I've been lurking around these forums trying to figure out if I could answer this on my own, but I feel like I'm in a predicament. I have 9 credit/retail cards. I've also been having trouble getting my credit score up as high as I'd like. TU- 682, EQ- 640, EXP- 673, no collections/bankruptcies, etc. I was unemployed about Months ago, was using about 80% of my $17,700 total credit, but always made payments. In the past Months, I've brought that down to $3000. Throughout that my score has improved, but it has fluctuated, at times even dropping and then increasing. My problem is I'm so overwhelmed by so many CC's that I just don't think I can practically keep up with using 10% on each one, especially when I really have no need for some of them. Here they are:
|National Tire & Battery (NTB)||600|
The Amex Clear & GM have been collecting dust, as well as BR & NTB.
Currently the only cards I have a balance on are: Discover IT: $700, Amex Blue Preferred ($50), & Hyatt ($300), (I'll pay those off this Friday when I'm paid), & Chase Freedom $1980 (0% interest till Oct, which is why I saved that to the end) . The Amex Blue is my oldest card (6+ years). All the other cards on their, believe it or not, are less than a year old. The Nordstrom visa is one where I'm actually an authorized user. I really want to close the Clear, GM Mastercard, NTB, Banana Republic..
Or, is it even the right the decision to close those?
Thank you so much for taking time to read this.
Rule of thumb is usually not to close if it doesn't have an annual fee.
Ok. But aren't I harming my score if I'm not using the cards? Or is it more detrimental if I close them?
It is not hurting your score to keep them open. If you leave them open it will help your UTL when you carry a balance.
Agreed with the above. No need to close the card unless it has an AF. If you don't care about the card, just let it sit unused, the bank might close it, but that's fine. If you want to keep the bank from closing the cards you don't use, just make a small purchase ~every 6 months and then PIF immediately.
If you are worried about problems keeping up with all the cards, have you tried different ways of monitoring them? Excel spreadsheets (more work for you, safer depending on how you feel about external sites) or something like mint.com? And you don't need to use 10% on all of them. A pack of gum or iTunes song, etc. every month or two is enough for most cards.
Welcome to the boards.
To provide some clarification for your statment, you do NOT have to use 10% of each one of your credit cards for a better credit score.
The rule of thumb is that you should have all of your cards reporting a zero balance except for 1 of them. To get the best score that one card should be reporting under 10% of your total revolving credit lines.
Now, it is different for each person, but someone between 1% and 9% reporting will give you the optimal score, but I don't worry about mine too much and just let mine report about 1%.
So, this means that you can pick the card that gives you the best rewards and just do your charging on that card and throw your other ones in the sock drawer if they do NOT have an annual fee.
If your card has an annual fee and you will not be using it, then you should consider closing it after the statement reports it's a zero balance.
For the cards that you will be keeping open, you can just pull them out the sockdrawer every 3 months or so, make a small charge on them and immediately make a payment, and then send them back to the sock drawer.
This will help you to manage which cards need payments on them and which ones do not.
Hope this helps.
Edit: b_seeker beat me to the response.
Definitely sock drawer the ones you don't intend to use.