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When to close credit cards?

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  • When to close credit cards?

    We've been paying off a lot of consumer debt, and we have some credit cards with zero balances that are still open. I know that closing cards can negatively impact credit by reducing average credit length and by reducing % of credit used. But these are cards we will never want to use again and don't want to keep open. Anyone have thoughts on how the best timing to close them would be? All at once and take a hit to our credit score? Request credit limit increases on the cards we are keeping open and time closing the others with that? Or do it more slowly, maybe one every few months? Or just let them get closed for inactivity? We are renters, so it's important to us to keep our credit score in good standing for that; otherwise we won't have any needs for new credit in the foreseeable future. What would you do to get rid of the old accounts?

  • #2
    Originally posted by HundredK View Post
    Or just let them get closed for inactivity?
    This ^

    I have never closed a credit card account in my life. My credit score is 850 (out of 850).
    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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    • #3
      Personally, I'm one to just close unused accounts & be done with it. The minor hit to your credit won't be terribly significant or long-lasting, especially since it sounds like you're still going to be keeping a couple of accounts active. If all you need your credit for is to endure you can rent a place, closing a few credit cards will absolutely not get in the way of that.
      "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

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      • #4
        The hit you will take is usually minimal unless it's an old card with a high credit limit.
        Eventually it will be closed for inactivity, so you could just go that route if you're worried about it.
        Brian

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        • #5
          Originally posted by bjl584 View Post
          The hit you will take is usually minimal unless it's an old card with a high credit limit.
          Eventually it will be closed for inactivity, so you could just go that route if you're worried about it.
          See, I've never had that happen.... The one old, unused card I have kept is my oldest card with my primary bank, and I haven't used it in probably 3-4 years. How long does it take for them to close an inactive account? My wife had one that we forgot about for 4 years until they reissued new cards after the previous ones expired. We closed that one immediately. I've never had a card closed for inactivity.
          "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by kork13 View Post
            I've never had a card closed for inactivity.
            I've had numerous cards closed for inactivity over the years. I can't tell you how long it took and I think it varied from card to card but probably a few years on each.
            Steve

            * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
            * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
            * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by kork13 View Post

              See, I've never had that happen.... The one old, unused card I have kept is my oldest card with my primary bank, and I haven't used it in probably 3-4 years. How long does it take for them to close an inactive account? My wife had one that we forgot about for 4 years until they reissued new cards after the previous ones expired. We closed that one immediately. I've never had a card closed for inactivity.
              I don't really know. There doesn't seem to be any rules. I've had cards closed after a year of inactivity. I have another account that I haven't used in almost 10 years and it's still open the last I looked.
              Brian

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              • #8
                When I got the original loan for my house before I got married, I had cards on my credit inquiry that popped up and hadn't been used in years as the stores had gone out of business! I wouldn't even know how to close them. Probably still showing an active Sears and Penny's cards as well and we no longer have a Sears in our area (does anyone or did they all go down the drain?) and I think I haven't shopped at Penny's since I bought my wedding dress there over 17 years ago. The card that I am trying hard to pay off is going to become my business card. So that two other cards will no longer be having charges on them making them hard to pay off. So I will pay in full the one card as I pay off the others and then they will be done. I don't know about closing them though. We have a high credit ranking, which took a 10 point dose dive over a one-day late payment that came due on the weekend and I had missed seeing that it needed to be paid. Not quite as good as Steve's though
                Gailete
                http://www.MoonwishesSewingandCrafts.com

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Gailete View Post
                  When I got the original loan for my house before I got married, I had cards on my credit inquiry that popped up and hadn't been used in years as the stores had gone out of business! I wouldn't even know how to close them.
                  Credit cards aren't issued by the store itself. They are issued by a bank. So even if the store has closed, the bank still exists. If you still have the card, just call the customer service number listed on it. If you don't have the card or any paperwork associated with the account, you may be out of luck because you would probably at least need your account number.
                  Steve

                  * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                  * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                  * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I believe the credit report itself typically has the bank name, address, and phone number, and at least the last 4-6 digits of the account number. That should be enough to contact the bank to close it.
                    "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kork13 View Post
                      I believe the credit report itself typically has the bank name, address, and phone number, and at least the last 4-6 digits of the account number. That should be enough to contact the bank to close it.
                      Good point. Probably as long as you can identify the bank and identify yourself (SSN, etc.), you can probably take care of it.
                      Steve

                      * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                      * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                      * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I haven't even had the cards for years, I will need to do some investigating to figure out how to get rid of them.
                        Gailete
                        http://www.MoonwishesSewingandCrafts.com

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