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Close old AMEX account


Close old AMEX account

Have had AMEX card since 1967 with about $50 annual fee.  It's due for renewal soon and am thinking of dropping it since I haven't used it for anything in years and am concerned that if I tried to use it would be denied; back when I originally got it it was useful in Europe but with ATM's all over the place, not so much anymore. 


It is my oldest card (41 years).  Average age of accounts 16 years.  Currently have high FICOs (EQ 800; TU 788; EX 807), utilization 4%, no baddies, no AA.


Will my FICO take a hit if I close it?


Message 1 of 16
Valued Contributor

Re: Close old AMEX account

Welcome to the forum, JudyF!


Depends on how many other cards you have and when they were opened.  Since there is a wide spread between oldest account and AAoA, this info is critical for receiving an accurate response.


For instance, if you currently have only 2 other cards, and they were opened in or after 2005, your AAoA would drop dramatically and lower your FICO's... a lot! 


Please provide further info, but I'd eat the annual fee and keep that card open for both the age and the available credit it provides should the need arise in this economy.



Message 2 of 16

Re: Close old AMEX account

On FICO report there are 17 cards:


1967 2 cards (AMEX in question; old AMEX closed at consumer request in 2000)

1969 1 card (Fia Csna [don't even know what this] is $0/20,300 so obviously don't use it) 

1983 2  (HSBC-active PIF each month $0/$24,100; old HSBC closed at consumer request in 2000)

1998  3 cards (1 closed by credit grantor 1999 for lack of use; old mortgage; old home equity)

1999  2 cards (Discover-not used since 1999 $0/$11,000; Unv/City-have $2600/$25,000 @2.99 for life) 

2000  1 card (Chase- $0/$30,300)

2001 2 cards (old mortgage; old mortgage)

2002 1 card (CapOne)

2004 2 cards  current Mortgage refi and home equity


So I have 1 mortgage, 1 HELOC, and 4 cards (1983,1999,2000,2002) I use regularly to keep active.  I thought things were supposed to drop off after 10 years but have several that are way beyond that. 


I don't plan on applying for any new cards or line increase.  My ARM is due to adjust in May 2009 (1 year LIBOR, 2.25% margin) and plan to sell house by mid-2010.


Given AMEX recent nasty moves, I hate to give them $50 just to keep an old account which I haven't used other than AF for 30 years.

Message 3 of 16
Valued Contributor

Re: Close old AMEX account

Thanks, JudyF!


Close it, you won't feel a thing except the extra fifty bucks in your purse!


Enjoy the weekend!!


Edited for add'tl comment:


JudyF, this is my opinion only, you may want to wait for others on these boards to chime in over the next couple of days.   



Message Edited by Uborrow-Upay on 03-28-2009 09:51 AM
Message 4 of 16
Regular Contributor

Re: Close old AMEX account

Please please please give it to me.. Smiley Very Happy

Starting Score: 8/2008 521
Current Score: 734
Highest Ever: 4/2009 759
Goal Score: 760+

Take the FICO Fitness Challenge
Message 5 of 16

Re: Close old AMEX account

Is there a cutoff point for average age/oldest account?  If I give up a 41 year history for a 20 year history, does that mean a FICO hit?
Message 6 of 16
Senior Contributor

Re: Close old AMEX account

I would keep the card. It's only $50 bucks. I am surprised you scores aren't higher.
Message Edited by smallfry on 03-28-2009 12:54 PM
Message 7 of 16
New Contributor

Re: Close old AMEX account

CLOSE IT!!!!!!!!!!

i would

it won't affect your Average Age only in 10 years from now and guess what?

in 7 years down the road or whatever you can just open a new Amex account and will backdate to your original 1967 making it that old once again not count as new account, so therefore absolutely no affect on your Average Age.

pretty easy with Amex, make Amex work for you not you for them Smiley Wink

Message 8 of 16
Frequent Contributor

Re: Close old AMEX account

Why not ask them to waive the annual fee since you're such a loyal customer?  Or better yet, ask for a product change to Blue Cash or Clear with no annual fee to replace the card you have?  Keep your $50 AND your history.
DH's FICOS: July '08 TU-661 / EQ-593 / EX-656 --> April '09 TU-730 / EQ-705 / EX-685

MY FICOS: July '08 TU-735 / EQ-727 / EX-767 --> April '09 TU-789 / EQ-774 / EX-767
Message 9 of 16
Moderator Emerita

Re: Close old AMEX account

Do you still have the physical card from FIA (the 1969 account)? Does it show as open on your reports?

If you don't have the card, but it still shows as open, I would first call FIA (which is now Bank of America) and tell them that the magnetic stripe on your card doesn't work any more (this is true, since you have no idea where the card is, so you certainly can't make it work) and ask them to send you a new one. If this works and they do, go buy a tank of gas on that card once a month. That thing is golden.

But if the FIA account is beyond resuscitation, I would hang on to the AmEx. Your HSBC card will fall off in 2010, whatever the 1999 closed card is will fall off this year, and if Discover wakes up and realizes that you haven't used that one in 10 years, they might deem it to be dead as of 1999 and drop it this year as well. That would be quite a hit to your AAoA, and a similar hit would come when the AmEx and FIA accounts also go away.

Anyway, the thought of having a 1967 and a 1969 tradeline on my reports makes me weep. I'd do what I could to hang on to one of them.

eta: Meant to add, a $50 annual fee is less than a dollar a week. I did just close my Gold, to avoid the $145(!) fee, and I opened a no-fee Blue, which is supposed to report with the original opening year. So there's another option: Get a Blue, wait two months for it to finally report and see if it shows 1967 as opening date, and then close your green.
Message Edited by haulingthescoreup on 03-28-2009 06:54 PM
* 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 10 of 16