It may seem natural for one to close a credit card he or she no longer wishes to use without giving much thought. The fact of the matter is, you should consider the impact that decision could have on your credit score.
Some consumers think that canceling a credit card will help in bumping up their credit score, but the truth couldn't be further from that. This is especially so if said credit card account is one of the older credit card accounts you hold and/or the said credit card offers you a substantial line of credit.
In case you didn't already know, the length of your credit history may play a crucial role when it comes to determining your credit score. The older your credit card account is, the more important it is since it lengthens your overall credit history. This is why the age of your credit card account should be one of the factors to consider when you are thinking of canceling the card.
On to the topic of credit extended to you, it helps to know that keeping your credit utilization ratio low can go a long way in helping you improve your credit score over time. This is important to note if you are actually trying to boost your credit score.
What is credit utilization ratio? Well, your credit utilization ratio is simply the ratio of your debt to the amount of available credit you have at your disposal. If the credit card you want to cancel actually extends a fairly substantial amount of credit to you, you can be sure your credit utilization ratio will go up even if you aren't spending more on your other credit cards. Simple mathematics.
Bottom line is, you do not want to mistakenly end up hurting your credit score simply because you thought canceling an old credit card wouldn't have any negative impact on your credit score.
We at GET.com highly recommend you keep your credit card account open especially if the credit card in question does not have an annual fee to begin with. This way, it really wouldn't hurt your to keep the card around even if you rarely use it.
But of course, if you can no longer justify the cost of the credit card's annual fee, definitely call up your card issuer to check if it is possible to downgrade your credit card to one that does not have an annual fee. There is absolutely no need to close your credit card account if this proves to be a feasible solution, don't you think?