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Established Contributor
Posts: 721
Registered: ‎03-15-2008
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Should I combine credit cards?

I have a LOT of credit cards.  16 open ones.  For the most part, most of them came from a time where I was trying to get good BT offers/or I just didn't see the harm in getting credit cards. 

 

Now I'm not having problems managing them, I don't forget which cards I use and which I don't or when so and so's payment is due and when another's isn't, but 16 cards is a hassel.  And I'd like to find a way to lessen that number.  The oldest is almost 10 years old, the youngest is 1 day old.  The youngest was a stupid move on my part, as I was getting a hard inquiry from joining a CU, for a 5.09% APY checking account, and I felt like if I was taking the hard to join I might as well get something out of it besides the checking account, hence the new card.  

 

I don't want to close any of the accounts outright, but I would like to combine some of them when all my debt is paid off.  For example, I have 2 citi's -- exact same card, 2 BoA's, one is a MC and one is a Visa, and 2 Chase cards, 1 is Disney Rewards Visa and 1 is Platinum Visa, but I don't know if it will help or hurt my Fico as none the combining cards are brand new.

 

1 Citi is from 2000 and the other is 2006.  The one from 2000 has a higher limit, but the one from 2006 has the lower APR

 

The BoA Visa is from 2001 with a higher CL and a variable APR that started at 19.99 when I requested a lower APR and is now down to 16.74% and the BoA MC is from 2000 with a slightly lower CL and a fixed APR of 19.99

 

The Chase Disney Rewards is from 2005 with 9.99% APR, variable and a much lower limit than the Chase Platinum from Oct 2007, I think that will be at 9.99% when it starts charging interest, but it won't do that until Feb of 2009.  

 

I don't know what the new inquiry and new account will do to my scores, but I will be checking them at the earliest next week and maybe closer to Christmas at the latest, depends on if I can find a coupon for the cost of the new reports/scores.  I'm finally under 10% util, and that was before the new card, so I'm hoping it won't be a massive catastrophe.  

 

Additionally since I now have 2 cards from 2008, there was another stupid move in Feb.  I don't know why I let myself get talked into a Fashion Bug card when I rarely shop there.  Could combining some of my older cards actually backfire and sink my fico score?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

4/16/09: TU: 775, EQ: 805
2/11/09: TU: 773, EQ: 790, EX:790
11/16/08: TU: 773, EQ: 785, EX: 780
Goals for 2009: 0 Credit Card Debt & 0% Util (achieved 2/6/09), Mortgage! (achieved 11/2/09), getting closer to 800 scores (I crossed this earlier this year, but I'm sure I'm not there anymore!)
Regular Contributor
Posts: 208
Registered: ‎10-15-2008
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Re: Should I combine credit cards?

closed account stay on report and part of fico for 10 years. I would recommend combing and keeping the oldest account
Established Contributor
Posts: 721
Registered: ‎03-15-2008
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Re: Should I combine credit cards?

So then combining cards, even when one is 9 years old and one is 8 years old won't have an adverse reaction to my Fico's? 

 

And does anyone know if I will be facing hard inquiries from Citi, BoA or Chase for asking them to combine the accounts?  And keeping the lower interest rate?

 

 

4/16/09: TU: 775, EQ: 805
2/11/09: TU: 773, EQ: 790, EX:790
11/16/08: TU: 773, EQ: 785, EX: 780
Goals for 2009: 0 Credit Card Debt & 0% Util (achieved 2/6/09), Mortgage! (achieved 11/2/09), getting closer to 800 scores (I crossed this earlier this year, but I'm sure I'm not there anymore!)
Established Contributor
Posts: 721
Registered: ‎03-15-2008
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Re: Should I combine credit cards?

