible manner.
Having said all that, if you’re unable to get a handle on your credit card spending and are only making minimum payments every month, this could also harm your credit score. In this case, you’d be better off cancelling the credit card instead.
You might have a valid reason to cancel your Capital One credit card, especially if it’s been lost or stolen, or if you cannot keep up with payments. Luckily, you may be able to cancel your Capital One card online without the intervention of a live agent. Just be sure to do what’s needed before officially closing the account, and dispose of your credit card securely once it’s been cancelled.