To Close Or Not to Close (Your Credit Card Account)

Should you close your paid off credit card? |

Here’s a quick one for you today…

Hey, Anna!

I just paid off my highest interest credit card that I’ve had for over 10 years. I hear different things about closing cards completely—mainly that it would lower my FICO™ score to close it. What is your take on this?


To Close or Not to Close


Dear To Close or Not to Close,

I get this question a lot. It seems like it would be obvious to close your credit card account if you’re not going to be using it once it’s paid off but turns out, you actually should not close your credit card account. Credit scores consider factor such as how long you’ve had a credit card as part of how they evaluate what score you should be given. That means that if you close your credit card, paid off or not, that your credit score could get dinged. So, to answer your question, I would not close it. Don’t use the card, but don’t close it. So just go ahead and forget you even have it– except for when you review your credit report once a year.;)



What steps have you taken to get your credit card debt under control? 

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9 thoughts on “To Close Or Not to Close (Your Credit Card Account)

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  1. Mary

    I’ve had this same question for years. My husband and I have spent the last 3 years paying off credit card debt. We only have 4 more months to go before we’re done!!!! I still haven’t cancelled any of the cards because I didn’t want to hurt our credit before we buy our first house this fall. However we don’t want to keep all of the cards (all from before we were married so there are way too many!). Is there a time that is better to cancel and take the hit on our credit? Even if we’re not using them it’s just overwhelming to know that we have so many. I’m planning to wait until after we buy our house later this year but does anyone have any other tips?

  2. Julian

    So I was doing this myself… but recently called ExxonMobil to change the address of my very first credit card and they advised they closed the account due to inactivity. Then I called 2 other store cards to do the same and those accounts were closed as well due to inactivity. WTF! How much do you think this would affect my score if it’s my oldest account?

  3. Michelle

    I say keep the credit card if you know that you won’t fall back into credit card debt. However, if you know that you will go back into debt, definitely get rid of it.

  4. Nicole R.

    Does this apply to store credit cards too? Prior to marriage, my husband opened a Kohl’s credit card. We haven’t used it in about five years since we just don’t shop there anymore. I’ve been meaning to close it, but have held off, wondering if it would affect our credit score.

  5. Guylaine

    Beware of inactive fees.. credit card compagnies could charge $ if you don’t use your credit card… Read your credit card policies closesly!

  6. Carrie on

    We had upper 700s credit. (780ish). Opened another card and it shot up 30 points to 810. Go figure! I know it has something to do with the ratio of used credit to available credit, but it still boggles my mind that your score goes up with more accounts and down with fewer.

    (And before anyone worries, we are close to being debt free and got a 0% interest for 15 months card to use so we can pay off higher interest debt first and then tackle whatever wr put on the card
    I wouldn’t recommend others do this, but it works for us).

  7. Lisa

    This is in response to Mary. Do not make any changes prior to buying a house! We applied for a Lowes card before buying a house, but after the first credit check was done. It was a big deal to the mortgage company.

    1. Sandra

      Your credit is pulled again right before your loan closes. This is done to make sure you are not taking on additional debt that will make it harder for you to pay your mortgage. Additional debt can increase your debt ratios, which can cancel your loan. It’s a good point not to make any credit changes during the mortgage process. Your loan officer should tell you that upfront.


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