Close accounts

Question: My wife and I have two credit cards which we don't want anymore. We never use them and we pay 5.00 per month on one of them.

We would like to close them, but have been told it would negatively affect our credit. Is this true? David, Indianapolis, IN

Answer: The operating assumption is that canceling the cards will ding your credit score, although the vagaries of the credit scoring business is that it isn't always the case. But let's assume it lower your credit score a bit for awhile. So what?

Remember, even after closing the accounts if you have a positive payment history it will inform your credit score for the next 10 years. Of course, that means if you have negative credit information it will depress your score for the following 7 years.

Now, lets get to your question: You say that you no longer want the credit cards. In that case I would get rid of them. Forget about the credit score. I believe in doing what's right for your finances and not waht is in the interests of the credit industry.

I've laid out my argument about closed accounts and credit scores a number of times on the Getting Personal site. For instance, here's is a post that offers more details about the timing on closing accounts. I also wrote my thoughts on credit scoring here:

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...