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Keeping oldest card...if how old?

Senior Contributor

Keeping oldest card...if how old?

Many people on here say it's good to keep your oldest CC open, at least if it has no AF. How much older than other cards do you think a card has to be for this to really hold true?

 

I got my first card in late 2013, and I plan to keep it (Freedom).

 

I got five cards in 2014. Two are still open, and I'm thinking of closing one, maybe even both.

 

If I closed them, then in the event I did get AA from Chase (not that I expect any) I'd go from having my oldest card be from late 2013 to mid 2015.

 

To me that doesn't seem like a big concern, since ~18 months of history in the long term is not like 18 years.

 

So at what marginal account age do you think keeping your oldest card active is worthwhile?

Protections: CSR, Schwab Platinum, Costco, Double Cash
Rewards/Offers: BBP, CF, CFU, Discover, ED, BCE
Annual nights: IHG, Hyatt
PIN: Arrival
Bonus chasing/retention games: Aviator Red, SPG Luxury
10 REPLIES
Moderator

Re: Keeping oldest card...if how old?

I’ve had a hard time closing cards that are 15+ years old, but if we’re talking about 5 years of total credit history and a matter of months between oldest and 2nd oldest, I wouldn’t sweat it AT ALL. By the time you get to the point of it dropping off you’d go from 15 years to 14 years, which isn’t much of a change.


Message 2 of 11
Super Contributor

Re: Keeping oldest card...if how old?

If there isn't at least a few years between your oldest account and your next oldest (revolver), as stated above by KiB it's not something worth thinking about.  A drop of 1-2 years in AoOA when you're talking double-digit AoOA both before/after isn't going to impact score in a big way.  In fact, it almost becomes completely irrelevant if you second oldest account is 7+ years old, as in a decade if your oldest dropped off that would make your next oldest 17 years old and most believe that's the top end point for max FICO scoring benefit with respect to that factor. 

Message 3 of 11
Valued Contributor

Re: Keeping oldest card...if how old?


@wasCB14 wrote:

Many people on here say it's good to keep your oldest CC open, at least if it has no AF. How much older than other cards do you think a card has to be for this to really hold true?

 

I got my first card in late 2013, and I plan to keep it (Freedom).

I got five cards in 2014. Two are still open, and I'm thinking of closing one, maybe even both.

 

If I closed them, then in the event I did get AA from Chase (not that I expect any) I'd go from having my oldest card be from late 2013 to mid 2015.

 

So at what marginal account age do you think keeping your oldest card active is worthwhile?


It really depends on the profile. If the card has a substantial CL and you only have a few cards then it might be best to keep the card until your revolving CC portfolio is strengthened. Otherwise here are my thoughts:

1) If oldest CC < 3 years, then 12 months

2) if oldest CC < 8 but > 3, then 24 months

3) if oldest CC <15 but > 8, then 36 months

4) if oldest CC > 15 then 60 months

 

In reality, age difference between oldest and 2nd oldest becomes irrevelant (Fico score wise) if the 2nd oldest card is more than 10 years old.

 

Regardless, I now prefer to maintain credit age at maximum potential. Although my AMEX charge card has a nominal annual fee and my 2nd and 3rd oldest cards are over 28 YO,  I'm holding onto my 34 YO AMEX green card. Also, I'm, down to 5 open cards and view that QTY as a practical minimum for file thickness and for sufficient aggregate CL.

Fico 8: .......EQ 850 TU 850 EX 850
Fico 9: .......EQ 850 TU 850 EX 850
Fico 4 .....:. EQ 809 TU 823 EX 830 EX Fico 98: 842
VS 3.0:...... EQ 835 TU 835 EX 835
Fico 8 BC:. EQ 892 TU 900 EX 900
CBIS: ........EQ LN Auto 940 EQ LN Home 870 TU Auto 902 TU Home 950
Message 4 of 11
Super Contributor

Re: Keeping oldest card...if how old?


@Thomas_Thumb

Although my AMEX charge card has a nominal annual fee and my 2nd and 3rd oldest cards are over 28 YO,  I'm holding onto my 34 YO AMEX green card.


