Q&A: Got an old credit card that you no longer use? What to do instead of canceling it

Dear Liz: I have been keeping a credit card that I no longer use because I’m afraid that canceling it may reduce my credit score. I have had the card since 1983, and it shows on my credit report as my longest credit relationship. I have other credit cards that I use regularly. I no longer have a mortgage. Should I keep the unused card?

Answer: Closing the card certainly won’t help your scores, but it’s impossible to know in advance how much they might be hurt. That doesn’t mean you should never close a card, but you may want to consider alternatives, particularly because this is your oldest card.

Does the issuer offer another type of card with cash back or other rewards you could use? If so, consider asking for a “product change” to the new card. That should preserve your long history with the account while supplying you with a credit card that better suits your needs.

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