I Have a Credit Card but Never Use It. Should I Close It?

Not using a credit card doesn't hurt your score, but closing it might. Know how to decide when it’s worth the hit.
Bev O'SheaApr 30, 2019

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Credit cards don't age like fine wine. Sometimes your oldest ones have the fewest perks and benefits, so you stop using them.

Is it a problem to have a credit card you never use? And if you close it, what happens to ?

Several factors affect credit scores. The two biggest influences are your payment history and how much of your credit limits you use.

Let’s start with the scenario that you only have one credit card. Your best bet is to use it sparingly and pay it off on time, every time.

Faithfully paying that bill helps build up a good .

Using a small amount of the limit helps your , the second-biggest factor in your credit score. Credit experts recommend using less than 30% of your credit limit, and it’s even better to stay under 10%.

If you have a lot of credit cards, using any one of them becomes much less important. Some people let several cards sit dormant as they use other cards to collect reward points. They could conceivably cancel those unused cards to save on annual fees, if any.

— whether it’s unused or active — can hurt your credit score primarily because it reduces the amount of available credit you have.

If the card you close has a small credit limit, you may see little or no effect. But if it has a large limit, closing that card could have a big impact on your score because you’re lowering your total credit limit. is calculated both overall and per card, so removing a big limit from your total can send your utilization up and your score down.

A secondary way that closing a card can affect score is by lowering your average accounts. But that is a relatively minor factor.

You don’t need to worry about payment history, though: A closed card can remain on your credit report for years, letting your score benefit from a positive payment record.

If you don’t use a credit card but are reluctant to close it because of the possible impact on your credit score, you still have choices:

Some credit card accounts aren't worth keeping. , for example, are geared toward building or rebuilding credit. If you've already done that, and you don't use the card, it may make sense to cancel it and get your deposit back or ask to transition to an unsecured card.

Other cards that are OK to cull are:

On a similar note...
Dive even deeper in Personal Finance