Does cancelling a credit card hurt your credit score? Many people often fear that cancelling that credit card they no longer use will harm there credit score. So what is the truth? Should you cancel that old unused card, or keep it? Here is the low-down:
Does Cancelling a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?
It is true that cancelling a credit card could temporarily lower your credit score rating by a few points. However, this is only going to be temporarily, and shouldn’t be too dramatic in most cases. In fact, I myself have closed over 10 credit cards or so in the last 10 years, and I keep a consistently high credit score.
As far as the credit history report, it will generally just show up that the account was closed. It will stay on your credit history report (including the balances you carried, if you paid it on time, etc.) for years afterwards. So don’t just close a card thinking it won’t show up on your credit report, it likely will for at least a few months, and probably several years.
Will Keeping a Credit Card Active Help Your Credit Score?
Generally speaking, the more companies that extend you loans, the better your credit will look to potential loan companies. So if you have a total of $20,000 in credit card limits (but don’t have any balance on the cards), this tends to help your credit score and improve your chances of getting loans.
It makes it appear as if you are credit worthy, and responsible with your money. Therefore, if you can exercise discipline and not run up your accounts, it may be a good credit move to keep old cards active and in a safe place, and simply never use them. Some people suggest shredding up the cards and never cancelling them. I would not do that, as you never know if anyone can piece the cards together and get your numbers. Instead, I would keep it in a locked drawer or safe place that only you or your spouse knows about.
Conclusion: To Cancel an Unused Card or To Keep it–that is the question!
If you don’t like the card and don’t plan on using it ever, ditch it. It may slightly lower your score, and then again, it may do nothing. I wouldn’t worry about it.
On the other hand, if you like the credit card, you may consider keeping it active and simply never using it. This way, you always have it there in case of emergency, and it will reflect well on your credit score rating.