Should You Keep Credit Cards Open?

We are in the process of paying off our final credit card debt. We started  with five cards and have one card left (first four were paid off with an accident settlement).

Recently we heard someone say that keeping paid off credit cards open helps our credit score for longevity.  One  of our paid off accounts has been open for thirty years.  Right now our credit score is excellent and want to keep it this way since we know we'll have to replace our car in the next 1-2 years!!    

Is it wise to close each account as it is paid off, or is it really better for your credit score to keep some of them open? Or is it best to just close the accounts except for maybe one (which we pay every month) after they are all paid off?   My husband I have had multiple discussions about this topic and we do not agree how many cards should be left open. 

I really appreciate your help and guidance in this matter!


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    • Melissa
    • Routinely questioning every assumption I have about my budget, my spending, and my savings habits.
    • todays_mel
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    General rule is keeping unused cards open is better for your credit standing, but there are some situations where this might not be the best option. This article is a good starting point on the pros/cons (which you can compare to your own financial situation). It's from Experian (one of the major credit reporting bureaus):

    You can also do a web search to research the topic further.

  • Keep them open and use them every month or two for something small so they don't close them for you due to inactivity.  Your credit will drop otherwise.  I closed them because I was trying out Dave Ramsey's advice and I regretted it pretty quickly.  However, my newer credit cards have better rewards anyways, so at least I got that improvement out of it.

  • If you truly feel the need to close some of the accounts, you should close ones that either have annual fees that aren't offset by rewards or your newest account(s). Do not close your oldest account.

      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Even most annual fee cards have a no-fee version you can downgrade to in my experience.

  • I have one card with a major bank that I keep open just so when I go into the branch to get laundry quarters and they ask me, "Are you an account holder?" I can say, "Yup."

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