There's nothing wrong with that for sure.  As TT recognized earlier though, if he did close is 34 year old card today, a decade from now his AoOA drop from 44 years to 38 years would have zero impact on his score.

Message 5 of 11
Community Leader
Super Contributor

Re: Keeping oldest card...if how old?

My two oldest cards are 15.0 and 15.3 years, and yet I am sure I won't close either.  Thomas Thumb has given one good reason, which is that they help with my AAoA.

 

There's another reason though.  Suppose I closed my 15.3 year old card.  Then, a year from now, my next oldest card gets closed by the issuer.  There are lots of reasons that could happen.  The issuer could just decide I am unprofitable, or I might trigger some other danger sign for them.  The issuer could go bankrupt.  Etc.

 

If this happened, then I'd be relying on my third oldest card (when the two oldest fell off).  And my third oldest is much younger.

 

If a card has an annual fee or if it is a store card, there's a good case for closing it (assuming you don't like the card of course).  But otherwise, if we are talking about a major credit card with no AF, I just don't see any reason to close your oldest card.  Or, as I mention above, even your second oldest card, unless that card is far younger.

 

Final thought: bear in mind that closed accounts don't always stay on one's report for a full ten years.  SouthJ had a number of cards deleted outright 1-2 years after closure, and he's not the only person to experience premature deletion.  It is probable that a closed card will stay on your reports for 10 years, but it is not at all certain.

Message 6 of 11
Established Contributor

Re: Keeping oldest card...if how old?

Two related thoughts, dealing with future unknowns.

 

1. Banks close. Companies go out of business.  If someone's second oldest card gets closed on them 6 months after they close their oldest one, suddenly there could  be a much bigger AoOA and/or AAoA change when they drop off.

 

2.  We don't know when the next Fico version will come out. Or what that will like to see about account age, and/or open versus closed accounts.

 

Message 7 of 11
Senior Contributor

Re: Keeping oldest card...if how old?

The cards in question are BCE and Discover. I suppose one source of hesitation is that they are no-AF cash back cards. If I travel less, or my travel cards get nerfed, I may wish I'd kept them.

 

Why BCE? Rewards don't do much for me, no particularly useful offers, better (travel-focused) Amex products for me.

 

Why Discover? Joint account means CLIs are a PITA (one from $2k to $3k in 4.5 years), integrating with checking is impossible (so two logins), and rewards and benefits nerfed. I'll keep it for Q4 Amazon, though, and see what the 2019 calendar looks like.

Protections: CSR, Schwab Platinum, Costco, Double Cash
Rewards/Offers: BBP, CF, CFU, Discover, ED, BCE
Annual nights: IHG, Hyatt
PIN: Arrival
Bonus chasing/retention games: Aviator Red, SPG Luxury
Message 8 of 11
Community Leader
Senior Contributor

Re: Keeping oldest card...if how old?

You've made a solid case for dropping Discover. You haven't made the case for dropping AMEX, though. Its only problem is that it's not a fit. Hang onto it, consider transfering some of its limit to your ED, and consider PC-ing to a Cash Magnet if that might be more useful.

Message 9 of 11
Senior Contributor

Re: Keeping oldest card...if how old?


@HeavenOhio wrote:

You've made a solid case for dropping Discover. You haven't made the case for dropping AMEX, though. Its only problem is that it's not a fit. Hang onto it, consider transfering some of its limit to your ED, and consider PC-ing to a Cash Magnet if that might be more useful.


If I stop focusing on miles, I'll just go with the BofA Premium for 2.625%. 

 

A 3/2/1 with little grocery spend doesn't do much for me, but a 1.5% card wouldn't be an improvement.

Protections: CSR, Schwab Platinum, Costco, Double Cash
Rewards/Offers: BBP, CF, CFU, Discover, ED, BCE
Annual nights: IHG, Hyatt
PIN: Arrival
Bonus chasing/retention games: Aviator Red, SPG Luxury
Message 10 of 11