If I Cancel My Credit Card Will The Interest Stop? (Learn How)

By: Ashley Dull • 11/12/2015

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If you’re considering closing your credit card to save on interest charges, you’ve got the right idea but the wrong method. There are some things you need to know, which we’ll cover in this article:

  1. No, interest doesn’t stop when you cancel a card with a remaining balance.
  2. You can do a balance transfer to a card that will offer 0 percent interest.
  3. We’ll show you the 10 best cards available that offer no interest for up to 18 months.

That being said, let’s dive in.

Interest Will Still Be Charged to Your Card

If you close an account with a remaining balance, the terms of your credit card agreement are still in effect. This means you’re responsible for paying your bill each month and on time, and interest will still be charged. Same goes for late fees if you miss your due date.

Some issuers even charge additional fees for closing an account with a balance. Be sure to read your credit card agreement to see if this applies to you.

Basically, everything remains the same except for your ability to use the card to make purchases. But there’s another important thing to consider: Your credit score will be negatively affected if you close your card.

Your Credit Score Will Go Down

This is because of your credit utilization ratio. The amount of your available credit for said account will now be $0, but your outstanding debt will still be reported to the bureaus. This means your debt appears higher, therefore your score will be lower.

By how much depends on your outstanding balance, as well as how long you’ve had the account. Closing older accounts hurts your score more than closing newer accounts.

But there IS a way for you to still close that account AND stop paying interest…

To Avoid These Negatives, Transfer Your Balance to a 0% APR Card

What this means is you actually do the opposite and open a new account and transfer the old card’s balance to the new card. Issuers now offer balance transfers with 0 percent interest for up to 18 months. This means you’re making interest-free payments during that time.

After you’ve transferred your balance to the new card, go ahead and close the old account.

And just like that, you’re making interest-free purchases and your old account is closed. Mission accomplished.

10 Best Balance-Transfer Credit Cards

We’ve made it easy and compiled a list of the best balance transfer offers out there as reviewed by our credit experts. All the information you need is there, including how long the 0 percent interest lasts, the regular APR, annual fees and all other pertinent info.

Here are our expert’s 10 top picks for the best balance transfer cards available today:

Control Your Spending & Be Mindful of Fees

With a new card comes the opportunity to use it, of course. If you’re worried about spending and racking up a balance on the new card, there are some things you can do to prevent abusing credit:

  • Cut up the new card, and close it when your balance is paid.
  • Freeze the card in a block of ice. Sounds weird, but you won’t be able to get to it unless you really need to.
  • Have your significant other/someone you trust hold on to it. You’ll have to go through them to justify any use of the card.

While transferring a balance really can be a great solution, be sure to check for any balance transfer fees. Some issuers charge a small percentage of the balance you’re transferring and tack it on to your statement. If the fee is more than what your current interest charges equate to over the life of your payments, it may not be worth it.

Photo credits: nextadvisor.com

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

About the Author

Ashley Dull

Ashley is the Finance Vertical Manager at Digital Brands, Inc., where she oversees content published on CardRates.com and BadCredit.org. Ashley works closely with experts and industry leaders in every sector of finance to develop authoritative guides, news, and advice articles with regards to audience interest. Connect with Ashley on Twitter and LinkedIn.