I have two bad credit cards, one at 11.8% + Prime (working out to about 18%+) and another recently raised to 30% (card issuer swears they did this on every cardholder, and that I'm a member in good standing, etc.). These are the only credit cards I have.

I've had them since shortly out of high school (~10 years). These were the best I could get at the time, and steadily over the years these cards have raised my available credit limits, but refuse to lower my interest rates. I try my best not to use these cards, but I really would feel more comfortable having at least one "usable" card for emergencies and what-not.

Recently I took out a personal loan at 14% and consolidated my two credit card debts into one smaller payment, which is scheduled to be paid off in about 1.5 years. I've kept the credit cards open, but with empty balances.

I know closing either of the cards will substantially impact my credit report in a negative manner, due to the length of time I've had these accounts open, and any new card replacing them will not have enough history to offset the damage.

How does one go about getting rid of bad credit cards and maintain their credit score? If it matters, I'm currently at around 730-740 depending on the bureau.

  • 1
    Do you have annual fees on the cards you want to ditch?
    – JohnFx
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 22:56
  • Relevant to your situation: They may close the cards if you don't use them periodically anyway. creditcards.com/credit-card-news/…
    – JohnFx
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 22:59
  • @JohnFx one of the cards (the 30% one) does charge me an annual fee ($50), but when I request it be voided, they always do. I don't want to loose them by not using them, so I can make a habit of putting some on there and paying off monthly (to avoid the insane interest rates), but I'd really want to have a card which I would feel "OK" not having to pay off at the end of the month, should such a situation occur where I'm unable.
    – forgeaboit
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 23:02
  • The trick to permanently removing the fee/reducing the interest rate is to call them and ask to close the card. They get a lot more generous when they realize you are serious about firing them.Of course, you have to be willing to go through with it.
    – JohnFx
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 23:04
  • @JohnFx that brings me right back to my initial issue, closing any of the cards is likely to negatively impact my score, even if I were to replace them with same-credit-limit cards (so that my debt-to-credit ratio doesn't change). Is this something I just need to "bite the bullet" on and close these cards and get new, lower interest ones?
    – forgeaboit
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 23:30

3 Answers 3


Unless your credit rating is right on the edge and/or you're about to negotiate a mortgage-sized loan, stop trying to micro-optimise a number that is mostly irrelevant and just close the unwanted accounts.

  • 2
    +1 Agreed. Be bold, ignore conventional wisdom, and close the cards you will never use. Your credit score is excellent and will only go up the longer you go on without late payments. Ignore the slight ding that might pop up by closing these cards.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 0:17
  • 1
    +1 agreed. The credit rating is s measure of how much money the bank can expect to make off of your purchasing habits. Focus on your own finances, and let the banks worry about theirs. I have no credit rating now and it has not stopped me from doing anything I needed to.
    – pojo-guy
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 0:29

Another factor you are missing: You can use a high interest credit card without paying a ton of interest if you pay it off in full. Thus you can keep the one without the annual fee without getting soaked. Put something on it that you can pay off when the bill comes.

I do this with a credit card that is not as good as what I really use but which has a much longer credit history--the cable company charges the card for my internet bill, I pay off the card (which I have automated) and since they see it in use they're not going to close it.


These aren't Bad Credit Cards, they are (or "were", since the question is almost 3 years old) Badly Used Credit Cards.

Keep them open, and use them. Just... pay them off every month.

(We used our credit cards very badly, too. Once we paid off our CC debt and got out of the habit of spending as if there's no consequence, we went back to using our 17% cards. We haven't paid any interest in 5+ years, though, because we pay the whole bill every month.)

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