A reader wrote to me with a question, in response to my entry regarding how Capital One credit cards hurt your credit score. She is concerned with Capital One’s bureau reporting tactics and their junk mail, but it’s her oldest account, so she doesn’t know if closing the account is the best thing to do.
I responded with some suggestions, but I’m wondering what advice readers may provide. Here is the text of her email.
I was shocked to learn about how Capital One reports credit. I really want to cancel my Capital One account, since it only has a $4,000 credit limit and I am tired of all their unsolicited mail offers for checks. But I hesitate to do so because it is the oldest credit card I have had (about 8 years), and I’ve read that you are supposed to hang on to your oldest accounts to build your FICO score.
The other card I have is a Discover, which is 6 years old with a $8,000 limit.
Do you think it would be a safe move on my part to cancel the Capital One card? I just recently paid off both cards, on which I had a combined balance $6,000.
I know you’re not a financial counselor, but if you had a general opinion about this I’d appreciate your thoughts.
I suggested checking her credit report (which can be done for free once a year from each bureau through annualcreditreport.com) after having not used the Capital One card for a while to determine how they are reporting her activity and limit. If they are reporting a credit limit of $0, it may be worth it to cancel the card and keep the Discover Card, whose age is only two years younger.
Feel free to leave your thoughts, especially if you think I provided a poor opinion.
Updated May 26, 2009 and originally published March 9, 2007.