How does your credit score measure your oldest account?

By Barry Paperno

Dear Speaking of Credit,
I came across an article you wrote and thought I’d ask you a question I can’t seem to find an answer to – hoping you might know.

I know the age of your credit history matters, but I’m confused… is it the length of age since you’ve opened your first credit card account or is it the length of age of the oldest credit card account you currently have opened? Or is it both?!

I have a card that’s relatively new but still a few years older than other cards that I have, but I want to close this account. But not if the fact that its a couple years older than my others keeps my credit score higher. Thanks! -Jim

Dear Jim,
Along with your newest account and average credit age, it’s the age of the oldest account on your credit report that matters to your score. This is regardless of whether not it was truly your first credit account.

When you close any card its age continues to be included in your score for as long as the account remains on your credit report, which tends to be:
* 10 years from the date closed, when there are no late payments in its history.
* 7 years with a history of late payments.

So, if you close that card there’s no immediate impact to the Length of Credit History scoring category that makes up about 15 percent of your score. Just know that 7-10 years down the road your score could take a dip when that old closed card drops off. If this happens it shouldn’t make a big impact as long as the rest of your credit is in order — paid on time and carrying low utilization.

Hope that helps!

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