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Do unused credit cards help or hurt you?

Regular Contributor

Do unused credit cards help or hurt you?

I have a total of 9 credit card at the moment. Only 4 of them have a balance. I am paying those 4 balances down everytime I get paid (so twice a month or so). All of the cards are at 0% APR right now. So, I really don't think that's too much of an issue at the moment.

 

The main reason half of my cards are not used, is because they are store cards. When away at college (9ish months a year...) I do not have access to those stores, and have no use for the cards. I believe they should all fall off within a year of them being issued. Therefore, one of them will be gone within the next 2 months.

 

The only good thing I can see about having these unused cards is that it keeps my total credit limit, and available credit higher. As well as helping to keep utilization low overall. Getting rid of the unused card would have the adverse effect, lowering total credit limit and available credit, but percentage utilization will rise.

I did the calculations and my total utilization would go from 3% to 7% if I closed al 5 unused cards, which I don't think is too terrible.

Anyways, back to the main question...do these unused cards help or hurt you/your credit score? Should I consider closing any of them? Thanks!

Scores & AAoA (9/2017): AAoA: 43 months | Capital One - 752 | Discover - 788
My Wallet: PNC CashBuilder $5000 (AU) | Sears Card $4250 | Macy's $600 | JCP $1000 | Sears MC $2001 | Victoria's Secret $1000 | Commence $5000 | QuickSilver $3000 | Discover IT Chrome for Students $8500 | Chase Freedom $7000 | Sheetz $6000
Last App: July, 2016
Message 1 of 9
8 REPLIES
Super Contributor

Re: Do unused credit cards help or hurt you?

Seems like SDing them would be the way to go here until you're able to get other cards you'll actually find more useful.

Total CL: Around $168,750 not counting hidden TLs. FICOs in the 700-730 range.

Main cards: Macy's Amex: $24k, Lowe's, $17k, Chase Sapphire Preferred: $7k, Chase AARP: $5.2k, Chase Freedom: $5k, Chase British Airways: $5k, Discover It: $1.5k, Barclays Arrival: $2.5k, Sam's Club MC: $8.5k, Stash: $8k, Sam's Club: $10k, Wells Fargo Propel: $8k, Paypal Smart Connect: $4.9k, Amazon Store Card: $6k, Cabelas Club Visa: $5k, Nordstrom: $5k, CapOne Quicksilver: $2k
Message 2 of 9
Valued Contributor

Re: Do unused credit cards help or hurt you?

If they don't have na AF, keep them open unless you can find a good reason to close them, open credit cards help your overall UTL, and will help your AAoA as you add new cards later on. True even if they are closed they still report for 10 years. But the sooner they are closed the sooner they will be removed off your file. So its better to keep them open, some financial planners say you should close 1 card a year if you really want to cut back so you don't all of a sudden have 10 old cards drop off your report in 10 years.

 

 

Cards: Chase Southwest 20k & CSR 10k & CSP 10k & Freedom 6.6k & Amtrak/Freedom 4.6k, FNBO DISC 25.1k Oregon Duck 5k, & AMEX BCP 15k & Hilton Surpass 7.5k & Delta Gold 6k & Zync NPSL, Fidelity AMEX 17k Commerce5.9k & Cash Forward 7.5k & Sams Club MC 10k, Paypal Extras MC 7.5k, CapOne Venture 15k, QS 2.5k, QS 750, Amazon 5.9k, Walmart 10k, Citi Simplicity 9k, Discover IT 16k and a nice stack of store cards.
Last APP/HP 5/15/2017 Marcus Loan. 30k
Message 3 of 9
Moderator

Re: Do unused credit cards help or hurt you?


TheSilentPen wrote:

I have a total of 9 credit card at the moment. Only 4 of them have a balance. I am paying those 4 balances down everytime I get paid (so twice a month or so). All of the cards are at 0% APR right now. So, I really don't think that's too much of an issue at the moment.

 

The main reason half of my cards are not used, is because they are store cards. When away at college (9ish months a year...) I do not have access to those stores, and have no use for the cards. I believe they should all fall off within a year of them being issued. Therefore, one of them will be gone within the next 2 months.

 

The only good thing I can see about having these unused cards is that it keeps my total credit limit, and available credit higher. As well as helping to keep utilization low overall. Getting rid of the unused card would have the adverse effect, lowering total credit limit and available credit, but percentage utilization will rise.

I did the calculations and my total utilization would go from 3% to 7% if I closed al 5 unused cards, which I don't think is too terrible.

Anyways, back to the main question...do these unused cards help or hurt you/your credit score? Should I consider closing any of them? Thanks!


