I Have Eleven Cards I Want to Close Some But Should I? – Ariel


“Dear Steve,

I have 11 credit cards with zero balances and want to close them and keep paying out my other 5 open credit cards. if I close these 11 will it hurt my credit score or should I close them regardless?


Dear Ariel,

Your question brings up the greater issue of do we need to live by our credit score? The credit score formula is not designed to show who is a better personal money manager. It is designed to allow creditors to easily spot who is going to be the less risky and a more profitable customer.

If you decided that you were only going to live on a cash basis and spend what you could afford to, your credit score would suffer and go down the tubes. There needs to be credit activity to score you on. A classic mistake many people make is to have a run of bad credit and then stop using credit. All that does is leaves you with a history of bad credit and nothing new to bring your score up.

A large percentage of your credit score is based on the history of an account. The longer you’ve held an account, the more it counts. The only real exception is that store cards don’t really pull their own weight on the credit score. They’ll hurt you if you are late but not really help you if things are good. Why? Because creditors know that almost anyone can qualify for a store card. If you can fog a mirror, you can get a store card. They are not good indicators of credit worthiness. Most people get suckered into the ‘save now’ offers for opening a card but that is nothing more than an inducement for you to open a card. You’ll end up paying many time more than the discount you got in interest when you carry a balance on the store card.

I would close the store cards, all of them. You don’t need them, they carry a higher rate of interest and the stores will accept your major credit card for purchases.

Of the remaining cards, I would suggest that you get a copy of your consolidated credit report that I use and look to see which have been open the longest. Keep the three that have the longest history and close the rest. Three cards is plenty to use. I don’t even care what the interest rate is because the goal here is to get you to pay the balance off in full each month on those remaining cards. If you pay the balances off in full, guess what, no interest charge.

Make sense?


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.
Steve Rhode
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