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My Credit Card Was Closed and My Credit Score Dropped

Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

I have a question about credit history. I held a credit card account with Dressbarn for 13 years. The company was bought by Capital One Bank. Then the company shut down last year.

On my credit report, I noticed a 40 point drop because the card account was closed by the company. This was the longest card account I had and now my credit history shows 2 years.

Is there anything I can do?

Sandy

Answer:

Dear Sandy,

I had not thought of Dressbarn in years. Thank you.

There is something you can do but the results won’t be instant.

Part of what helps your credit score is your length of credit. The longer you’ve held an open unsecured account, the more weight it gives your score.

The company is within its right to close the account and ultimately the only thing a consumer can do is to have more than one unsecured credit card account open. Keep in mind, debit cards don’t do anything to build credit.

The general wisdom I was taught is to have three open unsecured cards and keep the balance below 30% of the credit limit on the cards.

I’m not sure what prevented you from opening and holding onto other accounts a decade ago. A classic mistake I see some people making is to avoid credit which results in avoiding building a good stable credit score that won’t fall that much if one card closes.

At this time the best thing you can do if you want to play the credit score game is to make sure you have the three unsecured credit cards, pay all your bills on time, and let more time pass. There is no magic wand that can go back in time and fix the eleven-year hole in your credit history.


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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

7 Comments

    • I’m not a fan of the CD approach. I tell my friends they are better off starting with a couple of secured credit cards, using them, keeping your balances less than 30% of your credit limit and letting some time pass. As your score increases then apply for an unsecured credit card. With the CD strategy, the account is closed at the end of the 48 months ending the reporting history. Using a secured card you wind up with an account that is heavily weighted, has a deposit in it that will be returned to you, and the account is kept open building your length of open account weight.

      All that being said, if that’s the approach you want to take and feel comfortable with it, that’s your choice.

      • Great perspective. I didn’t think about the CD being closed at the end of the term. That’s not the option I need. Thank you again.

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