I don't think you can truly close an account with a balance besides closing it to further charges. I think as long as there is a balance, paying on or not, that it would affect utilization which could hurt your score but I am not 100% sure.
+1 The account would have to be fully satisfied to be properly closed.
WRONG guys... you can close it to prevent an APR decrease and continue paying it.. I've done that with Neiman Marcus and Chase (twice with Chase actually). It just reflects closed on your report and of course... it will still report the balance until you PIF. It just prevents you from making any add'l charges to the account.
oh.. and it doesn't affect utilization... either for your credit limit or balance part of util. I know this bc I've calculated my personal util percentages (with and without the closed account), and the balance I still owe on my old WAMU/Chase account never gets factor into my util, nor does the CL.
Now of course, on my recent approved recon with Chase.. they did ask why I still had a balance on an unpaid account haha, and my reason was that the int rate was so low.. lol 9.24%, that I was not in a hurry to pay it haha.