Very long post, my apologies.
2016 was a great credit year for me, in no small part thanks to this forum. I took control of the thousands of dollars in interest I was paying each month for a decade on well over $ 100k in revolving debt and have been actually paying off my balances, getting cards that work for me, and combining/closing out cards that have had zero value. My total revolving balance is safely under 30%, but it will still be at least a few more years before I can even think of getting it under 10% and I do not want to continue to manage all of these cards so I am okay knowing that as I close them my util will not get me much closer to 10%. I own my home, I have all of the cards that I think I need at this time, and the predicament I found myself in after going back to school mostly living on credit cards immediately prior to the financial crash (which made many of my lenders rate jack and balance chase me) is a distant memory. In retrospect, bankruptcy would have saved a lot of stress, but fortunately I can say that I weathered this with no late payments and no negative information since util (around 80-90% for most of that time) has no real memory.
I don’t plan to close everything at once and I won’t go into student/personal/auto loans, LOCs, or mortgage, but here’s what’s in my wallet:
12/2002, AmEx Platinum, NPSL $ 35,000 POT
10/2002, AmEx Preferred Rewards Gold, NPSL $ 35,000 POT
04/2002, AmEx Blue, $ 9,000
12/2005, BoA Travel Rewards VS, $ 16,200
11/2016, BoA BankAmericard Platinum Plus, $ 12,000
12/2004, Capital One Venture One WMC, $ 9,175
12/2009, CBNA/National Tire & Battery, $ 1,000
05/2002, CBNA/Shell, $ 2,025
01/2007, Chase Freedom, $ 4,200
01/2017, Chase Sapphire Preferred VS, $ 12,000
11/2016, Citi Diamond Preferred WMC, $ 5,600
08/2016, Comenity/BJ’s WMC, $ 17,000
06/2016, Discover it, $ 6,000
06/2014, Kohl’s (CapOne), $ 3,000
11/2015, Merrick Bank, $ 2,500
12/2015, NASA FCU Platinum Rewards, $ 15,000
05/2016, Pentagon FCU Defender VS, $ 20,000
05/2012, Synchrony/Amazon, $ 12,000
11/2016, Synchrony/Lowe’s, $ 17,000
12/2002, TD Bank/Target, $ 2,300
12/2003, WebBank/Dell Financial Services, $ 1,500
10/2001, BoA Georgetown Alumni Platinum Plus, $ 40,000
12/1999, Capital One Quicksilver WMC, $ 17,000
11/1996, CBNA/Best Buy, $ 10,000
03/1994, Chase Slate, $ 9,700
04/2004, Citi Double Cash WEMC, $ 9,700
01/1995, Discover it, $ 27,000
No changes planned to any of the AU cards.
AmEx – I use the perks of the Platinum card, and I am actually net-positive on the AF + AU AF – it’s not going anywhere. PRG was my daily use card for 90+% of spend as a regular Gold MR for 13 years before I PC’d last year, and began using other rewards cards for most of my daily spend. It hurts to say goodbye, and I think I will still pretty much break even with the AF + AU AF. The Blue I’m not sure what to do with. It is the original Blue From American Express card that gets minimal MRs on purchases. I’m not sure if a PC would be right for me, but I certainly do not want to close it as it is dated as my oldest open individual account due to back-dating (although I don’t think I opened it until 2003 or 2004) since years ago I didn’t know about the never close your oldest account rule. My oldest accounts are long gone from my CRs and I have a few slightly older ones that will fall off in the next year or two.
BoA – Both of these I do and will use heavily for extended BT offers and nothing else. The credit analyst talked me into the BankAmericard while discussing an APR reduction on the Travel Rewards (which was an MBNA card originally). I’ll probably wait until 2019 and take the HP to combine the limits to my TR and close the Platinum Plus.
CapOne – I have mentioned in other threads that this card seems doomed. This was one of 4 remaining CO cards I had (I closed a few 2003-2006), and this one in particular was the highest limit at the time that I combined the 4 and as with most of my CO cards was originally from a different lender purchased by CO years ago. Unfortunately it was also the highest APR (only by a few %) and newest of the bunch. It has been 11 months since I combined them and CO will not budge on the ridiculous 25.49% APR, will not give me a CLI (even after I ran about $ 3-4k per cycle through it for a few months and PIF), and the only BT offers I have available are to pay 0% and still “only” pay my purchase APR of 25.49%. I thought maybe I would grab another CapOne card in a few years and just dump this one’s limit into it, although I have to say that I feel absolutely no loyalty to them and would happily close the card today if not for the util padding and eventual AAoA hit. Even the no-FTF I have with better cards now.
