as with everything else... your millage may vary.
My thought (and plan for myself) is once my prime real estate ages to a good number, I will prune my sub prime. it is in good standing, and have no AF. it served its purpose, and will continue to make a positive impact on my report for 10 years BUT I will potentially take a hit on utilization. so its a balancing act.
for the record, i really only have 1 card that could be construed as sub prime... its an HSBC Platinum card...now owned by C1. decent rewards (not great) but it does have a decent cl. I don't use it as a primary card anymore, and since its not costing me anything to have, it lives in the sock drawer..
So after my recent app spree, I have decided to go in full on gardening mode. My question arises from the process itself. Now I am no gardener perse, but my sources do concur that to keep a garden healthy one must prune the current blossoms and pull out the weeds. I currently have a hefty line of credit when adding all my CL together.
I consider myself a responsible consumer. I never purchase something on a CC I don't have the cash for, I always pay in full etc. etc. Not including charge cards, there must be a certain limit of credit that creditors will lend out. Ergo, one of these days (in the future) I won't be able to ask for a CLI, regardless of my income, credit history or situation. There must be a ceiling on how much a lender will extend, at least to the average consumer.
Now I ask this for a reason. I have a Cap 1 "platinum, does not feel like a platinum" card. Now my Cap 1 has a $500 limit. I'm not going to go into the + & - of that card, but subjectively I don't use it for a series of reasons. As time goes on and I acquire new cards, should cards that I don't use as much be canceled? Not going into the annual/ no annual fee discussion, but purely based on credit. Furthermore if one day I app for a higher end card (i.e. Amex Platinum), will the $500 limit look foolish when compared to my other cards?
To digress on my earlier statement, the cards I am thinking about have no AF, so technically I can sock drawer them. At the same time, in the future I would like to consolidate my credit lines with the lenders I find most beneficial: Chase, Amex, Citi, Discover & maybe BoA having a total of 8 amazing cards that I use conjunctively all the time, with the max CL allotted to each. What are people’s thoughts on this? As always thanks in advance!
P.S. Please don't confuse this with me thinking I'm too good for a particular card or lender. I appreciate any lender that has had the confidence to extend me credit. My question arises from proactive planning.
As stated by a previous poster, gardening involves refraining from apping for new credit and waiting for your current lines to age and/or grow. But, it can also include pruning out old accounts and pulling up weeds (such as removing errors from your reports or GWing baddies). To use the garden metaphor, I like to think of it as a purposefully planned and developed credit portfolio, as opposed to just a jumbled assortment. That's why I like to talk about gardening goals. What are you hoping to accomplish, and how do you plan to get there? -- that sort of thing.
This certainly implies that one does not app just for the sake of apping. "But there's a hot new card that everyone on the forum is talking about!" That's nice, but does it fit in with YOUR individual needs? "I'm bored and I want to apply for something just because I want to see the words 'Your Approved!'" Well, you may get a brief thrill, but what price will you pay in terms of the effect on your AAoA? Is it worth it?
So, it takes time and thought to build one's credit. Most people start out with lower tiered cards, either that are secured or have some sort of annual fee. After demonstrating responsible use of these starter cards, people are able to move up to better cards, perhaps with no AFs and/or rewards. What happens to the starter cards? The question then becomes: do they currently serve a purpose? Perhaps they may for a while yet, by adding to your overall util. But maybe your new credit lines are generous and the starter lines are insignificant by comparison. If that's the case, then it may be appropriate to close them -- especially if they have an AF.
The bottom line is that you need to look at the overall make up of your collection of cards -- your garden -- and decide which ones are serving a useful purpose and which ones are superfulous and are costing you money and/or aggrevation to keep. Then you'll be able to decide which ones to keep and tend to, and which ones are ripe for pruning.