If you have a Citi credit card that you aren’t using, you might want to close it. The process is fairly straightforward, but you should consider a few steps before canceling your Citi account.
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If you have a Citi credit card that you are no longer using, you might wonder how to close a Citi account. The process is fairly straightforward, but you should keep in mind a few things before you close it. Even if you’re being charged an annual fee on a Citi credit card that you no longer use, you have a few options that might make sense instead of closing the account.
Should you close your Citi account?
As you think through whether you should close your Citi account, look at the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. If you have an annual fee on a credit card that you’re not using much, it can make the most sense to close your Citi account. Another reason you might consider closing a Citi credit card is if you find that you are being tempted to spend more than you can pay off each billing cycle. If you don’t have the financial ability and discipline to pay off your credit card in full, each and every month, it may be best to close your account and stay out of credit card debt. And sometimes, you may find that you have too many accounts and just want to simplify your financial situation.
On the other hand, it’s possible that canceling a credit card can negatively impact your credit score. One of the biggest factors in determining your credit score is your utilization rate. Your credit utilization rate is the percentage of your available credit that you are currently using. Closing a credit card decreases your available credit, which can lower your utilization rate. This can, in turn, have a negative impact on your credit score.
Your credit mix and your average age of accounts are two of the other pieces that factor into your credit score, and these can be negatively impacted by closing a credit card account, depending on your situation. If you only have one credit card and close it, this will remove a type of credit from your credit mix. Additionally, if the Citi card you’re considering closing is your oldest account, it could bring down your credit history length if you close it, which can also cause a dip in your credit score.
Options to consider instead of closing your credit card
If you no longer want your Citi credit card but don’t want to close your card, you have a few options. One is to upgrade or downgrade your card to another card within the same product family. If you no longer want your Citi Premier® Card, for example, you could upgrade to the Citi Prestige® Card* or downgrade to the Citi Rewards+® Card.
Many issuers including Citi have specific rules about what cards you can and cannot get in a product change. Generally, you can only product change within the same card family as your existing card. So, for example, you can do a product change from a Citi Premier to a Citi Rewards+ card since those cards both earn Citi ThankYou points. But you would not be able to transfer from a Citi Premier to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®. Even though both cards are issued by Citi, they are in different product families.
Before closing your Citi account
If you’ve measured the pros and cons of closing your Citi account and decided to close it, here are a few things to do before closing your Citi account:
Ask to transfer your credit limit to another card
Most banks like Citi have a maximum amount of total credit that it will issue you based on your income and overall financial situation. Generally speaking, credit card issuers don’t care how your total credit line is divided among all the cards that it offers you. If you have multiple credit cards with the same issuer, you can consider transferring some of your credit limit to another card before closing the first card. If you have a Citi Premier card with a $12,000 credit limit, for example, you might request to transfer some or all of the $12,000 to another Citi card, like the Citi® Double Cash Card. This would give you access to more total credit for future needs.
Clear your balance
Before you close your Citi credit card, you’ll need to pay off your balance. One way to clear your balance is to make a payment to your credit card account to get it down to a $0 balance. If you’re not able to pay off your card in full, you can consider doing a balance transfer to another card. Several credit cards offer introductory 0% APRs for a specified period of time, meaning you can transfer your balance to another card and then work on paying it down without additional interest charges for the specified number of months or billing cycles.
Plot the effect on your credit score
As mentioned earlier, closing a credit card can affect your credit score. You’ll want to consider what that might mean for you, especially if your credit is already less than perfect. If you have excellent credit in the high 700s or above, you can afford to lose a few points by closing a credit card. If your credit score is lower than that, a few points might make a big difference, especially if you are planning on applying for a new car or home loan in the near future. If you don’t have anything coming up soon that will require a credit check, the hit to your score might not be a big deal for you.
How to close your Citi card
If you’ve decided to close your Citi account, you have a few options. No matter how you choose to close your Citi card account, it should be a fairly straightforward process.
One way to close your Citi account is by logging in to your Citi account online. You can send a secure message from your account or access the online chat feature on the Citi website. If you send a message through the secure message feature of Citi’s website, remember to be clear about which account you want to close.
Over the phone
You can also close a Citi account over the phone. All you need to do is call the customer service phone number on the back of your credit card. When you speak with the representative, tell them you want to close your account. The customer service representative might make you a retention offer, which is another option to consider.
The bottom line
It’s financially smart to periodically review your credit cards and decide which ones you want to keep, especially if those credit cards come with annual fees. It doesn’t make any sense to pay an annual fee on a card that you don’t use and whose benefits you aren’t really using. But before you close a Citi card account, make sure that you understand all the ramifications of doing so. It’s possible that closing a credit card will cost you a few points off your credit score, so be careful about closing your account if you’re planning on applying for any new line of credit (such as another card or a car loan) soon.
Instead of closing your Citi card account, you might consider upgrading, downgrading or product changing your card to a credit card that works better for you. This would allow you to keep your account and credit line open while still giving you the benefits and card that make the most sense for you.
*Information about the Citi Prestige Card and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.