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close unused credit cards or keep open?
Old 03-06-2007, 12:11 AM   #1
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close unused credit cards or keep open?

my 0 percent card has run it's course and now is not of much use to me. i use my amex for most purchases and pay off the balance and use the other card for whoever doesn't take amex. i don't like using debit because someone got into my account once and that was enough to scare me off using that one.

sooo.. i want to open another new card at lower interest - current one is about 14%...even though i will not carry a balance 90% of the time, once in a while for a big purchase i keep a balance for a few months.

anyhoo- i keep hearing conflicting advice about closing unused cards - some say it will hurt your credit to close the account?, others say to pay them off and close them...

i want to open a new one w/ lower interest rate (trying to find one of the 0% forever ones...) i also have two other cards that i haven't used much for about a year so don't know if i just cut it up or call them and close?

what's the consensus here?
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?
Old 03-06-2007, 06:31 AM   #2
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?

Close it, although your credit score is based on how much approved credit you have,
ie total credit card limit being one part, but don't worry trying to improve your credit score
unless your just out of college or fresh from a bankruptcy, and need to build it up. Once
you gotten (and been paying off) your school loans, car loan, mortgage, utility bills, etc
you credit score is more than high enough.
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?
Old 03-06-2007, 06:58 AM   #3
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?

It depends. If you are young, have few other credit cards, and are working to establish a fantastic FICO score, then I would not close it. If you are established with a FICO above 740 and lots and lots of credit cards, a mortgage, ... and no need to worry about your credit score, then I would close it. It's pretty clear that closing old, long-held cc's dings your credit score a few points, but who cares if you are well along in the game?
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?
Old 03-06-2007, 08:45 AM   #4
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?

keep open if you are gaming for 0% balance transfers....many cards you can move your limit from existing cards to the new 0% offer cards...
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?
Old 03-06-2007, 09:31 AM   #5
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?

Keep them open if they are your older cards and you want to keep your utilization percentage down.
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?
Old 03-06-2007, 10:24 AM   #6
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?

Ok............I have a question. If you don't have any CC debt, and your mortgage is up to date, and you are on the path to FIRE, who cares how much credit limit you have??

I suppose having one card would be ok. I used to have 5 credit cards..........none of them was being used..........

I have been closing ONE a year, and seeing how that affects my credit rating............so far, not a big drop at all...........staying steady.

I would not close ALL at once.........that WILL drop your score.............
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?
Old 03-06-2007, 10:42 AM   #7
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?

If it's a new card, cancel it. If you've had it for many years, I'd keep it open. There's one Visa card I almost never use that I've had for 16 years. I'd close it except that it would really hurt the average time my accounts have been opened, which would slam my FICO.

The funny thing is, I almost never use it and they keep increasing my credit line which now up to $20,000.
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?
Old 03-06-2007, 11:08 AM   #8
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FinanceDude
Ok............I have a question. If you don't have any CC debt, and your mortgage is up to date, and you are on the path to FIRE, who cares how much credit limit you have??
Here's one reason to care:

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/mess...hreadid=477214

If you had left those accounts open, your credit score may have gone up instead of staying steady. Only matters if you want your score high for some reason.

OP, you might want to call the card issuer and ask them politely to lower the interest rate. Mentioning other offers you have for lower interest rate cards would probably work well. The other thing you might consider is asking them to convert the card to a different card from the same issuer that you like better.

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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?
Old 03-06-2007, 12:00 PM   #9
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondCor521
Here's one reason to care:

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/mess...hreadid=477214

If you had left those accounts open, your credit score may have gone up instead of staying steady. Only matters if you want your score high for some reason.

OP, you might want to call the card issuer and ask them politely to lower the interest rate. Mentioning other offers you have for lower interest rate cards would probably work well. The other thing you might consider is asking them to convert the card to a different card from the same issuer that you like better.

2Cor521
Before I started my "experiment", my FICO was 795. Now, It's 792.................so am I becoming a deadbeat
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?
Old 03-06-2007, 12:01 PM   #10
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?

I have one open card I'd close, except for the credit score aspect. Actually, it probably wouldn't really matter in my case. I just save the paperwork in the safe and shred the card.
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?
Old 03-06-2007, 12:31 PM   #11
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FinanceDude
Before I started my "experiment", my FICO was 795. Now, It's 792.................so am I becoming a deadbeat
At 792 you're probably OK. It's marginal, but I think you'll get by ;-)

I have no clue what my score is now. I'm in the midst of stoozing about 92K, so it's probably dropping like a stone.

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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?
Old 03-06-2007, 02:29 PM   #12
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?

my score is ok - i think 730 something 2 years ago and no problems since then.

we may need good score - not soon - like 5 or 10 years if we decide to buy a house... but other than that, don't see other need.

but if i find the 0% forever it shouldn't be an issue anymore...

i did just get a really great report from my hsbc card that broke down all my purchases by classification - but not enough to keep the high rate
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?
Old 03-06-2007, 09:29 PM   #13
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?

Closing the CC might reduce your credit score somewhat but not enough to affect your ability to get a low rate in any hypothetical loan.
What I would most concerned about is you probability of having your card numbers or your ID stolen. The more account numbers you have out there the higher the risk. You also are spending time looking at the monthly report, paying them, and other possible aggravations.
I personally would play it safe and close them all. I have had the same CC since 1985 and don't plan on changing.
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?
Old 03-06-2007, 09:40 PM   #14
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Re: close unused credit cards or keep open?

One good thing about keeping long-standing credit cards open is that sometimes you get special offers. These are the ones that I have remembered:

Discover has given me nominal amounts twice, about $5 or $10, to spend a small amount over 2 months or so
Costco Amex gave me $25 to spend $1500 outside of Costco in about 2 months
Chase offered me double points for spending similar amounts

All of these were cards I had but was not using. I earned the extra rewards with all of them.
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