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When you pay off a credit card is it better to reduce the credit limit or close the account?

I’ve heard that once you pay off a credit card you shouldn’t close the account to keep a good credit score. I’ve also heard that even though one pays off his credit card reducing the credit limit is also not a good option for keeping a great credit rating. What is the best way to handle this situation if you don’t really want the card around to prevent you from running the balance up, but also don’t want to hurt your credit rating. Is there any way to find out what exactly affects one’s credit score?

Examples: Let’s just say a website or book states something like filing for bankruptcy subtracts XXXX amount of points from your credit rating. Defaulting on credit card payments for XXX amount of months subtracts XXX amount of points from your credit rating. Paying off federal student loans adds or subtracts XXXX amount of points from your credit rating. Also is there anywhere that states how long certain things stay on your credit report?

    Posted 3 years ago

    Your absolutely right. Credit is graded based on our ability to manage accounts ie. number and limits and your ability to repay. The more accounts you have that can demonstrate this ability to repay the better your credit.

      artic ranger
      Posted 3 years ago

      Keep the card open with no balance , it will increase your fica score, I have three cards that I haven’t used in three years , the lenders look at this as a good risk.

        Posted 3 years ago

        It depends on the credit cards APR rate.

          Just moi
          Posted 3 years ago

          Closing accounts reduce your credit score so if you don’t want to run up another bill, just cut up your credit cards… Go to a credit reporting service online to check your credit score if you really need to know…

            Gordon R
            Posted 3 years ago

            It doesnt depend on the APR…keep the card open and dont use it. If you do use it pay it off monthly. Keeping it open will boost your credit score.

              Posted 3 years ago

              How your credit score is determined is a closely guarded secret. It’s sort of like the baked beans commercial where the dog knows the recipe but he’s not talking. It’s believed that you should have NO department store credit cards and that the optimum number of bank issued credit cards is two. If the one you paid off is a department card, have the account closed. If it’s one of two bank credit cards, you may leave it open. As far as trade lines staying on your credit report goes, typically it’s 7-10 years, remember a credit report is your financial history

                Posted 3 years ago

                it’s best to cut that credit card up and burn it and forget you ever owned it and do nothing with the credit company. Let it be.
                Yes there are sites that give you how long things stay on your credit.
                Most is three years for lenders looking at your credit. seven years for past dues and none payment. 10 years for bankruptsy, and charge offs.. life time for government payments not made and student loans. i think

                Your not a good risk unless you use your credit and pay it when it’s due or before. And your ratio of money coming in as to money going out has to be with in a certain amount.
                If you get cards and never use them, creditors don’t know if you’d pay your bill or not if they gave you credit.

                  Byron W
                  Posted 3 years ago

                  don’t close, don’t reduce the amount, and actually use it once a month and pay it off – this is the best route for your credit score

                    Posted 3 years ago

                    susie orman says not to cancel the card. the card helps your credit. Just don’t use it. Read her book, it’s helpful, “the young, rich and fabulous

                      Posted 3 years ago

                      Forget the fairy tales. Close the account!

                        Posted 3 years ago

                        From experience you should use it and pay off right away, that is the safest best way to earn “good” credit. if you let it sit you don’t have any credibilty

                          Posted 3 years ago

                          close it and get over with it because it will always be on your credit history so why keep it?!?!

                            Posted 3 years ago

                            Don’t close the account. Depending on how disciplined you are, use the credit card like cash. For example, purchase all gasoline or restaurant meals with that credit card. But you must, and I repeat you must pay the full balance off each month to avoid the fiance charge. This helps build your credit and doesn’t cost you anything.

                              Posted 3 years ago

                              I have to say you just keep your credit card somewhere which is not accessible easily from you. Like a safetybox maybe :P haha..Well the thing is that when we have a credit card, we feel as if we have more purchasing power that we tend to make lots of purchashing. Closing your credit card might not be an option, neither reducing the limit of it. Just keep it.

                                Posted 3 years ago

                                close the card. if you have open credit cards, when you go to take a loan or mortgage, the person (underwriter) who decides if you get the loan and what rate to charge you MUST take into consideration that account, and pretend that the card is maxed out to determine your “worst-case Scenario” DTI, or Debt to Income Ratio. Same goes for all open credit lines. So if you have 5 cards, with nothing on them, and you apply for a loan, they’ll look at you as though all 5 are maxed out. Close the card.

                                  Posted 3 years ago

                                  From my understanding you should keep the account open while you are reducing the balance. This works to your benefit as far as your credit score is concerned. After you’ve paid off the balance close the account.

