Cancelling Your Credit Card: Good Idea or Big Mistake?
You've finally paid off that credit card balance that's been hanging over your head for far too long. Your immediate urge may be to cancel the card. But, before you grab a scissors consider these facts and how it may affect your credit score.
Your average length of credit history may be lowered by closing an account. Part of your credit score is determined by how long you have been borrowing. If you close a credit account that you have had for years in favor of newer credit accounts, this average length of credit history will likely be shortened.
You may raise your debt to credit ratio. One major factor in how lenders view your creditworthiness is the ratio of your balances on revolving accounts to your overall available credit. If you close a credit account, you reduce your overall available credit, likely causing your debt-to-credit ratio to rise.
Closing an account doesn't undo any damage. If you have any red marks related to your credit card — late payments, overspending, charge-offs — closing the card does not remove these from your credit records. Most negative entries will, however, fall off your report in seven years.
Consider whether your card has an annual fee. If your credit card comes with an annual fee you may be able to call the credit company and have it waived. Otherwise, if you don't want to pay annually for use of your card, cancel it.
Last but not least, never assume a creditor will simply close your account if you stop using it. Cutting up your card or stopping use does not automatically cancel your card.
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