Ask Money

Canceling Credit Cards

Chris Farrell Apr 24, 2008

Question: I would like to cancel some of my credit cards that I no longer use. I’m concerned about identity theft, and about fees charged on cards even if they’re not used. Is there any reason I shouldn’t cancel these cards? Thank you! Dennise, Santa Cruz, CA.

Answer: In the perverse world of credit scoring, closing these accounts will lower your overall score for awhile. I still think it’s smart to get rid of the accounts for the reasons you mention. So, if you have a major purchase coming up in the next year, say, a home or a car, I would hold getting rid of the credit card accounts until after you’ve borrowed money to buy a car or home. You’ll get a better interest rate this way. Once the purchase is behind you, cancel the cards. Of course, if there isn’t a big borrowing in your near-term future, get rid of them right away.

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