Q&A: Refreshing an old credit card

Dear Liz: I have and use three credit cards, two of which offer cash-back rewards. The third has no rewards program, so I would like to get rid of it and replace it with a new card that offers cash back or miles. But I’m afraid if I cancel this card my credit score will take a hit, especially since the card has a big chunk of my overall credit limit. What do you suggest?

Answer: You can ask the issuer for a “product change,” which allows you to swap one card for another without closing your account. Typically, your history with the old card is simply transferred to the new one, as is your credit limit.

The new card must be from the same issuer and you usually won’t qualify for any sign-up bonuses. But you won’t risk damaging your scores by closing one account and applying for another.

Research the issuer’s offerings and know which card you want before you call. This is usually a fairly routine process, but if you encounter any resistance, just mention that your other option is to cancel the card. If you’ve been a good customer, the issuer probably will want to keep your business.

A product change also can be a good idea if you want to switch from a rewards card with a high annual fee to one with a lower fee, or no fee. Any rewards you’ve already earned may not be transferable, so be sure to ask.

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Comments

  1. Paula Binner says

    Hello Liz
    I am new to your website and I appreciate greatly all of your sound financial advice, books to read, etc.
    I plan to retire at 61 with $4700.00 monthly pension (12/2021), now in a townhome recently paid off, $530K in an employee saving plus plan (no taxes taken out yet), a ROTH IRA of $178K, I am also putting $1250.00 in an Allianz Annuity account for 3 more years, and currently with $800K in savings from a recent sale of triplex. However, I didn’t do a 1031 exchange (it was acknowledged in escrow docs but an accommodator was not set up) so I’m looking at about $300K in taxes next year alone on sale of property! Yikes.
    I’d like to get your advice on:
    1. Anyway to back track and do a 1031 exchange (1.5 months since sold)?
    2. Anyway to recoup or decease $300K of this tax (if 1031 too late to do now)? I mean is there somewhere to put the some of the $800K so my tax fee won’t be so high?
    3. Not sure how much $ I need to retire: single, no dependents, one parent alive and in nursing home (age 96, lucid). I do have some medical issues that I am concerned about in the future. I look forward to traveling and most likely moving out of S. CA to a place where I can purchase a home with some land.
    Thank you for your time!
    Best