Does anyone know about the hard pulls?  Or have any other advice?
4/16/09: TU: 775, EQ: 805
2/11/09: TU: 773, EQ: 790, EX:790
11/16/08: TU: 773, EQ: 785, EX: 780
Goals for 2009: 0 Credit Card Debt & 0% Util (achieved 2/6/09), Mortgage! (achieved 11/2/09), getting closer to 800 scores (I crossed this earlier this year, but I'm sure I'm not there anymore!)
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2,791
Registered: ‎03-18-2007
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Re: Should I combine credit cards?


woopah wrote:
Does anyone know about the hard pulls?  Or have any other advice?

 

woopah, I can't imagine you'd get hard inqs for consolidating TL's, but definitely be very clear about NOT wanting one when you do talk to a CSR about it. 

 

Have you read the Closing Credit Cards thread stickied at the top of this board?  I think that'd be very useful to someone in your situation, in helping you decide which ones to close or combine or leave alone.

 

It's hard to give you detailed advice without know exactly what cards, CLs and balances you have, as well as each card's age.  Your overall and individual utils, card ages, how much you actually use a card, etc., all would factor in.

 

_____________________________________________________________________________
It's never too late to become the person you might have been. ~George Eliot

02/12/09 EX: 701 / 02/08/10 EQ: 719 / 02/08/10 TU: 723

Backdoor Numbers, Credit Scoring 101, Understanding Your FICO Score PDF
New Visitor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎11-12-2008
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Re: Should I combine credit cards?

I would recommend combining all of them into an intro 0% APR (6 months or more) so you get some breathing room. You may be more motivated to pay it down and the extra time can really help. Make sure you read the fine print though! Best of luck
New Visitor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎11-12-2008
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Re: Should I combine credit cards?

There are a few good 12 month balance transfer cards on apply for a credit card dot com. Good luck and I think that whatever you do, you should buy time - especially in this economy.
Established Contributor
Posts: 721
Registered: ‎03-15-2008
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Re: Should I combine credit cards?

[ Edited ]

Scamp wrote:

woopah wrote:
Does anyone know about the hard pulls?  Or have any other advice?

 

woopah, I can't imagine you'd get hard inqs for consolidating TL's, but definitely be very clear about NOT wanting one when you do talk to a CSR about it. 

 

Have you read the Closing Credit Cards thread stickied at the top of this board?  I think that'd be very useful to someone in your situation, in helping you decide which ones to close or combine or leave alone.

 

It's hard to give you detailed advice without know exactly what cards, CLs and balances you have, as well as each card's age.  Your overall and individual utils, card ages, how much you actually use a card, etc., all would factor in.

 


I have read the closing cards thread, and I know that closing a card affects util in the immediate, which if I was actually combining the cards wouldn't matter because my util would stay the same.  And then overall age history in 10 years when the CC falls off.  But I don't know how the age history will be affected by the closing of cards that aren't brand new when they do fall off.  I would think that if I get no new cards, in ten years when the CC falls off I might be okay, but I just don't know.  

 

Overall util = 6.46%, 15 open credit cards, $100,300 CL, currently used: $6,481.92

 

The bold lines are TL's I'd like to combine.

 

1. Capital One: $500 CL, $0 bal, from 1999

2. Citi: $10,500 CL, $0 bal, from 2000

3. BoA MC: $11,700 CL, $1233.37 bal, from 2000, will be paid off on Friday - 10.5% util

4. BoA Visa,  $13,900 CL,$0 bal, from 2001

5. Disc, $6800 CL, $138.55 bal, from 2002, will be paid off no later than 12/19 - 2% util

6. Chase, $4500 CL, $0 bal, from 2005

7. Commerce Bank: $9,500 CL, $0 bal, from 2005

8. Citi: $4,500 CL, $0 bal, from 2006

9.Classic Oak: $6,000 CL, $0 bal, from 2006

10. HSBC Best Buy: $4,400 CL, $0 bal, from 2007

11. CHF Wells Fargo: $3,500 CL, $0 bal, from 2007

12. HSBC MC:$1,000 CL, $0 bal, from 2007

13. Chase: $13,000 CL, $5110 bal, from 2007 will be paid off 2/6/09 - 39.3% util

14. Fashion Bug: $500 CL, $0 bal, opened 2/2008

15. CU Visa: $10,000 CL, $0 bal, opened 11/2008

 

 

Closed Cards: 

Citgo: closed sometime around 2003 due to inactivity, opened 1999

Phillips 66: closed sometime around 2003 due to inactivity, opened 2000

Wachovia: closed sometime between 2002-2005, opened 2000?

