How to Reopen a Closed Credit Card
Whether you chose to close your credit card, or the credit card company closed it for you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that card is gone forever. In fact, if you closed the credit card on favorable terms, it’s quite likely the credit card company wants you back. In many cases, reopening a closed credit card can be better for you than simply opening a new one, because you’re more likely to get your old interest rate (which might be lower than what you can get elsewhere) or really useful benefits.
When it comes to reopening a credit card, the process depends on a few things. First, what policies does the credit card company have regarding reopening credit cards? Then, whether you closed the card or the issuer did will impact your ability to reopen it. Finally, how long ago the account was closed can affect whether you can reopen it or not.
If you are interested in reopening an old credit card, here’s some advice to help you accomplish your goal.
Reopening a credit card you voluntarily closed is going to be much easier than reopening a card the issuer closed. More than likely, the company was sad to see you go and will be happy to have you back.
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Call the Credit Card Company and Ask About Their Policy
Each company has their own policies when it comes to reopening a credit card. The first step is doing research on whether your chosen company will allow you to reopen your card or not. You could do some of the research online, but the best solution is to get in touch with their customer support. That way, you can get both the general policy and have them investigate your specific situation for what you’ll need to do.
Provide Your Personal Info
In order to look up your account and situation, you will need to provide the credit card company with your personal information. Likely, that will include your full name, birth date, social security number, and if you have it, the account number or credit card number you closed.
From there, the company will delve further into your situation, and find out whether you can or can’t reopen the account. Most companies will be happy to have you back, but some might need a bit more information from you.
Explain Why You Want to Reopen the Card
Your reasons for closing and then wanting to reopen the card can impact whether the company will do it. If the account was closed on accident, or closed temporarily because of credit card fraud, there should be no problem at all. When you close a credit card purposely, it might be a little harder though.
If the credit card company doesn’t like your reasoning, or don’t find it reason enough to reopen the account, they might just say the only solution is to apply for a new card and account. For example, saying that you weren’t using the card responsibly before, so you closed it and now want to reopen it, might result in the company not wanting to reopen the account.
Be Prepared for a Credit Inquiry
Depending on the company’s policy and how long it’s been since you’ve closed your credit card, it’s likely the company will want to check your credit score. Since it involves basically re-approving you to use their credit, the inquiry will show up on your credit report as a hard inquiry. Applying for other credit cards or trying to reopen multiple closed accounts, each with their own hard inquiry, could impact your credit.
If your credit score has dropped a significant amount, the credit card company might deny your application to reopen your credit line, and tell you to just re-apply for a new card. That, in turn, might mean a higher interest rate, or a lower maximum.
Reopening a Credit Card That the Issuer Closed
If the credit card company closed the account, why it was closed will heavily impact if you can reopen it or not. If the company closed the account because you weren’t paying it off, and the debt went to collections, you’ll have a hard time convincing them to reopen it. The reason the card was closed is tied closely to your ability to reopen it.
Find Out Why It Closed
When the account was closed, the credit card company should have sent you a letter notifying you. If you have that, then you’ll know what you are working with. If you don’t remember seeing that letter or forgot what it said, then you can always call the credit card company to get the information again.
If you failed to pay off your credit card and the issuer took it to a different stage of debt collections, getting the card reopened will be tricky. Likely, you will need to pay off the debt in full and hope they will be willing to reopen the account after that show of goodwill. More than likely though, they will just tell you to apply for a new card.
There are other reasons why an account might be closed. Many credit card issuers will close credit cards that go through long periods of inactivity, ranging from 1 to 5 years. If that happens, you could ask them to reopen it, but then have to make sure you use your card regularly.
Another reason a card could get closed is that they are ending the rewards program associated with your card, and either needed confirmation from you to move to a new style of card, or simply ended the card with no alternatives. If the company is forcing you to move to a new card or program, you might be able to keep some of the benefits from your old card, like a lower interest rate or any reward points you’ve saved up.
Check Your Credit Report
If your credit card was closed by the card issuer and you don’t know why, get a copy of your credit report and check it for errors. An unexpected closed card could mean something suspicious is happening, like your account has been taken over by a criminal. If your credit card is saying you are missing payments and it’s up on your report, but you didn’t make the purchases, you need to do something about it. You can dispute false charges and get them removed from your credit report, keeping your score safe.
Similarly, if you card was cancelled by mistake, the credit card company might have made a mistake reporting to the credit bureaus. Those can be disputed and removed too. Normally, a credit card closing shouldn’t have immediate negative effects, so if this one did, investigate why.
It is possible to re-open closed cards, but it is heavily influenced by the circumstances behind closing the account and how long it’s been closed. Keep in mind though that if your credit score has improved since you opened the account originally, you might be able to qualify for a better credit card. Investigate all options available before deciding on reopening an old account.
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Ben Allen is a freelance content creator and digital marketer who believes in helping small businesses succeed. He spends his free time bragging about his two daughters, eating stuffed crust pizza, and playing video games.
This post was updated February 28, 2019. It was originally published June 28, 2018.