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Old, Unused Credit Cards: to Close or Not to Close??

2013/02/04 by editor

So, silly story, but I recently cleaned out my wallet and realized that I have a LOT of cards in that thing– frequent shopper cards, gift cards, credit cards, random business cards. I thought, okay, let’s clean this baby out and just keep the essentials. After throwing away all the unimportant junk I sat down and evaluated my credit card situation. Eying my Gap card, I asked myself when the last time I used it was? I couldn’t even remember at time, it’s been years. Now, let me ask you this question: if you had a credit card, that hadn’t been used in years, what would you do with it? If you said cancel it, you need to keep reading this article. I hopped on Mint.com to set the record straight, because I already knew that it probably wasn’t in mine or my credit score’s best interest to close it, but I wanted to figure out what I SHOULD do with it. Fortunately, financial wizards that they are over at Mint.com, they did have a wonderful answer by way of John Ulzheimer:

““John, I have a question about credit cards. I have three cards: two Visas and one American Express. I’ve been thinking lately that there really is no need for two Visa cards and that maybe it hurts me to have that much credit open (available). Should I consider closing one? If so, does that delete the excellent credit history on that card?”

Answer: Excellent question. There’s far too much bad advice floating around on the Internet when it comes to credit cards, credit reports and credit scores. This post won’t add to that.”

Click here to read Ulzheimer’s great, factual and helpful advice on what to do with an old, unused but open credit card.

So there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth. Well, not really the mouth of a horse, but certainly the mouth of a highly credible and knowledgeable financial source. Take it from John if you are thinking about closing a line of credit: it could honestly do you more harm than good to close it. If you’re thinking, what? How is that possible?? Backtrack, and review all of the reasons that John lists in his article.


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