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The past few years, I have been opening a new credit card that offers a intro bonus (usually $200 - $300 after spending $500 or $1000 within the first 3 - 4 months) and also 0% purchase APR for 12 months. I let the debt accumulate over the 0% promotional APR period paying only the minimum each month. Then I pay it off in full right before the intro rate goes away and stop using the card. I then move onto a new card with similar arrangement and do the same thing. I have an 816 FICO credit score with a long history (my AMEX card has been open since 2006 and I have had 2 different mortgages with one current mortgage) and never missed a payment, never paid credit card interest. I don't plan to be taking out credit any time soon, but I want to keep my score high. A few questions:

  1. Once the intro APR goes away and I stop using the card, should I close it or leave it open with a $0 balance. I currently have 3 open cards. 2 have no balance. I'm using the one that still has the 0% intro APR.

  2. If I want to get more aggressive in capturing the cash intro bonus, would it hurt my credit if I use the card until I meet the requirements to get the cash bonus (usually by spending $500 - $1000 within 3 months) and then simply close the card and move on to another card with similar offer?

marked as duplicate by JoeTaxpayer Mar 8 '18 at 19:52

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    reddit.com/r/churning – Hart CO Mar 7 '18 at 5:12
  • @JoeTaxpayer, yes, I wasn't using the right search terms. This question has been addressed before. Follow Joe's link. – PentiumPro200 Mar 7 '18 at 21:31
  • I just wanted to be sure. When a new member’s first post is closed, it’s a bit off putting. I try to “close as duplicate” only after OP agrees. Welcome to Money.SE – JoeTaxpayer Mar 7 '18 at 21:36
  • No problem, thanks for checking. Feel free to close this as a duplicate. – PentiumPro200 Mar 7 '18 at 21:41
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You may be interested in http://www.reddit.com/r/churning

should I close it or leave it open with a $0 balance

The majority of the cards will not provide sign up bonuses to current account holders, or account holders who have received a bonus in some amount of time, typically 24 months. Thus, if you are looking to ever receive this bonus again, you should close the card.

would it hurt my credit if I use the card until I meet the requirements to get the cash bonus (usually by spending $500 - $1000 within 3 months) and then simply close the card and move on to another card with similar offer

Each application is going to result in a hard pull, which has negative impact on your credit for 1 year. In addition, many credit card companies have limits on how many newly opened cards you can have before they will not approve you for their's -- the most famous is Chase's 5/24 rule which cuts you off if you have five new cards opened in the last 24 months. So it can behoove you to plan which cards you're going to get ahead of time.

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The typical advice is to keep credit cards (particularly your oldest) open because closing them could hurt your credit score. But this may not be as applicable for somebody who has an exceptional credit score and is opening lots of credit cards for the introductory bonuses.

You could try something like Credit Karma's Credit Score Simulator (I've seen similar tools on other sites). It doesn't let you simulate closing a specific card, just your oldest one. But I suspect that would be a worst-case scenario, unless the card you're closing will have a significant impact on your credit utilization. I'm in a very similar position to you, and for me the simulator gets confused because my credit score actually goes up if I simulate closing my oldest card.

Unless you are ultra sensitive to changes in your credit score right now (such as planning to buy a home soon, in which case you shouldn't be opening a lot of new credit cards anyway), I suspect the hassle of keeping all these cards (and checking them at least monthly for fraudulent charges) far outweighs potentially lowering your credit score by a few points. I would recommend keeping cards until you receive and redeem your introductory bonus, and then closing them unless you might want to use the card again in the future.


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