Even if you have a perfectly valid reason, believe it or not, simply closing a credit card could hurt your credit score. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal credit minute. If you do decide to close a credit card account, here are three ways to minimize that damage and speed your credit score’s recovery.

First, close the right card.

Avoid closing the cards you’ve had the longest, with the highest credit limit and the lowest interest rate and fees. These will have the largest impact on your scores.

Next, pick the right time.

Closing a card immediately before applying for a loan could cost you in higher interest payments. Don’t close it until after the loan is approved.

And lastly, manage your credit utilization ratio.

Request a higher credit limit from the cards you have left. If you’re planning to close a credit card account, you should pay down the balances on your remaining cards as well, since those balances may drag down your score. I’m Adam Levin. Come visit us at Credit.com and learn how to take control of your credit.