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Dear Liz: I was able to pay off 80% of my credit card debt recently. I have several cards from stores I no longer shop at and have not had activity for several months. Should I cancel those cards to reduce the number of active cards or leave them alone?

Answer: Closing accounts won’t help your credit scores, and may hurt them. If you’re trying to improve your scores or plan to get a major loan in the next several months, leave them open.

If your scores are fine and you don’t expect to apply for a mortgage or car loan soon, then you certainly can close a few retail cards. But try to keep open your major credit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

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Categories : Credit Scoring, Q&A