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Having a strong credit score is like having the keys to the kingdom, since credit card bonuses are the quickest way to rack up tons of miles and points quickly (and without having to step foot on a plane). However you need to maintain a good credit score and the first part of doing that is understanding how credit score calculations work. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths out there so this new Credit FAQ series that will clarify a lot of these points so you can get your credit score as high as possible.
Q: Part of a good credit score is having a high average age of accounts. Will closing a credit card account that I’ve had for a long time hurt the average age of accounts?”
A: No- at least not in the short term. It is true that the average age of accounts is something FICO takes into account when calculating your credit score, but an account will still stay on your credit report even after you close it. So as long as it was in good standing when it was closed, it will still help to increase the average age of accounts, just as if it were still open. Though it can still drop off at some point – but usually not after 7-10 years.
I’ve heard this several times, but this Bankrate interview with FICO rep Barry Paperno confirms it.
Note: closing credit cards can still have a negative impact on your credit score which I’ll get into in future posts, but they won’t negatively impact the average age of accounts.