Question by Double Negative: How and why is my credit card affected when I open and close a credit card?
I see a great deal at a store to open up a credit card and get a prize or a rebate. If I want the big discount I open the credit card and then get the discount but I don’t want or need the credit card at all.
Is it better to close down this new card or keep it open with a zero balance? How does opening and closing account affect my credit score?
Answer by R T
Your credit score is based on history. If you open an account, your score will temporarily go down. It will eventually recover from that.
Closing an account is a slightly different matter. Depending on how much total credit you have (add up the limits on all of your accounts), closing an account can cause your score to go down if it significantly reduces your total credit. From that standpoint, leaving the card active with a zero balance would help your score.
However having an account open can create another avenue for potential fraud. I, personally, close accounts I don’t use for that reason. Many card companies will also close an account automatically after a period of inactivity; 3 years is common.
There are a lot of things that can make your score vary a few points. Honestly, don’t worry about your score that much. Use credit responsibly, NEVER be late on a payment and pay it off every month. Your score will take care of itself.
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