Credit FAQ: Does Closing an Old Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

Jan 31, 2012

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.