Post Detail

February 22, 2024 in Advices

Opening or Closing a Credit Card: How It Affects Your Credit Score

Opening or Closing a Credit Card How It Affects Your Credit Score

Your credit score is crucial in your financial life, impacting everything from loan approvals to interest rates. An excellent credit score can save you thousands on big purchases through lower rates. So how do everyday credit card decisions like opening a new card or closing an existing one affect your essential credit score? Unfortunately, confusion still reigns when understanding credit scores, whether you’re dealing with Credit Canada, Equifax, or TransUnion.

Rest assured – while the formulas credit bureaus like Equifax and TransUnion use are complicated, you don’t have to be confused about credit card impacts. Whether you’re considering loans or mortgage loans, maintaining a strong credit score remains the same. By covering critical questions in understandable terms,

I’ll explain what happens when you open or close accounts and provide tips to keep your credit strong. There’s no need to let uncertainty on these everyday credit card decisions muddle your financial moves.

So read on as we decode how applying for new plastic and canceling old cards could help or hurt your credit score.

This insight is especially crucial when looking into mortgage loans or other large financial commitments through lenders monitored by Credit Canada.

What Is a Credit Score and Why Does It Matter?

A credit score is a three-digit number calculated based on your credit history and reports. Lenders use it to determine your creditworthiness for loans and credit cards.

Credit Score Components

Your credit score is determined based on five main factors:

  • Payment history (35%): Whether you pay your bills on time
  • Credit utilization (30%): The amount of credit you are using compared to your limit
  • Credit age (15%): How long you’ve had credit accounts open
  • Credit mix (10%): The different types of credit you have (credit cards, loans, etc.)
  • New credit applications (10%): How many recent requests for credit you have made

Impact of Credit Score

Your credit score impacts your ability to qualify for financing and the terms you will receive. The higher your score, the better interest rates lenders will offer. With a good credit score (typically 670+), you are more likely to:

  • Get approved for credit cards and loans
  • Qualify for lower interest rates, saving you money
  • Rent an apartment and pay lower deposits
  • Get better insurance rates

A high credit score signals to lenders that you responsibly manage debt and payments.

How Applying for New Credit Cards Affects Your Score

When you apply for a new credit card, your credit score may temporarily dip but will likely recover within a few months. Here’s what happens in detail when you open a new credit card account:

Hard Inquiries When Applying

Opening a new credit card triggers what’s known as a “hard inquiry” on your credit file. This happens because when you apply for new credit, the card issuer will check your credit report and score to determine your creditworthiness. Too many hard inquiries within a short period can negatively impact your credit score.

However, a single hard inquiry from one new credit card application causes only a minor, temporary 3-5 point drop in your score. As long as you limit the number of credit card applications you submit, this small decrement should not significantly impact your score in the long run.

Credit Utilization Impact

If approved for the new credit card, having a higher total credit limit can help lower your overall credit utilization ratio. The credit utilization ratio compares how much credit you use to the total credit available. Increasing your credit access by being approved for a new card positively reduces this critical ratio. If you continue to manage the card properly and responsibly by keeping balances low and paying on time, the improved ratio will boost your credit score.

Credit Age Impact

The new credit card account will reduce the average age of your credit history in the short term. However, the impact on your scores diminishes as the new account ages along with your other existing credit lines. That’s why keeping your oldest credit card open indefinitely is recommended – it helps anchor the average age of your credit history. If you have a card that has remained open for many years, getting approved for new accounts here and there will likely only slightly decrease your average credit age. And as those accounts build a history with you over time, the minor initial drop dissipates.

How Closing a Credit Card Impacts Your Credit Score

Closing a credit card account keeps its historical activity from your credit reports. While your existing payment history on that account remains visible, other significant credit score factors often cause your scores to drop when you close an account:

Credit Utilization Increases

Eliminating a credit card account lowers your total available credit limit. Owning the same credit card balance but across fewer overall dollars spikes your credit utilization ratio. Even if you pay off the card before closing it, your utilization ratio on your remaining credit lines is still affected.