CBNA – The retail card side of Citi hates me for some reason. I closed my Home Depot card after opening my Lowe’s card since I took a dozen plus HPs over the years with no CLI. The Shell card has no value other than AAoA (not a Drive for 5) and I haven’t used the NTB in years. Considering dropping both.
Chase – I use the Freedom only for 5% category spend, cost me a HP to move my Slate line to it last year, denied CLI even after recon New Year’s Eve, but the APR is a failrly low 14.24%. I got the CSP for the bonus. Currently using it as I would have used my PRG. Not sure if I will move the line over to Freedom next year or keep it. Have toyed with the idea of PCing to CSR next year but may be too redundant with the $ 625 I am already paying for AmEx Platinum. With a family of 4 it’s easy to recoup AFs with travel perks.
Citi – Acquired solely for BT offer and low 12.24% APR. May end up keeping this one just for BT needs. Could PC to Double Cash like we did with my wife’s, also, but who needs 2 DCs?
Comenity – This was a no-brainer since we already knew our BJ’s Rewards membership was paying for itself in cash back at 2%. I have actually been using Discover and Freedom for purchases there, though, since it’s the same 5% or 10% (Discover doubling) and I took full advantage of the 0% BT (1% fee) offer until March 2018. No grace period on new purchases means this one is likely SD’d until next year.
Discover – Loving this for category spend, especially during the cash back doubling which ends in June. I don’t see me getting rid of this.
Kohl’s – Not going to grow since I hit the $ 3k cap. We do shop there often, and even though my wife also has one I think it’s worth it for the coupons.
Merrick Bank – For a Merrick card, this one’s not so bad. 19.7% and no AF. Completely useless to me, though, and a prime candidate for the chopping block. Hasn’t been used in a year (I think I just made a $ 1200 purchase and paid in full to get the “double your line” 6 months later).
NASA – The start of my getting out of debt journey and how I discovered this forum. Got it for the 7.9% BT for life, which I ended up moving over to another card recently. I think I’ll hold onto this one in case there is a good BT offer in the future or if an emergency comes up and I need to put it on a fairly low APR card.
PenFed – Thanks MyFico members! I love PenFed. After closing out some cards, I will call them back in a year or so and discuss seriously ramping up my credit line on this card. I am not sure if there is a $ 50k cap on it, but after speaking with a loan officer when I successfully reconned my CLI (“already have maximum open end credit” – at first I thought they were telling me I walk like an Egyptian, but it meant I had the maximum total credit lines across all lenders for my income) I know that they can and will override their underwriting standards if it means they are getting big balance transfers.
Synchrony – These aren’t going anywhere. I am a homeowner that shops at Amazon at least weekly.
TD Bank – The Target card I’ve mentioned in a few other threads. Started at $ 1300, went through a few lender changes and one of those times got a CLD to $ 800 (when did this switch from Visa to MC? 2005?). A decade later, I got a $ 500 CLI in June and $ 1000 in December. Hoping those continue every 6 months. If still at $ 800, it would be at or near the top of the chopping block. As is, the 5% on a monthly trip makes it wortthwhile.
WebBank – I bought a Dell monitor 13 years ago. A laptop 11 years ago. A camera lens 2 years ago. 29.24% interest and I would completely give up on it ever growing. It can be used at Microcenter now, but I don’t think any promotional APRs or rewards apply. I also think this one may be the “too many consumer finance accounts” that I have seen every now and then (or do all store cards contribute to that?).
Any and all advice on which accounts I should or should not close, possible PCs that I haven’t though about, etc… are quite appreciated. In addition to a lot of combining/refinancing (student, personal, auto, mortgage) last year, I did close 3 CapOne cards, a Chase card, an Elan card (forgot what bank that used to be), and my Home Depot card. AAoA is currently 8.6 years. I am not so worried about the impact for the next 10 years, but rather what happens IN 10 years if I close too many of the older accounts since you can see most were opened either 10-15 years ago or last year, with not a lot in between. I have 20+ closed accounts on each CB.