What to do with old credit cards?

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    Jordan Moore
    Jordan Moore

    Well, it depends on what you’re asking. Do you want to know what to do with credit cards you’ve had for a long time that you don’t use anymore or what to do with your physical cards that are no longer active?

    Let’s answer both. 

    Handling unused credit cards

    • Think about your credit score: Did you know that old credit card accounts can improve your credit score? They add to the length of your credit history, which is a plus. If your old card doesn’t cost you anything in fees, it might be smart to keep it around.
    • Review changes in terms: Credit card offers can change. It’s a good idea to take a look at the benefits and fees of your old cards now and then to see if they still make sense for you. If the costs outweigh the benefits, it might be time to rethink keeping it.
    • Use sparingly: If you decide to keep an old card, consider using it once in a while for small things. This keeps the card active, shows you’re using credit responsibly, and prevents the card company from closing it due to inactivity.
    • Consider a downgrade: Got a card with a high fee that’s not worth it anymore? See if you can switch it to a no-fee version instead of closing the account altogether. This way, you keep your credit history but lose the high cost.

    Disposing of old credit cards

    • Dispose of them safely: If you have an expired card or you’ve closed an account, make sure you get rid of the card safely to avoid any chance of identity theft. Cut it up into small pieces, paying special attention to splitting the chip and magnetic stripe. If you have access to a cross-cut shredder that can handle plastic, shredding your old credit cards is one of the safest ways to ensure no one can piece back your personal information.

    Recycle if you can: Some credit card companies have programs to recycle old cards. It’s worth checking if yours does—it’s better for the environment!

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StellarFinance, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

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