Credit Age Implications

At some point in the future, that closed credit card account will fall off your credit reports, typically after about 10 years. When it does, it will likely lower the average age of your credit history if it was one of your oldest accounts.

Payment History Stays the Same

The entire payment track record of the closed credit card account – both positive and negative – remains visible to potential lenders on your credit reports for as long as 10 years before it disappears. As such, any record of on-time payments you’ve made on that card will continue bolstering your credit scores over time. At the same time, if the closed account had any late payments, those will still penalize your credit scores for years.

Unless an exorbitant annual fee makes a card too costly to justify keeping it open, avoid closing credit card accounts where possible. You can request to reduce credit limits but generally keep accounts open to preserve your overall credit access. Doing so protects your credit utilization ratio and the length of your credit history.

Strategies to Open or Close Credit Cards Safely

You can take proactive steps to responsibly open new credit cards or close existing ones without sabotaging your credit score:

Carefully Consider Impacts Before Applying

Before applying for a new credit card, weigh whether the card’s bonuses and rewards will realistically outweigh the potential temporary score decrease resulting from the hard inquiry. Crunch the numbers – will you truly earn enough ongoing value from the card to offset the minor near-term credit hit? Don’t apply for a card just for a short-term perk.

Have a Solid Plan in Place When Closing Accounts

Before closing a credit card, pay off existing balances in full on all of your cards to optimize your credit utilization ratio. Also, assess any fees associated with each card and consider canceling the cards charging the highest rates, penalties, or annual fees first while leaving your oldest credit card account open to preserve the length of your credit history.

Explore Alternatives Besides Closing Accounts

Instead of closing credit card accounts, ask your card issuers whether they can downgrade your account to a no-fee or lower-fee card version without fully closing it. Keeping accounts open with the issuer, even at lower spending and reward levels, keeps your overall credit limit intact and your credit history length stable for the long term.

Additionally, periodically request credit line increases on longstanding cards not charging annual fees. Having higher limits without spending more lowers utilization. And making one lower monthly purchase can keep accounts active.

Key Takeaways on Opening and Closing Credit Cards

Here are the critical points to remember:

Minimal Impact of New Cards If Managed Well

Applying for new credit cards you need shouldn’t hurt your scores much or for long. Keep balances low and limit applications.

Closing Cards Rarely Improve Scores

Closing credit cards tends not to help your credit score, only your wallet if eliminating an annual fee. Leave accounts open whenever feasible.

Focus on Responsible Credit Card Habits

Strategic credit card management keeps scores strong. Pay on time always, and keep balances under 30% of limits. Healthy habits trump opening or closing accounts.

The power over your credit score mainly lies in using your cards conscientiously, not how many you open or close. Practice good financial behaviors, limit inquiries and debt, and know closing accounts affect – but don’t erase – their visibility to lenders.

Access Cash Loans Online Across Canada

At Quick Loans Canada, we provide guaranteed cash loans you can easily access online anywhere nationwide.

Whether you reside in major metro areas like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, or Calgary or in smaller towns and rural regions, our quick loans are available digitally Canada-wide.

We offer fast access to personal loans ranging from $500 up to $50,000 for Canadians in any province, with loan experts ready to match you with the right lending option.

To apply for one of our secured no-credit-check instant loans accessible online, simply visit and fill out our easy digital application. You can complete it in minutes from the comfort of your own home.

As long as you meet our basic eligibility criteria, you can obtain approval for urgent cash loans or longer-term installment loans using your car title as collateral while rebuilding damaged credit.

In Closing

As discussed throughout this guide, opening and closing credit cards can impact your credit score – but only sometimes in the drastic, permanent ways some may assume. You can minimize adverse score effects with responsible financial behaviors and smart credit card management strategies.

Maintaining healthy long-term credit card habits – like paying balances off fully each month, limiting inquiries, and keeping utilization low across cards – gives you more control over your credit score than factors like how many new accounts you open or close.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By browsing this website, you agree to our privacy policy.
I Agree