You do need to have some zero balances for optimal scoring.   SD the cards for now.  

 

I'm a little confused on why you think the card will "fall off" after a year.   Open accounts remain on your CRs indefinitely; closed accounts remain on your CRs for ~10 years after account closure or (for some lenders) DOLA.     If you're concerned about accounts closing for inactivity, consider making a small purchase online.  



Start: 619 (TU08, 9/2013) | Current: 791 (TU08, 12/1/17)
Sam's Club MC $25000 | Marvel MC $25000 | Macy's AMEX $25000 | AMEX BCE $20400 | Discover IT $20000 | Macy's Store $20000 | Cap 1 QS WMC $17250 | BoA BBR #1 $17200 | JCP $15000 | Citi DC $12600 | Freedom VS $12000 | BofA BBR #2 $11800 | Disney VS $11500 | Care Credit MC $11200 | Cash+ VS $10500 | CashForward WMC $10000 | Barclay Rewards WMC $10000 | WCU Visa $10000 | Amazon Store $8000 | Blispay $7500 | Target MC $5000 | Sony Card $4250 | ~~Gardening Since 11/2/17
Message 4 of 9
Regular Contributor

Re: Do unused credit cards help or hurt you?


TheSilentPen wrote:

I did the calculations and my total utilization would go from 3% to 7% if I closed al 5 unused cards, which I don't think is too terrible.


They certainly don't hurt you. As you already said, they help with UTIL. Even then, if what you say above is true, even having them closed will have very little, if any, impact on your score imho.

Message 5 of 9
Senior Contributor

Re: Do unused credit cards help or hurt you?

I agree with what was previously stated, just SD the cards and keep them open. Online shopping to make a small purchase will ensure that the cards won't close. Hope this helps. Smiley Happy

Last App: 10/2/17
Gardening Until Further Notice
15 Credit Cards (10 Major Banks & 5 Store Cards)
No AF's/Overall Utilization Hovers around 4%
Message 6 of 9
Established Contributor

Re: Do unused credit cards help or hurt you?


jamesdwi wrote:

If they don't have na AF, keep them open unless you can find a good reason to close them, open credit cards help your overall UTL, and will help your AAoA as you add new cards later on. True even if they are closed they still report for 10 years. But the sooner they are closed the sooner they will be removed off your file. So its better to keep them open, some financial planners say you should close 1 card a year if you really want to cut back so you don't all of a sudden have 10 old cards drop off your report in 10 years.

 

 


+1. 

If they're making your wallet too fat ... put 'em in a drawer (safe).  You don't mention a pressing reason to close them.

FICO Scores: EX 733 (1/17/15) EQ 761 (1/17/15) TU 750 (1/17/15)
     
      
Message 7 of 9
Senior Contributor

Re: Do unused credit cards help or hurt you?


TheSilentPen wrote:

Anyways, back to the main question...do these unused cards help or hurt you/your credit score? Should I consider closing any of them? Thanks!


Consider the usual advice:  for optimal scoring allow only one balance to report at 10% or less.

 

Given that...

 


TheSilentPen wrote:

Should I consider closing any of them? Thanks!


Your call to make.  Consider the usefulness of the cards to you, any AF's, potential fraud and how well you'll be able to monitor the cards, etc in your decision making.  Scoring and utilization should factor in as well but they shouldn't be your only concerns.  You have to decide based on your priorities.  Some prefer to keep everything open.  Others don't.

 


TheSilentPen wrote:

Getting rid of the unused card would have the adverse effect, lowering total credit limit and available credit, but percentage utilization will rise.


There's really no "but" to it.  Lowering avaialble credit will increase utilization given that utilization =  balance(s) / limit(s).  That's the nature of that relationship.

Message 8 of 9
Highlighted
Regular Contributor

Re: Do unused credit cards help or hurt you?

Thanks for all the responses they were very helpful. I suppose that I will just SD; sock draw; them for the time being. My main concern was that they may somehow be hurting me by having them left open with little to no use. I was also unaware that closed cards would remain on the CR for up to 10 years, so that's good to know for the future.

Scores & AAoA (9/2017): AAoA: 43 months | Capital One - 752 | Discover - 788
My Wallet: PNC CashBuilder $5000 (AU) | Sears Card $4250 | Macy's $600 | JCP $1000 | Sears MC $2001 | Victoria's Secret $1000 | Commence $5000 | QuickSilver $3000 | Discover IT Chrome for Students $8500 | Chase Freedom $7000 | Sheetz $6000
Last App: July, 2016
Message 9 of 9