After you pay off a regular credit card or do a balance transfer to a new card, you might think the next step is to cancel the old card. Fewer cards are simpler to manage, right?
Maybe you don’t want to use the card again. However, before you cancel a card, even if you paid it off long ago, reconsider doing so. Read on to find out why.
Factors That Affect Your Credit Score
According to myfico.com, your credit score is impacted by:
- Your payment history. This accounts for up to 35% of your score.
- The number of credit accounts you have, and how much you owe, accounts for up to 30% of your score.
- The length of your credit history accounts for up to 15% of your score.
- The number of recently opened accounts and recent credit inquiries can account for up to 10% of your score.
- Although it accounts for 10%, it is a mix of factors including the number and types of accounts that you have and the sizes of each.
How Canceling a Credit Card Can Affect Your Credit Score
You might think that canceling a credit card would be a good thing. Unfortunately, a card cancellation has a negative effect on 3 of the 5 credit factors noted above. It has to do with ‘credit utilization’ or how much of your available total credit lines you are using. When you cancel a card, you end up with less available credit, and you hurt your score.
Use Credit Cards Responsibly to Improve Your Credit Score
Generally, you should not use more than 30% of your total available credit lines. Less is more when it comes to improving your score. If you can keep your total usage to less than 20%, you will be better off than a higher percentage. Never use all of a credit card’s maximum available credit line.
Hopefully, this helps you in the holiday season and beyond, so you can keep or improve your credit score as healthy as possible.