When Should You Close an Old Credit Card?

Alicia Adamczyk | Source: LifeHacker

If you opened credit cards for certain purposes (like, say, an extra 20 percent off at the Gap), then you may have a few extra lying around that you’re wondering what to do with. You don’t use them—you’re more of Club Monaco girl now—but is closing them the smartest solution?

Not necessarily. For one, you could hurt your credit score, depending. That’s because your credit utilization and your credit history length will take a hit if you close a card.

Your credit utilization is how much of your credit limit you’re using, and it comprises 30 percent of your FICO score. Let’s say you have two credit cards: Your old Gap card, with a $500 limit, and a run-of-the-mill rewards card you use for most purchases, with a $3,000 limit. Your total credit limit is $3,500, but you should aim to use no more than 30 percent of that at a time, or $1,050 (and ideally you’ll top out at 10 percent credit usage). Keeping the Gap card open gives you a bit more wiggle room.

It’s the same with the length of your credit history, which comprises 15 percent of your score. The longer you’ve had a credit history, the better your score will be. So if your Gap card is from your college years, it’s wise to keep it open.

If you know you won’t be tempted to use them, and they don’t have an annual fee, then leave them open. If they do have a fee, try to negotiate. “Contact your credit card provider and see if they’ll waive the fee in exchange for keeping your account open,” suggests Credit.com. “Or, try to downgrade your card to a free option with the same credit limit.”

More at LifeHacker

If you opened credit cards for certain purposes (like, say, an extra 20 percent off at the Gap), then you may have a few extra lying around that you’re wondering what to do with. You don’t use them—you’re more of Club Monaco girl now—but is closing them the smartest solution?

Not necessarily. For one, you could hurt your credit score, depending. That’s because your credit utilization and your credit history length will take a hit if you close a card.

Your credit utilization is how much of your credit limit you’re using, and it comprises 30 percent of your FICO score. Let’s say you have two credit cards: Your old Gap card, with a $500 limit, and a run-of-the-mill rewards card you use for most purchases, with a $3,000 limit. Your total credit limit is $3,500, but you should aim to use no more than 30 percent of that at a time, or $1,050 (and ideally you’ll top out at 10 percent credit usage). Keeping the Gap card open gives you a bit more wiggle room.

It’s the same with the length of your credit history, which comprises 15 percent of your score. The longer you’ve had a credit history, the better your score will be. So if your Gap card is from your college years, it’s wise to keep it open.

If you know you won’t be tempted to use them, and they don’t have an annual fee, then leave them open. If they do have a fee, try to negotiate. “Contact your credit card provider and see if they’ll waive the fee in exchange for keeping your account open,” suggests Credit.com. “Or, try to downgrade your card to a free option with the same credit limit.”

Share the news with your friends!

PinIt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>