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Can You Reopen a Closed Credit Card? All You Need to Know

Can You Reopen a Closed Credit Card? All You Need to Know
Jason Steele
Jason SteeleUpdated August 8, 2022
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
If your credit card was closed due to lack of use (or misuse), or you closed the account yourself and now regret the decision, you may be able to reopen the card. Your chances of success will depend on the reason the account was closed and the card issuer’s policies. Read on to learn steps you can take to reopen a closed credit card account (plus when you might be better off opening a new card instead).    

Why Your Credit Card Account May Be Closed

An account closure may be initiated by the cardholder or by the credit card issuer. A cardholder might close their credit account for a number of reasons. These include:
  • A high annual fee
  • Negative customer experience
  • Desire to limit spending temptation
  • Having too many credit cards
  • They got a better credit card offer
If your account was closed and you were not the one who closed it, the credit card issuer may have closed the account. There are several reasons why they might do this, including:Lack of use Typically, the terms of a credit card indicate that you must use the card at least once during a certain time period. If you don’t, they may close your account.You didn’t accept the updated terms When an issuer makes major changes to a card's terms or conditions, it will usually send out a notice and require cardholders to accept the new terms. If you fail to do so, they may close your account.You didn’t follow the rules If you repeatedly flout the terms of your credit card, such as paying your card late or failing to pay the minimum on your credit card statement, the issuer could decide to close your account.You’re in a debt management plan If you are working with a credit counseling agency to manage your debt, the card issuer will likely close your card.They made a mistake Sometimes credit card issuers will accidentally close the wrong account. This can happen if a customer reports a stolen card and the issuer closes a different account by mistake.Recommended: Negative Balance on Credit Card: What It Is & How It Happens 

Guide to Reopening a Closed Credit Card Account

If you closed the account yourself, you may be able to contact your issuer to get it reinstated. If your card issuer initiated the closure, whether or not you can reopen it will depend on the reason why they closed the account, and their policies about reopening closed accounts. Whoever did the closing of the account, here are steps you can take to try to get it reopened.

1. Find Out Why the Account Was Closed

If you were the one to close the account, you may want to think about why you originally closed it and why you want to reopen it now. If the card issuer was the one to cancel your account, it’s a good idea to call them to find out exactly why they canceled it. 

2. Talk to Customer Service

Once you know why your account was closed, you can contact the issuer's customer service number and simply ask if they’ll reopen it. You may need to explain why you want to reopen the account and, if the issuer closed the card, address any issues that led them to cancel your card. 

3. Keep the Card in Good Standing 

If you are able to reopen your account, you’ll want to make sure that the card issuer doesn’t close your card again (or do so for the first time) by keeping your card active and in good standing. This means regularly using the card and paying your credit card balance on time and, ideally, in full each month.

Reopening a Closed Credit Card vs Getting a New Card

In some cases, it may not be worth the effort to open an old account. If you have good credit and the issuer closed your card due to something innocuous (such as inactivity or failure to opt into new terms), it might be a good time to explore getting a new credit card and comparing credit card offers. You could potentially be able to get a card with better rates, terms, and rewards, and maybe even a welcome bonus. 

Alternatives if You Can’t Reopen Your Account

If the issuer closed your account due to failure to pay or being in a debt management program and won’t re-open it, your best bet may be to wait until your credit history improves before applying for a new card. Or, you might want to look into getting a secured credit card. This requires putting down a security deposit (which becomes your credit limit) and can be much easier to qualify for. After a year or so of on-time payments you may be able to transition to a traditional credit card with the same, or a different, issuer.

How Closing a Credit Card Can Hurt Your Credit Score

A closed credit card account can negatively affect your scores in the following ways:
  • Increasing your credit utilization ratio Your credit utilization is the sum of all your balances, divided by the sum of your cards' credit limits, and is an important factor in calculating your credit scores. Closing an account can increase this ratio by lowering the total amount of credit you have available.
  • Lowering the average age of accounts Credit scoring models reward you for having long-standing credit accounts. Closing an older account could lower the average age of your accounts.
  • Your credit mix Having a mix of different types of credit in your credit history can positively impact your credit. Depending on the type of card that was closed, it could potentially reduce your credit mix.
  • A derogatory mark If your account was closed because your debt has been charged off (meaning the creditor has written the account off as a loss), the issuer will likely include this information when reporting to the credit bureaus. This can put a derogatory mark on your account, which can hurt your credit.

What to Do After You Reopen Your Credit Card Account

After you reopen your credit card account, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t get closed again. You can do this by having a firm understanding of how credit cards function and keeping your account active. One way to make sure the card remains active is to use it to pay a recurring bill or subscription, and setting up autopay.As with any credit card account, you’ll want to use the card responsibly, which means never charging more than you afford to pay back in full at the end of the month.

Need a New Credit Card? Compare Options With Lantern    

If you decide not to reopen a closed account and are in the market for a new credit card, Lantern by SoFi can help. With our online credit card marketplace, you can quickly compare personalized offers from multiple credit card issuers all in one place, and without making any commitment.
Photo credit: iStock/wichayada suwanachun
The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website on credit (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/credit-and-loans)LCCC0522004

Frequently Asked Questions

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About the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards and award travel since 2008. One of the nation's leading experts in this field, he has contributed to dozens of personal finance and travel outlets and has been widely quoted in the mainstream media.
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