Keep credit card debt accounts open

Some consumers who have gotten out of debt problems by paying off their credit cards may think they should close their accounts.

However, financial expert Liz Pulliam Weston noted that closing accounts can end up hurting a person’s credit score. Pulliam Weston recently received a letter from a reader who had paid off $49,000 in credit card debt and is now wondering if they should close their accounts.

“If you can trust yourselves not to run up more debt, your best option is to leave the accounts open and use them occasionally so the issuers don’t shut them down for inactivity,” Pulliam Weston wrote.

By keeping accounts open, the consumer will have more available credit on their credit report, which could lead to a better score. Closing accounts, however, could put a negative mark on credit scores.

Other things that can affect a person’s credit score include late payments on bills or declaring bankruptcy, which can stay on a credit report for as much as 10 years.