Canceling a credit card has a limited effect on your credit file and score. To cancel a credit card before it has been activated, you must contact the credit card provider directly.
A credit card offer can appear attractive until you read the fine print. If, after reviewing the complete terms and conditions of a credit card, you decide to cancel the card, you can do so by contacting the toll-free number on the back of the card. Explain to the customer service agent that you wish to cancel the card.
Having a hard inquiry on a credit file may cause a drop in your consumer credit score. A hard inquiry is a request by a credit card provider, lender or service provider to view your credit history. The hard inquiry from your credit application will remain on your credit report for one to two years. Having one or two hard inquiries on your credit file can cause a drop in your consumer credit score.
If you cancel a credit card before it’s activated, you don’t have to pay any fees associated with the card. For example, you don’t have to pay an activation fee or an annual membership fee, if either is applicable. The credit card provider will remove any fees upon cancellation of the card.
Most credit card providers require card holders to activate new credit cards before a specified date. Failure to activate a new credit card by this date will result in the credit card provider canceling the credit card.