Find a better credit card

Dear Liz: One of my credit cards offers mediocre rewards — mainly an online store where I can use points to buy products I don’t really need. I would like a card from the same company that offers better rewards, but this is my oldest credit card and I don’t want to hurt my credit score by closing it. Should I just open a new card and use this one sparingly? Can I call the company to seek better rewards without closing the account? Thanks for any help you can offer.

Answer: If you have plenty of other open accounts, don’t be afraid of closing one occasionally. Most credit issuers continue to report the details of closed accounts to the credit bureaus for years, so your good history with this card will continue to contribute positively to your scores even if you close the account.

With that in mind, you can call the issuer and ask for a better deal, which will usually mean opening a new card. You also can shop for new cards at one of the many card comparison sites, such as NerdWallet, or

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  1. I had the same issue with my oldest card which was with Bank of America. It was a “student” card with no rewards and I never used it. I contacted BofA and asked them if they could upgrade it to a rewards card without closing the account and they did. It was pretty easy to do. We also did something similar with a card my husband had. We were paying an annual fee but not really reaping the benefits of the rewards. We were able to downgrade to a card that had fewer benefits but no annual fee. It only took a phone call.