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How Closed Credit Cards Affect Your Credit Score

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Dear Creditnet: I haven't used my credit card in a long time, and I think they may have closed it on me. The expiration date on my card passed a few months ago, and they didn't send me a new one. It had a pretty large credit line. Was my credit score dinged?

Answer: You never received a replacement credit card in the mail, but that doesn't necessarily mean your account was closed. The bank may have made an error and failed to send a new card, or perhaps the card was lost in the mail? You need to do some legwork first to determine the true status of your account.

If you have an online account established, logon right away to check your status and the transaction history to make sure there haven't been any unauthorized charges.

If you don't have online access, call your credit issuer directly to verify if the account has been closed or if a replacement card was ever sent to your current address. In addition, you should pull a free credit report from annualcreditreport.com to see how the account is reported on your credit file.

If you determine the account is closed, it's likely your FICO score has taken a bit of a hit. Exactly how much depends on several variables that are part of your individual credit profile. For example, your credit utilization ratio (the amount of credit you use relative your total available credit) has probably worsened unless you obtained a new credit card to replace the available credit you lost when the account was closed. In addition, if this card happened to be the first credit card you ever had, the length of your credit history may have been significantly reduced.

And lastly, your credit mix, which accounts for about 10 percent of your FICO score, may have been adversely affected as well. These three factors account for about 55 percent of your credit score, so you can see why a closed credit card isn't something to take lightly.

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Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Joshua Heckathorn was President of Creditnet, is a credit expert and has been featured on CNNMoney, FOX Business, Yahoo Finance, The Street, and many other national publications during the past ten years.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Management (Finance) from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and earned his MBA from Seattle University.

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Comments

WheresMyCard's picture

This happened to me while I was on an extended trip in Europe. While sifting through my wallet and receipts at home, I noticed one of my cards had expired 3 months ago and no replacement card had arrived. I was just about to purchase a credit report online when I found your article here. Instead I got a free credit report and it indicated my card was still open. I called up my card company and apparently they don't allow new cards to be forwarded by the post office, so that's why my card never arrived. They sent me a new card right away. Thanks for the tip.

Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Glad to hear you got things straightened out! I've had a similar problem with my PO Box address before...very frustrating.