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Closing a credit card shouldn’t either hurt or help your credit (unless it’s your only card or you have a lot of credit debt).
FICO score takes into consideration something called a “credit utilization ratio”. This ratio basically looks at your total used credit in relation to your total available credit; the higher this ratio is, the more it can negatively affect your FICO score.
It can hurt your score as your credit utilization ratio will rise if you have balances on your other cards, as your total available credit will decrease by closing a line of credit. However, this will change when you bring your balances down. You can also plan ahead and make sure all your balances are close to 0 when you close your cards.
Personally, I don’t see the point of having a lot of credit cards so I’m in your same line of thought. I see people on the myfico.com forums with 7-10 cards (and more!) and I just don’t get it. It’s like they’re obsessed with credit cards. I just want to get to a point where I have excellent credit and can qualify for a mortgage and have the credit that I need.
A credit card or the number of credit cards you have does not define who you are as a person, so having 10 credit cards will not help me feel more accomplished. In fact, I wish I didn’t have to worry about credit at all. Unfortunately it’s not possible.
I think 3 regular credit cards is more than enough for me (I have a store card as well), though I could see myself having more or less at some point, depending on the circumstances. I have 3 right now, but I’m looking to close my secured card next month and get another one to replace it at some point.
I think you have a good plan, 3 each sounds like a good number to me.
If you don’t mind me asking, which cards are you closing and which are you keeping?