The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

This content is not provided by Citi. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the Citi.

Citi is a advertising partner.

News: Downgrading a High Annual Fee Credit Card -

When after taking a look at the cards you hold, you decide to close the one with the highest annual fee, don't act too fast. You might be able to downgrade your expensive credit card to the one with a low fee or no annual fee at all and prevent your credit score from significant drop.

Downgrading a credit card means switching to another card with a lower or no fee that is issued by the same issuer. When you downgrade or change your credit card, the issuer won't close your existing card account and your online login information will also remain the same. Since there will be no account change, there shouldn't be new inquiry on your credit report, which is great as it will minimize impact to your credit score.

While you can save on annual fees by downgrading to a lower tier credit card, there are some drawbacks. Your new, cheaper credit card will most likely have fewer benefits and lower rewards. You may also not qualify for a welcome bonus offer. Plus, your credit limit might be lowered, which may impact your credit utilization ratio and, therefore, your score may change.

If you are absolutely positive about downgrading your credit card, then you need to make sure you can downgrade. Most issuers allow changing the card after you've had it for a year or more. Also, downgrading is usually possible within a single card family like Membership Rewards cards from American Express, ThankYou® cards from Citi, or Venture cards from Capital One. It is always worth calling the number on the back of your card and ask for your options.

Once you have one or two credit card options in mind to downgrade to, you can act. To kick-start the downgrading process, you need to call your issuer at the number shown on the back of your card and make a request. When you talk to a customer service representative, say that you would prefer to keep your current account open and do not want to close it. Then you will need to wait until you see the change in your online account. Make sure all information, including fees and interest rate, is correct in your account. Your new card should arrive in the mail within about ten business days. Once you've received your new card, activate it, and it is ready for use.