Transition Guidance

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Title:Give Cast Off Credit Cards a Proper Farewell

Author:Lisa Jankoski, Copyright, permission Army Times. All rights reserved.

What you don't charge may still hurt you. Cutting up your credit cards may end your charging, but it does not close your accounts, credit experts say. Nor does refraining from any charges keep a credit card off your record. It takes more than that to close a charge account.

"Most creditors require notification in writing if you want to close an account," says Maxine Sweet, vice president of consumer education at the credit reporting firm Experian.

If a creditor doesn't know that you no longer want to use its card, your credit line will stay on your report. After closing an account officially; you should check your report afterward to verify that the account has been closed. Be aware that all your cards, whether or not you use them, might count against you when you apply for something you want or need.

"It's too broad a statement to say that you should cut up all your unused cards," Sweet says. "But if a creditor has any doubt about you, the extra cards could be a factor that keeps you from getting more credit."

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