Can you cancel a credit card application?

Applying for a new credit card can be an exciting step in your personal finance journey. Maybe you’re aiming to take advantage of a credit card offer, earn rewards or simply get a different card. But what if you realize you don’t want the card you applied for? Can you cancel your credit card application?

It may be possible to cancel a credit card application. But you’ll probably have to act fast.

Key takeaways

  • You may be able to cancel a credit card application if it’s still pending. But some credit card issuers review online applications in minutes or seconds, so it can be difficult to cancel an application in time.

  • Canceling an application won’t affect your credit scores. But most credit card applications require a hard inquiry to your credit, which can impact your scores.

  • If you’re unable to cancel your application, there may be options to keep, swap or cancel the card, but it’s important to understand how doing so might affect your credit scores.

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How to cancel a credit card application

You can only cancel a credit card application if the credit card issuer hasn’t processed the application yet. But keep in mind that card issuers often approve or deny applications within minutes or seconds

If you applied in person or by mail or otherwise haven’t been notified about your application yet, there may still be time to contact the issuer and cancel the application.

How does canceling a credit card application affect your credit score?

Canceling a credit card application doesn’t directly affect your credit scores.

However, the credit card application itself will trigger a hard credit inquiry, which is when a lender checks your credit reports after you apply for credit. A hard inquiry will typically cause your credit scores to drop by a few points. Your FICO® score, for example, will typically drop by fewer than five points as the result of a credit check when opening a new credit card.

But multiple hard inquiries over a short period of time can have a bigger impact on your credit scores, so it’s worth considering when to apply for a credit card.

What to do if you can’t cancel your credit card application

If you can’t cancel your credit card application, there may be other options.

For example, you could decide to keep the card. And if you use the credit card responsibly, it could help you improve your credit scores, build credit or maintain good credit.

If your new credit card isn’t the one you want, you could check whether there’s an option to upgrade or downgrade it for a different card. For instance, another card may offer rewards that better fit your lifestyle. It also might be possible to downgrade to a card with a lower or no annual fee. Just keep in mind that applying for a different card could lead to another hard inquiry, which can affect your credit scores.

Can you cancel a credit card if you don’t want the card anymore?

If you decide that you still don’t want the card, then you could cancel it. And canceling it might be a good idea if using the card could lead to credit card debt. But keep in mind that doing so could negatively affect your credit scores.

For example, canceling the card will decrease your available credit and increase your credit utilization ratio. It could also affect your credit mix and credit age.

If you’re approved for the card, you’ll likely have to pay the card’s annual fee if there is one. And if there’s an outstanding balance, it has to be paid off before closing the account.

Can you cancel a credit card you just applied for?

If the application hasn’t been approved yet, you may be able to cancel a credit card you just applied for. If the credit card issuer has already approved or declined your application, you can cancel the card in the same way as canceling any credit card. Just be sure to understand the impact on your credit.

Can you cancel a credit card after approval?

Yes, it’s possible to cancel a credit card. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends giving the credit card issuer both a call and a written notice. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay off any outstanding balance.

Can you cancel a credit card before activating it?

You can cancel a credit card before activating it, but it will be the same as canceling a card at any other time. And it might still impact your credit scores.

Canceling a credit card application in a nutshell

Credit card applications are often processed within minutes or even seconds. If you applied for a credit card you don’t want, you may be able to cancel the application if you act fast. And if you can’t cancel the application, you still have options.

If you’re considering applying for a Capital One credit card, you could get pre-approved first. Pre-approval can help determine which cards you’re eligible for without harming your credit.

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