                                    Posted 3 years ago

                                    Your credit rating is higher when you debt to credit ratio is at its best. In other words, having a high credit limit with little to no balance on it will yield a higher credit score than having a lower credit limit with the same balance.

                                    That being said, however, if your spending habits are poor and you cannot help but to run up your card, then lowering your limit may be an option. Simply, you want to avoid being in a position where your balance and payments are so high that you start being late on payments b/c that will really lower your score.

                                    I believe the “high balance” you reach on your car stays for 12 months. This means that if you max out your credit limit, it will show as your high balance on your credit report for 12 months. Only after that high balance falls off will your score improve from it.

                                    My practice with credit cards os to use them for unforeseen emergencies only (i.e. unexpected car repairs, etc.) That way I use it only for needs most of the time. If I use it for “wants”, i.e. travelling, ipods, etc- it is because I know I can pay it off within a short period of time, typically. That way, you can live within your means, have an emergency source of fund should the need arise, and only get “toys” when you can really afford to.

                                    If you want more detailed information on the many things that affect credit score, and how to keep up your credit score, check out Stephen Snyder’s website:

                                    Keeping a good score matters in an age where we pay higher insurance rates, etc. based on our score!

                                      Posted 3 years ago

                                      In order to earn credibility, one should atleast have one or two credit cards which should be paid in full each month to maintain good credit score. When lenders look at the credit report and see that your cards are paid in full each month they believe that the person is credible. In your situation, if you have two credit cards and you want to close one account, it will not have a negative impact on your credit score. On the other hand, if credit card company was to close your account for any reason, that will surely decrease your score. Also, it is never a good idea to have department store credit card because lenders look at that as negative debt. There are two kinds of debts: good and bad debts for example: home mortgage is considered good debt vs. car loan, which is considered bad debt. Therefore, department store credit is not a good idea although at that moment it may seem tempting. I would suggest you keep the account open and use it once in a while only when you know you can pay the balance in full at the end of the month. Hope this will help.

                                        Posted 3 years ago

                                        Chop up that little plastic loan shark, and close the account. Never buy on credit. Then, so what if your credit score drops a few points if you’re not buying on credit? Why worry about something you don’t use?

                                        Use debit cards. Forget the $600 month car payments – get what car you can with cash.

                                        If you absolutely must borrow for a house, get no more house than you can pay at least 20% down, and no more than 25% of your take home pay in payments for a maximum of 15 years.

                                          Posted 3 years ago

                                          I would pay off your balance but leave your account open. Credit Card companies hate when people close out their accounts since that means they are losing money. You can also call the credit card place and ask them to reduce your available credit. If they say they can’t do that, then mention you will probably close your account. They will change their minds real fast and offer you anything to keep your account.

                                          I have closed credit card accounts before. While I insisted they close it, they offered everything to keep it open. They even suggested keeping a credit line of $100 and keep the account open. I still closed out their accounts.

                                          The best way of insuring you will not use your credit cards is simply cut them up and throw them out. Out of sight – out of mind. When you get another card for renewal, just cut it up and don’t activate it.

                                            Posted 3 years ago

                                            I have a credit card that is basically maxed out. I still haven’t paid it all yet. I cut the card up to prevent me from using it while I am still paying it off. No one has to know that you don’t have the card anymore. When you pay it off and still want to keep the account open just say you recently lost you r card and need a new one.

                                              Posted 3 years ago

                                              keep it open and just pay what u can on it, it would be best to pay it and leave it open

                                                Posted 3 years ago

                                                If you are planning to make a major purchase in the future such as a home or a car, you credit score will be higher if you just pay off the credit card and cut it up. Don’t cancel it or lower your limit. Part of the criteria used in your credit score is how much of you allowed credit limits you have available.

                                                  Precious Flower
                                                  Posted 3 years ago

                                                  Sweetie, Keep it open… don’t use it. If you do use it, charge ONLY like 50 bucks and pay it off before the due date! However, those darn things are the DEVIL! But in this country credit (good/bad credit) follows you til death’s end.

                                                    Posted 3 years ago

                                                    It is ok to close old accounts with small limits, because the more accounts you have open the higher your debt ratio will be. Having a high debt ratio will affect your score by 35%, closing an old account will affect your score by 10%. It’s very important to figure out your debt ratio. But if you dont want to close them, cut them up.

                                                      Posted 3 years ago

                                                      Do not close the card or reduce the balance unless the card has a annual fee or you have only had it a few months. Otherwise, keep the card open. If you aren’t wanting to use the card just cut it up or freeze it in ice.

                                                        Posted 2 years ago

                                                        Closing the account implies you can’t handle credit… keep it with a lower limit, and make sure you stick to it.

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