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Can a Credit Card Be Canceled After Being Approved?

You can likely cancel your credit card application if an approval decision hasn't been made.

A drawn blue credit card is broken with a red X in the middle of it.
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If you submit a credit card application online, you may not have enough time to cancel an application before you get approved. Many credit cards offer instant approval, but you may have time to cancel an application you submit offline. If you've already been approved, you'll have to make other considerations.

How to cancel a credit card application that's still pending

Canceling a credit card application is relatively simple if you haven't been approved or denied yet. You can call the credit card issuer's customer service representatives and ask them to cancel the application. Be prepared to provide your full name, address, date of birth and Social Security number so they can find your application. The representative will then be able to cancel the application, and you won't see it on your credit report.

How to cancel a credit card application that's been approved

While you should contact the customer service team and ask them to cancel the application, know that they may not be able to if a decision has already been made. If you want to cancel a credit card application that has already been approved, you'll likely have to close the account. However, closing a credit card account may have a negative impact on your credit score. 

Alternatively, you can keep the card and use it responsibly to help improve your credit score, or you can cancel the card. But if you never use the credit card, the issuer may end up closing your account on its own.

Will canceling a credit card application hurt your credit score?

Canceling a credit card application doesn't affect your credit score. However, the credit card application itself will trigger a hard credit inquiry, which may temporarily drop your credit score by a few points. 

Hard inquiries are only one small factor in calculating your credit scores. However, too many hard inquiries can potentially have an impact, especially if you don't have a long credit history.

If you're struggling to manage your debt load and you're having trouble resisting the temptation to live beyond your means with the card, it may make sense to cancel your credit card. 

How to cancel a credit card you already have

If you want to cancel a credit card you already have, you'll need to contact customer service again. They can look up your account and cancel it for you. If you're unsure of how to contact customer service, you can typically find the information on the credit card issuer's website. Customer service may ask you several security questions to make sure that it's really you.

You'll want to consider your overall credit profile before closing an approved credit card. Closing an account hurts your credit utilization ratio, which is a big part of your credit score. This ratio is the amount of your aggregate available credit lines in use, so having an extra card without a balance on it is helpful. Closing a card may also affect other components of your credit score.

The bottom line

You can cancel a credit card application that's still pending by calling the credit card issuer's customer service representatives and asking them to cancel the application. If the application has already been approved or denied, you may still be able to cancel it, but it may be more difficult. Canceling a credit card application doesn't affect your credit scores, but canceling an open credit card account may.

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