You are constantly getting offered new credit card accounts but, it’s important to not have too many. If you open a new account because of a lower interest rate or a promotional offer, you should always close a current account you are no longer using or are replacing. Closing unwanted old credit accounts has many benefits including:
- Helps to keep track of credit cards
- Lowers the amount of revolving debt, helping you qualify for more loans
- Keeps your credit report cleaner
- Helps you avoid unnecessary fees
- Prevents identity theft
To help you understand what you should and should not do when closing old credit card accounts, here are a some dos and don’ts:
CLOSING YOUR CREDIT CARD ACCOUNTS DOs:
DO close unused and idle accounts – This prevents identity theft and being charged fees for unused cards.
DO cancel accounts with balances that you want to pay off – If you don’t want to use a card anymore that has a balance, you can close the account and just concentrate on paying off the balance.
DO be sure you still have several credit card accounts open – Creditors view signs of activity and responsible credit use positively.
DO always have one card designated for regular use and pay it off each month – This one card can be reserved for everyday spending while your other credit cards can be used for emergency or specific purposes, such as vacations, business trips, etc.
DO check your credit report – After closing an account, check your credit report to ensure that the accounts have been marked as closed and to determine whether there are any errors.
DO destroy any canceled credit cards – It is important to cut up closed credit card accounts by cutting through the account number.
CLOSING YOUR CREDIT CARD ACCOUNTS DON’Ts:
DON’T close your oldest credit card account – This could cause your credit history to appear shorter and could harm your credit score. Better to keep the account open and not use it or just use it infrequently. If you want to close it because of a higher interest rate, contact the credit card company to see about lowering the APR.
DON’T expect accounts to close automatically – The only way an account is closed is if you contact the credit card company and ask, preferably in writing, to close the account.
DON’T be pressured into canceling several accounts at once – It is better to gradually pay down and then close the accounts if you are unsure about the impact doing so will have on your credit score or you are uncertain as to the amount of debt you need to carry. You may need those credit cards again in the future.
DON’T over-consolidate balances onto one card – If your credit balances rise to above 50 percent of your available limits, you may see a drop in your credit score.
Remember, be smart when closing old accounts to ensure you get the best possible APR’s and benefits from your credit cards. If you have further questions about this, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices.