This morning I did a little credit card cleanup, reducing the number of Citi credit cards I had from four down to two. I had these open credit card accounts as a result of my balance transfer arbitrage days but they’ve since lay dormant. (In fact, Citi Professional, one of the cards I closed, even has a $100 gift card with first purchase promotion that made the balance transfer arbitrage deal even sweeter)
Having open credit card accounts that you have no prospect of using them is really dangerous for a variety of reasons. First, if you aren’t using it then you probably aren’t carrying it. If you still are carrying it but never use it and you lose your wallet or purse, that’s one more headache you have to deal with. If you leave it at home, you’re likely to lose track of it (I hid all my unused credit cards, now I can’t find them!) so the best option is to get rid of that line of credit. The bottom line is that you don’t want to keep any credit cards you aren’t actively using, so now the decision is how to get rid of them.
To get rid of it you have two options, cancel the card or consolidate that line of credit into another card (thereby canceling it). Canceling a card may damage your credit score because it reduces your amount of total credit and increases your credit utilization. Credit utilization is a calculation of how much of your credit you are currently actively using. If you have $10,000 and you’re using $5,000 of it, your utilization is an even 50%. The lower the utilization, the better. Consolidating retains your total credit utilization, reduces your number of open lines, and is overall a better decision.
Consolidation with Citi
Citi was great to work with. Since I didn’t have the cards (yep, I “lost” them somewhere in our house), I called up their number (1-800-347-4934), told them what I wanted to do, answered some security questions and just rattled off some four digit numbers. They can track all your lines of credit by your social security number alone so the four digits easily identified which cards were being consolidated and to where. The whole transaction took less then ten minutes and now I’m two cards lighter.
Why Not Down To One?
In theory I could’ve but the two cards left at the Citi mtvU card, which is a card I actively use, and a Citi MasterCard that is carrying a 0% balance transfer that is set to expire in a few months.
Remove Cards From Your Account Online
Once the card the removed it should say “Account Alert: This account has been converted to a new number or was closed at your request. If you have any questions regarding your account, please contact our Customer Care Center.”
- If you are signed up for All-Electronic, cancel that first (if not, skip to the next step). Switch to your card, then to to Manage My Account, Paperless Statements, then Cancel. You will have to Cancel your All-Electronic before you can remove the card from your account.
- Next, go back to Manage My Account in the navigation bar, drill down into Update Personal Profile, and select Remove an Account. Select the card from the list and click submit. Confirm that you wish to remove the account and you’re done.
Winter credit cleaning at its best!