kdm31091 wrote:I agree there needs to be a balance between immediately closing cards that no longer seem useful vs keeping every account you open forever. I more commonly see people in the latter camp though, wondering how best to keep accounts active that they have outgrown or just have no use for anymore. If there is really, truly nothing you see yourself using the card for in the future, do yourself a favor and close it instead of agonizing over keeping it active. Keeping it active for what? If it doesn't benefit you, move on.
I agree though some cards are nice to just "have" if not to regularly use. Lowe's and Home Depot often involve large ticket purchases so the financing can be useful. I prefer Home Depot to Lowe's, only because it's more convenient to me, but the HD card offers no rewards which sucks (there really is a gap in the market for home improvement rewards).
I don't see any reason to use a card just to keep it active. It can lead to a lot of unjustified spending. Letting an account close as inactive works great because you don't have to call in to cancel, and letting them go inactive means you are focusing on get better cards, and possibly better promotions. Bank of America sends me balance transfer offers all the time for my inactive card, which is really nice if I were to want a balance transfer without opening a new account and doing a HP. Also, in the case that you would like to use that card again, you can reapply and likely be eligible for account sign up bonuses!
I do find the whole "how can I keep my account active?" and such a bit overblown. I mean, unless you only have 3 cards and one of the ones about to be closed has a huge limit, you are unlikely to see a huge score difference from closing the account vs buying things you don't need in order to keep it active. Chances are if you are struggling to find a use for it and keep it active, you don't need it, or it doesn't line up with your spending. Cut it loose and move on. Trust me, the creditors won't care...it's just business. Closing a ton of cards in short succession can look bad on a manual review, but unless you make it a habit, it can be explained.
Even if closing the card will change your util, that's really a temporary issue anyway, as once you pay down the util it will fix itself. So either way nothing worth worrying too much about. But people constantly tie up more and more money every month in GCs just to make a purchase and keep a card active.