Credit Cards Can Only Be Closed by Notifying The Credit Card Company

There are two ways to look at surplus open credit card accounts.  While closing open credit card accounts may increase your debt utilisation ratio which in turn might have a negative effect on your credit score having too many unused credit card accounts may cause problems in approval of application of future loans.  A lender might find it objectionable that you already have a large amount of revolving credit available to you on numerous credit card accounts even though they might be old and unused.
Even if you have paid off the balance on your old credit cards and have not been using them they might still be getting reported on your credit report.  In order to close a credit card account you have to notify the lender.  Otherwise these accounts will reflect in your credit report as open.  If a lender raises objection to the number of open credit card accounts then you should write an application to your existing lender to close the old credit card accounts that are still open.
“Paid” and “closed” are two different account status. While you’re old credit card accounts may be paid they are not necessarily closed till you specially request the creditor to close them for you.
As already mentioned you should make a note of the fact that closing credit card accounts may have an adverse impact on your credit score.  If you already have a good credit score with plenty of other positive data on your credit report then it’s possible that closing extra credit accounts will not impact your credit score so severely and will make your application more favourable in the eyes of the future lenders.
Even if the balance on a credit card is zero account is still open and active.  The lender could have a problem with this as you could make a charge to these accounts anytime that you wanted to and incur further debt which could interfere with your ability to make the payment on a new loan.
In order to judge which credit card accounts you can close without impacting your credit score too much you should order a credit report and a credit score from the National credit bureau.  The advantage of ordering a credit score from a credit bureau is that you get a complete explanation of the factors that are impacting your credit score positively as well as negatively.  This will enable you to choose and decide which credit cards you should close.