Closing your Bank of America credit card account is simple, but consider a few options first to avoid a negative effect on your credit score.
Bank of America is one of the top banks in the country, serving roughly 66 million customers nationwide. But if you’re a Bank of America credit card customer, you might find at some point the card you have no longer meets your needs and you want to close your account.
Closing a Bank of America credit card account isn’t difficult – all it requires is a simple phone call to the bank. But there are a few things to consider before closing your credit card account.
Should you close your Bank of America account?
Wondering whether closing your Bank of America credit card is right for you? There are several good reasons to close a card, such as:
- You overspend on the card and closing the account will remove the temptation.
- It has a costly annual fee, and you don’t earn enough rewards to make up for it.
- You don’t use the card and would rather have fewer cards to keep track of.
But while there may be some benefits to closing your card, it’s also important to consider the downsides. For example, closing a credit card can have a negative impact on your credit score.
First, closing a credit card and losing that credit line will reduce your overall credit limit. If you don’t change how much credit you’re using, this will increase your credit utilization ratio. You’ll use more of your overall available credit even if you don’t make any additional purchases on a different credit card.
A high credit utilization ratio can negatively impact your credit score. Since your credit utilization makes up 30% of your credit score, this can be a fairly significant impact.
See related: What is a good credit utilization ratio?
Closing your oldest credit card can eventually reduce the length of your credit history, which accounts for 15% of your credit score. However, a credit card account in good standing remains on your credit report for up to 10 years. Still, if the card you’re thinking of closing is your oldest card and it doesn’t charge an annual fee, you might be better off keeping it open and putting a small purchase on it at least once a year so it doesn’t close due to inactivity.
Finally, if your Bank of America card is your only credit card, closing it can negatively impact your credit mix (which refers to the types of credit you have, such as a car loan versus credit cards). Your credit mix makes up 10% of your credit score. Overall, depending on your situation and whether you’ll need good credit for a large purchase (or apartment or mortgage application) in the near future, the downsides to closing your account may outweigh the advantages.
Options to consider instead of closing your credit card
If you’re considering closing your Bank of America credit card, it’s worth considering the alternatives first.
If you’re canceling your card because you’re unhappy with your rewards or the annual fee, you can request that Bank of America either upgrade or downgrade your card. Upgrading your account can allow you to access a card with better rewards. Downgrading can help you avoid an annual fee you no longer want to pay.
If you’re closing the card because you feel that it tempts you to overspend, then you might consider keeping the card open and simply removing it from your wallet and not saving it as a default in any online shops. If the card isn’t easily accessible at the store or when you’re browsing your favorite online boutique, you may find that you’re less likely to overspend.
Before closing your Bank of America account
If you choose to close your account, consider a few things first.
Ask to transfer your credit limit to another card
If you have another Bank of America credit card or are considering opening one, you can ask the company to transfer your credit limit to the other card.
For example, suppose you’re closing a Bank of America card with a credit limit of $2,500. But you also have another Bank of America card that you plan to keep, and it has a credit limit of $5,000. You could ask Bank of America to transfer the credit limit from the first card to the second, meaning your card would have a new credit limit of $7,500. (Note that even if your request is approved, you may not be allowed to transfer the full credit limit from your first card.)
Why would you want to transfer your credit limit?
Basically, it ensures that when you cancel your credit card, you don’t entirely lose that spending power. First, this can be beneficial if you use your card as a backup plan for emergency expenses. Second, transferring your credit limit can also help preserve your credit score, since you can maintain your current credit utilization ratio.
Use your remaining rewards
If you have any remaining rewards on your Bank of America credit card, be sure to take advantage of them before closing the account. Depending on your credit card perks, you may be able to use the rewards to pay down your balance or simply redeem the cash back or points.
Clear your balance
If you have a remaining balance on your Bank of America credit card, you’ll have to clear it before closing the account. First, you can clear your balance by simply paying it off.
The other option is to use a balance transfer to move the remaining balance to another credit card. You can either transfer the balance to an existing credit card, or you can open a new card to transfer the balance to. Opening a new card may allow you to take advantage of a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers, which is a great benefit of getting a balance transfer card. This would give you time to pay down your credit card debt without accruing more interest.
Plot the effect on your credit score
Before closing your Bank of America credit card – or any credit card, for that matter – consider the effect it will have on your credit score.
You already know that your credit score can take a hit when you close a credit card account. Sometimes the hit to your credit score is worth it, and you’ll likely see it bounce back after a while.
But if you’re planning to make a large purchase in the near future that will require a credit check, you might want to reconsider. The hit to your credit score could result in you paying a higher interest rate on a new car loan, for example, if it dips your credit score too much.
How to close a Bank of America account
You have several options for closing your account.
Over the phone
The easiest way to close your Bank of America credit card account is over the phone. To cancel this way, call 1-800-732-9194. You’ll speak with a customer service representative who will finalize the account closure.
Bank of America also allows customers to close their credit card accounts in person. To cancel your account in person, visit one of the company’s financial centers and speak with a personal banker.
Through the mail
To go this route, simply submit a written request to close your account to Bank of America, PO Box 982234, El Paso, TX 79998-2234.
The company doesn’t allow customers to close their credit card accounts online. If you contact a customer service representative online, the representative will redirect you to the phone number where you can cancel.
Closing your Bank of America credit card account can help you eliminate a card you aren’t using or remove the temptation to overspend. Bank of America makes it easy to close your account over the phone, in person or through the mail.
But before you close your account, consider the impact it might have on your credit score and overall financial situation. There are other alternatives you can consider, such as transferring your credit limit or upgrading or downgrading your card.