What Happens If I Cancel a Credit Card Without Activating?

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When you apply for a credit card, you don't always know the terms and rate of the card until you get an acceptance offer from the bank or lender. You have every right to cancel a credit card before activation if you don't like the contract terms. Your FICO credit score takes a bit of a hit when you apply and the lender does a hard inquiry on your credit history.

More Cancellation Factors

You only lose a few points typically from the lender's credit check. Your credit score typically takes this hit whether you are approved or denied. Accepting the card and activating it -- or not -- isn't a factor. To avoid future lenders thinking you are desperately seeking credit, you should wait a couple of months after cancelling a card before applying for a new one. This approach makes it possible for the next lender to see that you closed that card.