Consolidating Citi Credit Card Accounts

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This morning I did a little credit card cleanup, reducing the number of Citi credit cards I had from four down to two. I had these open credit card accounts as a result of my balance transfer arbitrage days but they’ve since lay dormant. (In fact, Citi Professional, one of the cards I closed, even has a $100 gift card with first purchase promotion that made the balance transfer arbitrage deal even sweeter)

Why Consolidate?

Having open credit card accounts that you have no prospect of using them is really dangerous for a variety of reasons. First, if you aren’t using it then you probably aren’t carrying it. If you still are carrying it but never use it and you lose your wallet or purse, that’s one more headache you have to deal with. If you leave it at home, you’re likely to lose track of it (I hid all my unused credit cards, now I can’t find them!) so the best option is to get rid of that line of credit. The bottom line is that you don’t want to keep any credit cards you aren’t actively using, so now the decision is how to get rid of them.

To get rid of it you have two options, cancel the card or consolidate that line of credit into another card (thereby canceling it). Canceling a card may damage your credit score because it reduces your amount of total credit and increases your credit utilization. Credit utilization is a calculation of how much of your credit you are currently actively using. If you have $10,000 and you’re using $5,000 of it, your utilization is an even 50%. The lower the utilization, the better. Consolidating retains your total credit utilization, reduces your number of open lines, and is overall a better decision.

Consolidation with Citi

Citi was great to work with. Since I didn’t have the cards (yep, I “lost” them somewhere in our house), I called up their number (1-800-347-4934), told them what I wanted to do, answered some security questions and just rattled off some four digit numbers. They can track all your lines of credit by your social security number alone so the four digits easily identified which cards were being consolidated and to where. The whole transaction took less then ten minutes and now I’m two cards lighter.

Why Not Down To One?

In theory I could’ve but the two cards left at the Citi mtvU card, which is a card I actively use, and a Citi MasterCard that is carrying a 0% balance transfer that is set to expire in a few months.

Remove Cards From Your Account Online

Once the card the removed it should say “Account Alert: This account has been converted to a new number or was closed at your request. If you have any questions regarding your account, please contact our Customer Care Center.”

  • If you are signed up for All-Electronic, cancel that first (if not, skip to the next step). Switch to your card, then to to Manage My Account, Paperless Statements, then Cancel. You will have to Cancel your All-Electronic before you can remove the card from your account.
  • Next, go back to Manage My Account in the navigation bar, drill down into Update Personal Profile, and select Remove an Account. Select the card from the list and click submit. Confirm that you wish to remove the account and you’re done.

Winter credit cleaning at its best!

{ 6 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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6 Responses to “Consolidating Citi Credit Card Accounts”

  1. Mia says:

    Thanks very much, I’ve been wanting to do this.

  2. lulugal11 says:

    I was trying to do this with my American Express card but they would not allow me to transfer all of the limit of one card over. They said I had to keep a limit of $1000 on each card so I would lose that amount when consolidating my cards and I would have to close out that one card.

    I decided to keep the card open for now even though it is unused because I want to show available credit since I plan on applying for a 0% card soon and I do not want the big hit of closing a card off now.

  3. Cody says:

    While you’re on the horn with the credit card company anyway, and about to consolidate the cards, try a couple things first.

    One, mention that you want to close one of the accounts to see if they offer you a deal to stay. If they do, accept it, and then wait a couple weeks before consolidating. You can sometimes get a lower APR or promotional deal this way. Then a couple weeks later, consolidate the other card(s) to that one to keep the deal. If they don’t have a stay-on deal, say “How about instead of closing it, I just consolidate?”

    Two, just ask for a lower APR or fee waiver (if applicable) before saying you want to consolidate. CapitalOne often gave me something every 6 months, whether it be a limit increase, fee waiver, or lower APR. If they give it to you, wait a couple weeks and then conolidate to the better card.

  4. Mase says:

    I have 3 cards with Amex (2 personal cards — Starwood and Blue Cash — and 1 business card — Starwood). As I will not need/want the business card (or want to pay the annual fee when it is due after my free year), I looked into moving my credit lines. The best part was that I could move all but $1K (as lulugal11 noted) to my other cards. However, FIRST, I was able to increase my credit limit on my Amex Business and then transfer all but $1K over to my two personal cards. As I did not want a hard pull on my credit, I kept my increase request low (just $4K — anticipating putting $2K each over to my personal cards along with 1/2 of the remaining credit limit minues the $1K necessary). Thus, now my 2 personal cards have limits over $40K. Looks like I can do this again in about 30 days (increase my business limit, then transfer the increase over to my personal cards). As my business anniversary date is not ’til June, hope to ‘pump’ my personal limits up quite a bit before I get rid of the bidness card (as % of credit used is part of credit score).

  5. Do you know if you can do this for cards with different primary cardholders? I have a Div Plat with my wife listed as an authorized user and she has a Driver’s Edge with me as authorized user. We want to drop down to one card, but I’m not sure we can consolidate the credit lines because of the two different primary users. I just called Citi, but the CSR was totally clueless, and actually told me it’s impossible for people to consolidate cards under any circumstance (which I know isn’t true).

  6. Mahesh says:

    May be this is old…but for current visitors, Citi has discontinued the Credit Consolidation program due to the Card act 2009.

    I spoke to Citi and got a response about this.

    Just thought this will help visitors of this page.

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