Credit Cards

Here’s an easy way to keep an old credit card open

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Never forget to use an old credit card with this easy technique.

Key points

  • An old credit card can help you improve your credit score by increasing the amount of available credit you have and the length of your credit history.
  • Using your credit card to pay a monthly bill is an easy way to keep your account active.

Keeping older credit cards open could help you improve your credit. But if you don’t use the card enough, your card issuer could cancel your account without you even knowing it. If you want to avoid this, you should continue to use the card from time to time.

Keeping an old credit card open has its advantages. The two main reasons you might want to do this:

  1. It can help you strengthen the age of your credit history.
  2. You can increase the amount of available credit you have.

The age of your credit history represents 15% of your FICO┬« Score. Having older active accounts can help you improve the average age of your credit history and shows that you’ve managed your credit longer, which creditors like to see.

Your credit utilization ratio is the amount of available credit you use and makes up 30% of your FICO┬« Score. Having more open accounts can increase the amount of available credit you have, which may help you lower your credit utilization ratio. You’ll still need to monitor how much available credit you’re using; less is better.

Keeping old accounts open can improve your credit score

Your credit score can influence the financial opportunities available to you, so making decisions that positively impact your credit is essential. Keeping an old account open is a good decision to make.

My oldest credit card is 16 years old. There is no annual fee, so I see the benefit of keeping the account open. However, I don’t use the card for everyday purchases because it doesn’t earn rewards like my rewards credit cards. But I found an easy way to keep the account open.

Use your old credit card to pay a bill

An easy way to make sure you don’t forget to use an old credit card is to use it to pay a regular bill. You can put one of your bills on auto pay and your card will be charged every month. Since your account will have regular activity, it will show up on your credit report.

I do this with the older credit card mentioned above. I use this card to pay my $7 monthly Hulu bill. I have auto pay set up through Hulu so I don’t have to think about using the card.

Since I no longer need to remember to use this credit card manually, the account remains active without my thinking. I also set up auto pay with my credit card issuer to pay my credit card balance in full each month. These actions help me eliminate forgetfulness.

Should I keep an old credit card open?

Keeping a previous credit card account open could be beneficial. If you have a previous card with an annual fee, you can ask the card issuer to lower the card’s qualification to a $0 annual fee so it costs you nothing to continue using it.

By using your card for small purchases, you can keep your account open so that your account activity is reported to the credit bureaus and continues to appear on your credit report.

When used carefully, credit cards can be a powerful personal finance tool. If you’re looking for a new credit card, check out our list of the best credit cards.

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