Is it a good idea to close credit cards I'm not using?

Soljose
New Member

I would like to close 2 credit card for a total of combine credit of 16,000 that has been in zero for almost 1 year. Reason for this is that I have a new credit card with a credit limit of 19,000 at a lower rate. Is this a smart move? Thinking in buying a second home in about 2 years.

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Answers (1)

Answers (1)

Hi Soljose,

 

Thank you for your question. Closing credit accounts can be tricky. In some cases, closing an account may not have any negative impact on your credit score. In other situations, it could. Since you are planning on buying a home in the next two years, we will want to be careful. Here are a few things to consider:

  • The amount of credit you owe. The second largest factor in a credit score is the amount of credit used versus the amount available, also known as utilization. Increasing utilization by closing available credit limits is often the biggest concern with closing an account. Since it sounds like you have a zero balance on both cards, and the new card has a higher available limit, this may not be a concern for you.
  • The average age of your credit accounts. While closing credit accounts will not immediately remove them from your credit report, they will eventually fall off. If the cards you are closing are accounts you have had for a while, then closing them could eventually reduce the average age of your accounts.
  • Account fees. If the accounts you are considering closing have annual or monthly fees, and you aren't gaining any benefit from using the cards such as rewards, then you have to weigh whether or not any potentially negative impact to your credit is worth continuing to pay the fees. 

Assuming you are not paying any annual or monthly fees to keep the accounts open, then you may want to consider leaving them open and just setting them aside. This will prevent any potentially negative impact to your credit score. You might also consider using the cards periodically to keep them active and reporting positive payment history. I still have the first credit card I ever opened while in college. I have my alarm company bill to it every month, and then I pay it off in full. I don't carry the card in my wallet or use it for anything else, but I keep it active so that it continues to report positive payment history and the creditor doesn't close the account on me for being inactive for too long.

 

Navigating through the windy road of credit scores can be challenging, but USAA is always here to help with advice and services like CreditCheck.

 

Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

 

Thanks,

Mikel