You're thinking of closing a credit card, but you're not sure what the consequences might be. So what should you do? If you’re thinking about closing a credit card that doesn’t charge an annual fee, try just putting it in a drawer instead. As long as the card is paid off in full, it can sit, unused, and still help build your credit profile - simply because it’s an open line of credit under your name. That’s right, you don’t have to spend a dime on the card to keep it open.
If the card you’re thinking of closing has an annual fee attached to it, you might want to go ahead and cancel the card. After all, length of credit history is a relatively low impact factor in your credit score, and you don’t need to be paying big fees just to keep one card open.
Instead, try calling the card issuer to see if you can downgrade your account to a card with no annual fee. That way you can keep the account open without having to pay an annual fee.
At the end of the day, the decision to close a credit card is in your hands. Length of credit history is an important piece of your credit profile, but it’s not particularly high impact, so closing a card isn’t the end of the world by any means. But if it won’t cost you anything to keep the card open, it can be a good idea to just put it in a drawer to keep your credit profile in good shape.
Sam is a Kenyon College alum and is head of content at Fizz. He's been a go to personal finance resource among his peers since getting his first credit card during his sophomore year of college. He hails from Washington, DC, loves all things aviation, and currently lives in Los Angeles.