It is very easy to learn how to get rid of credit cards. For starters, you could do an internet search for “get rid of credits cards” and read any one of the sites that come up, like Frugal Dad. Another good idea is to call the individual credit card companies and ask them how to cancel your credit card, but be warned that such a move can sometimes lead to a lengthy debate on the phone about why you shouldn’t cancel their card.
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Most credit card statements or privacy notices will include a tiny little section of fine print that explains in detail what one needs to do to terminate that particular credit card. If you follow those instructions, you will learn exactly what you need to know to get rid of your credit card. Of course, after you close the accounts, you still need to safely dispose of the cards; shredding them is the safest way to do that.
Is it a good idea to get rid of unwanted credit cards?
There are advantages and disadvantages to getting rid of unwanted credit cards. Overall, it depends on what your major concern is—identity protection or credit rating. According to My Fico, getting rid of a credit card just to improve your credit score is not a good idea. In fact, since your credit score is based in part on how much credit you use vs. how much you have available, getting rid of the available credit by closing credit card accounts can hurt your credit score.
It is never a good idea to keep an unused card with an annual fee; however, you are spending money for nothing.
Having too many credit cards or cards that you do not actively keep track of may increase your risk of identity theft. The more cards you carry, the more likely you are to lose one and not realize it, making it easier for someone unscrupulous to find it and use it.
Another danger of having too many credit cards is that you might lose track of changes in their terms and get hit with an unexpected annual fee or other surprise. Too many cards will also lead to too much paperwork, particularly statements that contain your credit card information. If you do not keep track of them and shred the ones you do not need, or if one is dropped from the mail and you don’t notice it, it could fall into the hands of someone who will use it to make fraudulent charges.
Which credit cards should I keep?
You’ll want to keep the credit cards that are offering you the best or the most benefits with the least cost. Keeping one or two cards with the lowest interest rates is a good idea, but only if they do not have annual fees. Sometimes a rewards card is worth keeping if you like the reward, but of course if you don’t use it, you’re not going to get the reward anyway.
It’s always a good idea to keep the cards you have had the longest, since credit ratings take into account how long a particular line of credit has been effectively kept open. Similarly, the cards with the highest limit are worth keeping since they help your debt to available credit ratio. In general, it’s best to have at least two credit cards, but not more than five or six.
If I get rid of a credit card, can I reopen it later?
It is sometimes possible to reopen a closed credit card account, depending on the circumstances of the closure, your credit record, and the policies of the credit card company. Usually, the company will be willing to reopen your account, but they may change the terms if there have been significant changes in your credit rating. If you choose to reopen an old account, be sure to verify that your original payment history will be included on the account, so that you get the credit benefit of having a credit card for a long time.
If you cannot reopen your old account, it is sometimes possible to open a brand new account with the same company. The downside of this is that you don’t get the benefit of having another long-term credit card on your credit report.
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