If you’re wondering, ‘Can you reopen a closed credit card?,’ the answer is that it depends. More specifically, the reason why your credit card account was closed in the first place will make a difference, as well as whether your specific credit card issuer allows the reopening of closed accounts.
Though your request may get denied, it’s still worth asking to reopen a closed credit card account if you really want to do so. Let’s take a look at why your account may be closed and how to reopen a closed credit card account.
Can You Reopen a Closed Credit Card?
Whether or not you can reopen a closed credit card will depend on several factors, including:
• The reason why your credit card is closed
• Whether your credit card issuer allows cardholders to reopen accounts
• How long ago the credit card account was closed
For instance, if the issuer closed your credit card account due to nonpayment, you most likely won’t be able to reopen it, given what a credit card is and the risk a lender assumes. However, if you chose to close the account yourself and now regret the decision, you may be able to get the credit card reinstated.
Why Your Credit Card May Be Closed
There are several reasons why your credit card may be closed, such as:
• Your account was inactive: If you haven’t used your credit card in a number of months or years, your issuer may decide to close a credit card due to inactivity.
• Your account was considered delinquent: Most issuers will close your account if you haven’t been paying your bills, or are in default. Although the account is closed, you’ll still owe the amount borrowed when closing a credit card with a balance.
• Your credit score dropped: Though not always the case, if a credit card issuer notices red flags, such as a sharp drop in your credit score or major negative remarks on your credit report, it may choose to revoke your card.
• You didn’t agree to the new terms: Sometimes credit card issuers update their terms and conditions and need you to agree to them before continuing to use the new card. If you don’t agree to the terms, your card may be closed.
Reopening a Closed Credit Card Account
If you decide you want to reopen a closed credit card, here’s how you do it.
Review the Reason for the Account Closure
Assuming you didn’t contact the credit card company to cancel a credit card yourself, you’ll need to determine the reason why the issuer did. It’s most likely due to one of the five reasons mentioned above.
Consider when you last used the credit card, whether you’ve had to agree to new terms, or if you were behind on payments. Credit card issuers may not notify you when the account is closed, so if you’re unsure of the exact reason why, it’s best to contact them.
Gather Relevant Documentation
Before asking the credit card issuer to reopen your account, it’s best to be as prepared as possible so you’re as efficient as you can be. For one, you’ll need to ensure that you have the credit card account number — you can find it on your physical credit card or a previous credit card statement.
If you were delinquent on your account, you may need to provide other forms of proof, like that you’ve paid back the credit card balance you’d owed. Your card issuer may also want other information like your full name, address, and Social Security number.
Contact Your Card Issuer
Finding the best number to call can be as simple as checking the back of your physical credit card or looking up the issuer’s phone number on their website. Otherwise, you can try calling your credit card issuer’s general customer service number and asking to be transferred to the relevant department.
When you request to reopen the account, you may be asked to provide a reason why you want to do so. Additionally, you may need to address any concerns or issues that caused your account to get closed. For instance, if your card was closed because you didn’t agree to new terms, then you’ll need to do so.
If your request is approved, you should receive information about the account, such as whether the account number is the same and if you can keep any rewards you’d earned before the account closure. Some issuers may conduct a hard credit inquiry to make sure you can still qualify for the credit card in question.
Things to Know When Reopening a Closed Credit Card
If you’re reopening an account you held previously, you might find some differences in how a credit card works. Here’s what to look out for specifically if you reopen a closed credit card.
Fees and Interest Rates May Be Different
The annual percentage rate (APR) and fees for the credit card may have gone up or down. Before you reopen your account, it’s best to check all of the card’s terms and conditions to determine whether you want to proceed.
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Your Credit Limit Might Be Lower
Depending on the issuer and other factors like your credit score, your credit limit may be lower than the original amount you were approved for. You may have to wait a few months or demonstrate that you can adhere to key credit card rules, like consistently make on-time payments, before you’re approved for a larger credit line.
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You May Lose Out on Previously Unused Rewards
If you’d racked up rewards before closing your credit card account, you may not be able to access any unused points or miles after your credit card gets reopened. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask the credit card issuer if it can reinstate the rewards — though remember there’s no guarantee it will happen. This is why checking your credit card balance and your rewards balance is important to do before closing out a credit card account.
