I have credit cards I don’t use. Should I cancel them?

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Q. I have seven credit cards but I only really use two, one for cash back and the other for airline miles. Should I get rid of the other ones? I know that could hurt my credit but it seems dumb to keep them.
— Borrower, sometimes

A. Yours is a question many people have.

Should I keep cards I don’t use?

An important question to ask yourself is whether any of the cards have a high annual fee, said Adrian Rodriguez, a certified financial planner with Access Wealth in East Hanover.

If yes, you should definitely cancel the cards, he said.

“If there is no annual fee, or you consider it reasonable because it comes with benefits you utilize, then there is no harm in keeping the extra cards open,” Rodriguez said. “In fact, keeping them open will make your credit utilization look lower and give you a longer credit history — both factors that support a higher credit score.”

Rodriguez said other reasons that might support closing the credit cards would be if they are joint credit cards with a significant other you may be separating from, joint credit cards with someone who might abuse the credit line, leaving you liable, and if you believe you may be tempted to use all the cards and max out your credit lines.

Otherwise, he said, there is no downside to keeping your extra credit cards open.

“Just make sure that you keep your cards in a safe place so they can’t be stolen, and check your statements periodically to ensure that they are not being used fraudulently,” he said.

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This story was originally published on Dec. 30, 2022.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.