Cleaning Up Your Credit Cards

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cleanupcreditcards Are you stuck with high credit card interest rates and annoying annual fees? If you’ve been meaning to consolidate or close some of your credit card accounts, now’s the time to make a mini new years resolution to get your credit cards situation on the right track. We’ve put together a quick checklist to help you decide whether or not to close your current credit cards - or whether you might have a chance to negotiate for a better deal.

  • If you’re a long-standing customer, call to ask for a better deal. If you have a solid history of paying your bills on time with your credit card company, it may be worth asking if they would be willing to lower your interest rate or waive your annual fee. Your credit card’s customer retention department is a good place to start. If you express your concern about remaining a loyal customer given the high rates or fees, they may be more willing to waive those in order to keep you. Just be prepared to call their bluff if they tell you they can’t offer you any deals.
  • If you have multiple credit cards with annual fees and you don’t need to apply for new credit anytime soon, consider cancelling them. Cancelling a credit card, let alone cancelling multiple cards at once, can actually put a dent in your credit score. Why is that? By closing an account, you are closing the amount of available credit to your name and you may be shortening your credit history as well - and both can lower your score. At the same time, it’s also silly to be racking up annual fees because you have credit cards that you’re afraid of closing. If you have a high credit limit in other accounts or you have a long-standing credit history not dependent on the cards you want to close, you may not need to worry so much about closing those expensive cards. Depending on the type and amount of credit you have available elsewhere, cancelling a credit card or two that has an annual fee attached to it may save you some money.
  • If you can’t remember how many credit cards you own, it’s time to consolidate. Let’s face it: if you can’t name all of your credit cards off the top of your head right now, it might be a sign that it’s time to cancel some of your accounts. You could be racking up fees and not even know it!

About Stephanie Halligan

Stephanie is the founder of The Empowered Dollar, a site dedicated to helping millennials to fix their finances and find their stride in money and life. When she's not blogging, Stephanie is designing school curricula and online games to teach students about smart money management.

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