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Too many credit cards

New Visitor

Too many credit cards

I'm a graduate student who shouldn't have listened to her mother when she was younger. She convinced me to open all these store credit cards and now I have way too many. I want to know if I should close these accounts, and how much it'll affect my score. I feel uncomfortable with so many floating around, especially since I don't use them. I have zero credit card debt and have never paid any bills late.

I have 5 active credit cards. 4 are store cards that I haven't used since the first time I got them. One credit card I use and will keep. I have 2 inactive credit cards, also from stores. My oldest account is from 2003, and it's a store credit card that's still active. My credit card that I actually use is from 2005, so it would become my oldest account if I were to inactivate the other one. What should I do? I've never looked at my credit report before today, so this is all new to me. Any input would be helpful.



Message 1 of 6
Epic Contributor

Re: Too many credit cards

I would keep at least 3 cards open and make sure to keep them active by using them at least 1 every 3 months.

The 2 that are currently inactive is probably safe to close those and you probably won't really loose points because you have no debt and does not sound like you will loose to much age.

Message 2 of 6
New Visitor

Re: Too many credit cards

Just to clarify- the 2 "inactive" credit cards that I alluded to earlier are actually closed accounts. I didn't realize there was a distinction. I closed those myself a year ago.


Also, with regards to the link mentioned below, I have no balance on any of my credit cards so even if I close a couple cards and my total limit goes down, my UTIL percentage (if I'm understanding this correctly) will stay at 0%

Message Edited by marylou on 02-05-2009 12:38 PM
Message 3 of 6
Moderator Emerita

Re: Too many credit cards

Before doing anything, you should read this: Closing Credit Cards


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Message 4 of 6
Established Contributor

Re: Too many credit cards

I guess on this board the use of the statement "5 active accounts" in combination with "way too many" will cause some scratching of heads Smiley Very Happy. OK, I know this is a subjective matter Smiley Wink.


Personally, I find the number "5" for credit accounts ideal, if you don't have anything else (mortgage, car loan). This gives you the opportunity to use 2 of them and still report less than 5 tradelines as used. If you have a car loan, you can still use one card with the same result.


I wouldn't close anything that doesn't cost any fees in your situation.

Message 5 of 6
Moderator Emerita

Re: Too many credit cards

I agree with the others.

As long as the cards don't cost you anything (fees, etc.), they are useful to your credit profile, because they are creating a portrait of you as a responsible consumer who can be trusted to handle well any credit extended to you.

And even though you are not particularly comfortable with having plastic, I would also urge you to open two bank cards (cards with the Visa/ MasterCard/ American Express/ Discover logos on them.) It's possible that one of more of the cards that you're calling store cards are co-branded cards: they have the store logo AND a bank card logo, one of the four previously mentioned. If so, then you're fine where you are.

If you'd like to see the profile of a conservative user of credit who has high credit scores, read this:

Expanded "FICO High Achievers" (scores of 760 and above) characteristics list

If you have two or three cards with bank logos and one or two that are pure retail cards (no bank logos), you will have a nice mix of revolving credit. Don't go get a loan to make your FICO scores happy, but when you do get an auto loan or mortgage, these will help as well.

Even if it seems pretty irrelevant now, there's a lot to be said for doing the groundwork that will put you into this elite status for future credit needs. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if, with an oldest account from 2003, you have at least one score at 760 or above already.
* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Message 6 of 6