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Old Credit Card Accounts: How They Can Affect Your Credit Score

By Tim Van Dalsum

You may not know this, but a person’s credit score can be affected by a lot of different factors. One of these factors is how you handle your credit accounts. Old credit card accounts can be very detrimental to one’s credit score. If you have unused, unopened, or too many credit card accounts, then you may be hurting your credit score without even knowing it. Closing some of these accounts can be the difference between a poor credit score and an above average credit score. It’s important to note, however, that there is still potential to hurt your credit score by closing these old accounts. So make sure that you are familiar with the guidelines surrounding closing old credit account if you want to improve your score as much as possible.

Ideally your credit report will contain a nice balance of credit types, with less than fifty percent of your available credit limit being used. Too many credit card accounts can clutter up your credit report and harm your credit score, but there are some factors you need to consider before you determine which credit card accounts to close. Closing out extra accounts which are no longer used can offer many benefits. It is easier to keep on top of your available credit cards and statements, because there are fewer of them. Your credit report looks better and appears cleaner, and the amount of revolving debt you are carrying will be smaller so your chance of a loan approval is much better. In addition, keeping credit card accounts open that are no longer being used could cost you quite a bit in extra fees, and will increase the risk of becoming an identity theft victim.

Tips For Closing Old Accounts Without Hurting Your Credit Score

In some circumstances you should close out old credit card accounts, but always make sure to keep the oldest account open. Your credit score depends on many different factors, and one of these is the length of time that you have had credit available. The longer it has been since you had your first credit account the better it will be for your credit score. If you close out the oldest accounts and only keep new ones open then this could cause your credit score to drop. This happens because your credit report shows a shorter credit history of open accounts.

Another mistake is to close out many credit card accounts all at once. There is a far less chance of your credit score being affected if you close out these accounts over time instead, by closing one account every month or two, rather than closing out six accounts at once. Make sure that you do not close out too many accounts, so that you still have a reasonable number of cards available, because this is also necessary for an excellent credit score. When your credit report shows some open credit card accounts that have been used responsibly, your credit score is higher. Each credit card should have less than fifty percent of the available credit being used for the best possible ranking in this area.

Credit Card Consolidation: Proceed With Caution!

Consolidating a number of credit card accounts onto one card may seem like a good idea, because then you only have one account and one payment each month. In many cases, consolidating numerous card balances onto a single card can be a big mistake that can hurt your credit score and it should be avoided. When you combine all of your account balances together, and compare that with the credit limit of a single credit card, you may find yourself way above the fifty percent or less threshold that you are aiming for with your debt versus available credit limit. This may mean a much lower credit score.

It may not always be the case, but closing out old credit accounts can be a good thing for your score. Always remember though, if you make misinformed decisions when going about closing old accounts, your credit score is going to suffer. Just use these simple tips before making any decision on whether or not to close an old account. This will ensure that you are achieving the highest possible credit score according to all relevant factors. This will also ensure that you are closing your old accounts properly and not having your credit score being penalized for doing so.

Learn more about repairing your credit score. Stop by Quick Fix Credit Score where you can learn more tips and tricks for achieving that high credit score!

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Dalsum, Tim V. "Old Credit Card Accounts: How They Can Affect Your Credit Score." Old Credit Card Accounts: How They Can Affect Your Credit Score. 25 Jul. 2010. 8 Oct 2015 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Dalsum, T (2010, July 25). Old Credit Card Accounts: How They Can Affect Your Credit Score. Retrieved October 8, 2015, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Dalsum, Tim V. "Old Credit Card Accounts: How They Can Affect Your Credit Score"

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