How Long Does a Closed Account Stay On Your Credit?
How long a closed account remains on your credit report will depend on whether it’s based on a negative remark. For accounts that were in good standing, the closed account can remain on a credit report for up to 10 years and will generally help your credit score. However, if the closure was due to an adverse remark, such as delinquency, it could remain on your report for up to seven years.
How Closing a Credit Card Can Hurt Your Credit
The decision to close a credit card can weigh negatively on your credit score. Specifically, here’s how closing a credit card affects your credit:
• Increases your credit utilization: Once a credit card is closed, your overall credit limit is lowered. This increases your credit utilization ratio — the percentage of your total available credit that you’re currently using — even if your credit card balance remains the same.
• Decreases your credit mix: Though it may not affect your credit score that much, closing a credit card means there may not be as many different types of credit in your credit history. If so, this could affect your score negatively depending on the other types of accounts you have.
• Potentially lowers the average age of your credit accounts: If the closed credit card account was one of your oldest accounts, it could lower the age of your credit history. This can negatively affect your credit score.
Reopening a Closed Credit Card Account vs Getting a New Credit Card
Although there may be advantages to reopening a credit card, such as accessing a high credit limit or offered perks, you’ll have to open a new one if your issuer refuses your request. You might also look into getting a new card instead of going back to your old one if you think you could access better rewards or more favorable terms than your closed card offered.
Whatever your needs and credit score are, it’s best to do some research to find a card that you have a high chance of qualifying for and that offers features you want.
When Not to Reopen a Closed Account
Sometimes, it’s better to leave a closed credit card account closed. Instead, you could use the account closure as an opportunity to search for a better credit card that may have a lower interest rate or offer better rewards, for instance. You could even look into options offered by the same credit card issuer.
Plus, there are some valid reasons for when to cancel your credit card, like if it had an unnecessarily high annual fee. In those instances, it’s likely not worth second guessing your decision.
Alternatives to Consider If You Can’t Reopen Your Account
If you can’t reopen your account, you’re not out of luck. Here are some other options to consider in this scenario:
• Consider applying for a different card with the issuer. One option is to see what other cards your issuer offers and open one of those instead. Before submitting an application, check to see what the terms and conditions are and whether it has the features you’ll want and need.
• Take steps to improve your credit. If your account was closed due to delinquency, you can focus for a few months on making on-time payments or taking other steps to raise your score. Then, you could try again to reopen your card or simply apply for a different one.
• Apply for easier-to-get funding sources. If you need funding, you can also consider applying for a secured credit card, which is backed by a security deposit that serves as collateral. Secured credit cards tend to be easier to qualify for due to the deposit you’ll make.
Using Your New Credit Card Responsibly
Whether you’re reopening a closed credit card or applying for a new one, using a credit card responsibly is critical. By doing so, you can ensure that you remain in good standing with your credit card issuer and continue to build your score over time. Here are some tips for responsible credit card usage:
• Don’t spend more than you can afford to pay off each month.
• Always try to pay off your balance in full to avoid incurring interest charges.
• Make sure to submit payments on-time (setting up automatic payments can help).
• Regularly review your credit card statements and credit report to check for any errors or indications of fraudulent activity.
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Reopening a credit card is as simple as contacting your issuer. However, whether or not you’ll get your request fulfilled will depend on the reason your account was closed and how long it’s been since you last used the card.
Can you reopen a closed credit card due to inactivity?
You may be able to reopen a credit card closed because of inactivity. However, whether you can do so will ultimately depend on your credit card issuer and their policies on reopening credit cards.
Can you reopen a closed credit card due to nonpayment?
In most cases, you probably won’t be permitted to reopen a card that got closed due to nonpayment. You may be able to if you can demonstrate to your credit card issuer that you’ve paid back the balance due and can be responsible with payments.
Will I get back my rewards if I reopen a closed credit card?
You most likely won’t be able to get your rewards back. Still, it doesn’t hurt to ask your credit card issuer just to make sure.
Do all credit card issuers allow you to reopen closed credit card accounts?
Many credit card issuers won’t allow account reopening, though some do. To find out if yours does, you’ll need to contact them directly.
Photo credit: iStock/insta_photos
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