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.