Kmart Cap 1: closed sometime between 2002-2005 opened 2000?

Lane Bryant: closed 2008, opened 2001?

Wells Fargo: closed the same month of opening 2008 because I did not want to open it

 

 

 

So the oldest cards are from 1999-2001, one in 02 and then no cards until I started trying to get BT's to pay down the debt in 2005-2007.  If I combine those cards I will be combining a 7 and 8 year old TL's, a 3 and 1 year old TL's, and an 8 and 2 year old TL's.  That's where I don't know how that's going to affect the age of my TL's.  

 

I would like to try to combine the two Citi cards soon, since they're both at a $0 bal, but would wait on the BoA and the Chase cards until they're both reporting at $0.  I do use my Discover card more than any of the others, for the cashback, but for the most part I'm only using the cards to keep them active.  The reason I want to condense those cards is because I don't want them to close for innactivity, but to try and keep 13 cards active every few months is where the hassel comes in, and even getting the number from 15 cards to 12 would be easier.  

Message Edited by Scamp on 02-02-2009 12:57 PM
4/16/09: TU: 775, EQ: 805
2/11/09: TU: 773, EQ: 790, EX:790
11/16/08: TU: 773, EQ: 785, EX: 780
Goals for 2009: 0 Credit Card Debt & 0% Util (achieved 2/6/09), Mortgage! (achieved 11/2/09), getting closer to 800 scores (I crossed this earlier this year, but I'm sure I'm not there anymore!)
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2,791
Registered: ‎03-18-2007
0

Re: Should I combine credit cards?

Sorry it took me a bit to get back to you, woopah.

 

If I remember right, card ages are calculated in months, so without your exact TL opening dates, I can't give you an exact calculation of where your AAoA will end up; however:

 

If you do your consolidations by keeping the older of each of the pairs of cards you want to combine, it looks to me like the change to your AAoA would be an improvement leaving you with a few more older TLs than you have now.

 

 

_____________________________________________________________________________
It's never too late to become the person you might have been. ~George Eliot

02/12/09 EX: 701 / 02/08/10 EQ: 719 / 02/08/10 TU: 723

Backdoor Numbers, Credit Scoring 101, Understanding Your FICO Score PDF
Established Contributor
Posts: 721
Registered: ‎03-15-2008
0

Re: Should I combine credit cards?


scapegrace13 wrote:

Sorry it took me a bit to get back to you, woopah.

 

If I remember right, card ages are calculated in months, so without your exact TL opening dates, I can't give you an exact calculation of where your AAoA will end up; however:

 

If you do your consolidations by keeping the older of each of the pairs of cards you want to combine, it looks to me like the change to your AAoA would be an improvement leaving you with a few more older TLs than you have now.

 

 


Thank you! I have no idea what the month the TL's were opened, with the exception of those opened in 2007-2008.  

 

I'm going to try Citi and BoA in December, since all 4 cards will be at zero balances and depending on the success with those will then try Chase in March 09 when that card is at zero.  

 

Thank you!

4/16/09: TU: 775, EQ: 805
2/11/09: TU: 773, EQ: 790, EX:790
11/16/08: TU: 773, EQ: 785, EX: 780
Goals for 2009: 0 Credit Card Debt & 0% Util (achieved 2/6/09), Mortgage! (achieved 11/2/09), getting closer to 800 scores (I crossed this earlier this year, but I'm sure I'm not there anymore!)
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