Closing a Capital One credit card account could make sense for a variety of reasons, and you can do so online or over the phone within minutes. But you may consider a card upgrade or downgrade instead to minimize credit score impacts.
Canceling a Capital One card is simple, but you may want to consider upgrading your card or transferring its credit limit instead
Capital One offers plenty of credit card options, from secured cards to travel cards to ones that pay you cash back on purchases. As one of the largest card issuers in the U.S., it’s possible you have at least one Capital One card in your wallet.
But what happens if that card no longer fits your needs or spending habits?
You could leave it open, but that may involve paying an annual fee for a card you no longer use. The other option is closing your Capital One credit card account.
Before you do that, it helps to know how closing an account works and what it could mean for your credit scores.
Should you close your Capital One account?
There are different reasons for wanting to close a Capital One account. For instance, you might consider it if you:
- Don’t use the card for purchases that often
- Want to avoid paying an annual fee
- Are interested in earning a different type of rewards
- Want a card with a lower APR
If you’re not using the card at all but it has an annual fee, then you may not be getting much in exchange for what you’re paying. And the same goes if you’re earning cash back when what you really need are travel miles.
Looking at your spending habits and rewards redemptions for that particular card over the past year can give you an idea of how useful it really is to you.
Other options: upgrade or downgrade your card
Before closing a Capital One account altogether, consider whether switching to a different card isn’t the better option.
For example, say you have the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card*, which comes with a $95 annual fee. If you’re not using the card as often, you could ask to be downgraded to the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. You’ll earn a slightly lower rewards rate on dining, entertainment and other purchases. But you won’t have to contend with the annual fee.
On the other hand, upgrading your card to earn better rewards could make sense, even if it means paying an annual fee. The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, for example, earns unlimited 1.25 miles on every purchase. But you could get unlimited 2 miles per dollar on purchases by upgrading to the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and paying a $95 annual fee.
See related: How much are Capital One miles worth?
Before closing your Capital One account
If you’ve decided closing your account is the right move, check your balance first. If you have a balance, you may want to pay that off in full before you close the account. This way, you don’t have any monthly payments to worry about once the account has been shut down.
Besides that, there are a couple of other steps to take before closing a Capital One account.
Consider asking to transfer credit limit to another card
At one time, you could ask Capital One to transfer credit limits from one card to another when closing accounts. Transferring credit limits is no longer possible, however.
But there is something else you can do if you have multiple cards with Capital One. If you know for certain that you’re going to close one account, you could ask for a credit limit increase on another account.
You might consider this if you’re concerned about how closing a Capital One account might impact your credit scores.
Plot effect on your credit score
Closing any credit card account has the potential to hurt your credit score.
Part of your score is based on credit utilization, which means the amount of available credit you’re using at any given time. When you close a credit card account, that reduces your total credit limit.
If you have balances on the card you closed or any other cards, that can increase your credit utilization. The end result can mean losing credit score points.
So again, you may consider requesting a credit limit increase on a different Capital One card to balance out the loss of available credit caused by closing an account. You could also open a brand-new credit card account, though any inquiries for credit can also ding your score by a few points.
How to close a Capital One account
Closing a Capital One account is simple. If you’ve weighed the alternatives, such as upgrading or downgrading cards, and you’ve considered the credit score impacts, you’re likely ready to take the next step.
You have three options for closing your Capital One account.
To close your Capital One account online, you’ll first need to log in from a desktop or laptop computer. You’ll see all of your Capital One accounts listed. Select “View Account” for the card you want to close.
Next, you’ll be taken to the main account screen. Here, you’ll see a menu option that says “I Want To…”. If you click on that, you’ll see a pop-up menu that includes multiple options for managing your account. From here, you’ll choose “Close Account.”
Capital One will ask you why you want to close the account. You can check the box that fits and then verify your contact information, including your name, address and phone number. Once you’ve reviewed all of your details you can continue with closing your account. Altogether, this process can be completed in less than two minutes.
Over the phone
If you’d rather close a Capital One account over the phone or you don’t have access to a computer to log in to your account, you can call (800) 227-4825. You’ll need to verify your identity and the account number for the card you want to close. The customer service representative may also ask your reason for wanting to close the account.
Closing your Capital One account by phone can take a little longer. That’s because the representative may try to convince you to keep the card open by offering incentives or perks or steer you toward another Capital One card instead.
If you’d rather close your account by mail, send a letter with your account number, personal information and details of your request to this address:
Attn: General Correspondence
P.O. Box 30285
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0287
*All information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. Capital One Savor Credit Card is no longer available through CreditCards.com.