Closing unused credit cards

Hi. What is the most responsible way to close out credit lines? Is having only one card the way to go?


I think if you are going to close a card, just calling the company is probably the way to go as they will be able to let you know the exact process.

Having only one card may be the way to go for some, I guess it really just depends on your personal financial situation.

Having multiple cards can be helpful on your credit score which is helpful in other financial situations (buying/renting a house etc.)

However, for some people, having multiple cards puts them at risk of making bad financial decisions and therefor for them it might not be a good idea.


Totally agree with Moore Income. if you are looking to increase your credit score (buying a house or car) then you may want to look at keeping them open, but paying them off.

If it’s challenging to have them and not spend on them, then closing them may be the best option.


I agree with the above. I like to have a Visa & a Mastercard, just incase one of the systems isn’t working, then I’m not stuck.

However, having too much ‘revolving credit’, even if you aren’t using it can hurt your credit score & chances of a mortgage because you do have the potential to use up that credit amount.

I’m not currently concerned about my credit limit, credit score, etc & closed an old card. I called the number on the bill & asked to close the account. The customer service agent did tell me about other cards they offered but I’m not interested and just wanted to close the account. They are actually mailing me a cheque for 28cents that I had on it from the cash back rebates that they offer. I know it is costing them more than that to process & mail me a cheque!

I have always been told not to close them but I have a lot out there that I never use, especially department stores. My credit score has dropped from a 735 to 670 since last September when I bought my house. I got sick right after moving in and basically have been sick for 8 months, no thanks to my primary care doctor. But now hat I’m feeling better I’m able to get back to watching what I spend and budgeting and organizing my house. YesterdayI checked my credit score and saw it had dropped radically. Will it matter at this point if I close some of them or will it drop my score even more? It’s been a heck of a year so far.

CCLEWTER, As long as you’re not tempted to use them, don’t close them. It will reduce your credit used to credit available and could cause your credit score to drop more. Just keep paying as much as you can on time and your credit score will start to rise back up. I’m so glad you’re feeling better and can now get your financial life back on track too.


@charlottel Closing them will drop your score even more. If they are not being used but also not costing you anything to have, I would say your best bet is to keep them.

Thank you for all your replies. Sounds like I am right just to let them ride since they’re not a temptation and do not have any annual fees. I hate paying on them and if I ever get the 2 that I have paid off I am going to hopefully save those payments for when a major repair is needed on the house and not have to borrow to repair something.


Do Not close unused credit cards!!! IF they are paid off just leave them alone. On your credit file, IF you close a credit card, it effects your credit rating number worse than not closing it.

1 Like

Also, if you are tempted to use the credit card you have paid off… use it, but only use 30% of your credit limit. This will help your total Credit Card Utilization number which is part of your credit score. (Keeping your credit cards with a 30% balance of the credit limit will also improve your overall credit score quickly. ).

1 Like

I have an 823 credit score right now, with several unused cards with high limits. I am now retired and realize that I could never qualify for these cards at this stage in life. We use one card for travel, etc. but pay it off in full, monthly. I would recommend keeping your cards if you can withstand the temptation and you’re not paying a high annual fee.


@any Thank you. Never knew about the 30% rule.

1 Like

Jaycee posted:

Hi. What is the most responsible way to close out credit lines? Is having only one card the way to go?

The answer depends on your status. Meaning your age, are you planning on buying a home, or are you close to retirement and can afford to close accounts without the repercussion of it reflecting on your credit report. Also are the cards paid in full or was there a settlement? Your credit report will reflect negatively if there was a settlemen .

If you plan on making a big purchase consider not making any changes to your credit report.

Yes & No. Yes, If you are fixing to purchase a home it’s NOT a good idea to open up a new account of any kind or charge on a charge account. It’s like the financial institutions expect you to STOP living once you make that commitment to put a contract on a home. Life stands still while you wait to see if you are approved. I do know people that purchased furniture on credit with a payment that didn’t start for years down the road. But because they put that financial burden on themselves they could not approve for a home.

Responsible use of a credit card is Great but the credit bureaus will estimate your overall usage reported towards your Credit Card Utilization. Whatever the total due is takes away from your score. They report if there has been an increase or decrease. IF you are able to pay them off every month down to the 30% owed then you are Great !!!

For instance you have a credit card with a $300.00 limit. 30% of this card is $90.00. $90.00 needs to be the credit card balance after you make your payment for the month. I know it sounds stupid but mark my word. Do this for about 3 to 6 months & pay all your bills on time & you will have a 740 credit rating afterwards or higher. (Factoring in the total amount of debt that that person has) IF you live beyond your means, don’t worry, they can see it !!


My score goes up even more if I keep my ratio to under 10%. But definitely, it should be under 30%.


I keep several credit cards, with no balance kept on any of them, therefore I pay no interest. The main one is a rewards card, so I get a rebate on what I spend on that card. I use the other store cards when they have a sale and you get rewards or a discount for using the store card, but I always pay the bill in full when it comes in. Our credit score has always been excellent.

We couldn’t always use credit this way, but after working on keeping our expenses down and paying off credit cards, we take this approach to make our modest retirement savings last as long as we do. I am always looking for ways to save money.

1 Like

Yes I changed All of my credit accounts to rewards cards. Any kind of incentive & reward is in your behalf. Especially if retired. I save coupons & make sure I get all the over 55 rewards I can at restaurants etc. ( Which I used to call …old folks coupons , when I was younger ). Now I’m there myself I see what my Parents were doing.

Another thing retired or not retired folks can do is when you eat out save the receipt. There are surveys you can take & in return they will give you a free sandwich if you write the survey # down at the end. These free sandwiches etc help keep you on budget if you are ending the end of a month or you are just broke & don’t have enough cash to last. Especially in college they come in handy.


Thanks. Great ideas!

Hi, I found that closing my credit card accounts lowered my credit score by 30 points. It also decreased my credit history of how I had paid and been with the companies. It may be in your best interest to put the cards up & not use them. Or check with the company(ies) to see if you can place them on hold.

I would not ever close a card unless it has a yearly fee and you’ve talked to the credit card company or bank and asked if they would wave the yearly fee due to your good history with the card. If you have a hard time with the temptation of using any cards put them in a ziplock baggie and fill another zip lock freezer baggie with water and freeze them. For one you won’t have them on your person when your out shopping & two you would have to think twice before thawing them. Be strong

Really though if you are not able to stay under the 30% usage then you may not be responsible enough to have credit cards in the first place. I say this with no judgement due to my irresponsibility in the past with not thinking about the ramifications. If you have a weak moment you know yourself well enough that it will multiply into more weakness’s

I really wish that there was a class in high school that would have taught me how to balance a check book, have a budget, & how important your credit is. There are many other life skills that we should have been taught so we wouldn’t get into a money mess. Be thankful if your parents taught you. I wish mine did. Good luck to you ?