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Everyday Cheapskate: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Mary Hunt on

Closing a credit card account is not for the faint of heart. So, why bother? Oh, let me count the ways:

No. 1: Excessive lines of credit -- even those with a $0 balance -- can wreak havoc on your credit rating.

No. 2: Many open lines of credit are difficult to manage.

No. 3: Let's not forget that temptation factor.

Truth be told, all you really need is one -- two at the most -- good, all-purpose credit cards.

Now, before we get into how to close accounts, let's look at the facts. Banks, credit card companies and retail credit granters are very keen on retaining their revolving "open-end" credit accounts (from the Latin root meaning there's no end to the amount of money we intend to squeeze from you during your lifetime).

 

These companies paid dearly to bait, snag and reel you in. You are an asset on the balance sheet. And since the time you first met, it's likely you've rewarded them handsomely.

When they learn you're breaking up, they will not be happy. In fact, they may ignore your every attempt to do so. Note: It is not advisable to close an account until you have achieved a $0 balance. To do otherwise invites an interest increase to the maximum allowed by law and possibly a demand for the entire balance to be paid immediately.

MAKE THE CALL

Find the toll-free number for customer service (find it on the back of the credit card, on the last statement or possibly on your credit report). Tell the rep to close your account. You'll get an argument, of course, but stick to your guns. Say, "Close my account, and report it closed to the credit bureaus." Make a note of the full name of the person you spoke with and the date you made this request.

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