Everyone has to close a credit card account at some point. There is a right way to do it, and a wrong way – which may affect your credit score for years to come

If this is your first time getting rid of a credit card, then you should check out our tips below to make sure you don’t miss anything!

1. Closing Your Credit Card Account

How to close a credit card
Make sure you pay off your entire balance before closing your credit card

Paying off your balance

You want to make sure that your credit card is closed with a $0 balance on it. This can actually be a little tricky as different credit cards can have different billing cycles, and pending charges may not post to your account for a few days.

We strongly recommend paying off your balance, and waiting 45 days to see if any other charges pop up. If your card is still showing a $0 balance then you can move on to the next step.

Closing the account with your bank

This can be done by calling the number on the back of your credit card, and informing them that you would like to close the account. Depending on your bank, you may be directed to an automated system, or have to speak with an agent.

Once your account is closed, you will want to destroy the physical card to protect your personal information.

2. Destroying the Credit Card

How to get rid of a credit card
Don’t let thieves steal your credit card!

How to destroy a plastic credit card

When getting rid of a standard plastic credit card, we would recommend cutting the card into six pieces. Here are the cuts that you should make:

  • One of the cuts on the card should go horizontally through all of the card numbers.
  • One of the cuts should go horizontally through the security chip (if there is one). If not, cutting through the middle of the card is good.
  • Make a vertical cut through the entire height of the card.
  • This should break your card into six pieces.

You should dispose one piece of your credit card per week in your garbage (in case someone dumpster dives your trash). It’s even better if you can bring a couple of the pieces to your work and throw it out there as it will make it that much harder for someone to get their hands on the entire card.

How to destroy a metal credit card

Metal credit cards such as the AMEX Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve are becoming more common, and they present a challenge to anyone looking to destroy them. Here is what you should to to destroy a metal credit card:

  • If you have a power cutter that will go through the metal, then you can follow the same steps as above.
  • Otherwise, we would recommend using a powered drill. You should drill directly through the security chip, the last six digits of your card, and also four different points on the magnetic strip.
  • Finally, most companies that issue metal credit cards will usually offer a prepaid envelope so that you can send your card back to them for destruction.

Now that you’ve closed one of your credit cards, you can look into signing up for a brand new travel or cash back credit card to maximize your rewards!