Credit Advice

Closing an account does not cause the history to be deleted

Have a question?

Do you have a question about consumer credit? You may find an immediate answer by using the search engine. If you can't find what you're looking for, please fill out the form, being as specific as possible.

Please note: The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team will include it in a future column.

Our policies
The information contained in this column if for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult your own attorney or seek specific advice from a legal professional regarding your particular situation.

Please understand that Experian policies change over time. Column responses reflect Experian policy at the time of writing. While maintained for your information, archived responses may not reflect current Experian policy.

Credit Advice

Closing an account does not cause the history to be deleted

Dear Experian,

If we cancel a credit card, I know that the credit score gets reduced. But will the transaction history associated with the credit card be lost forever? If the history gets lost with the credit card cancellation, will it get restored if I re-open the credit card?

- SAC

Dear SAC,

Canceling, or closing, a credit card sometimes can cause a temporary decrease in credit score because it affects the overall balance-to-limit ratio. However, the history for that account will not be lost immediately.

When you close an account, you lose the available credit associated with it. That reduces the sum of your credit limits. Your total balances do not change, making it appear that your total balances have increased compared to your total available credit. That ratio is called the balance-to-limit ratio.

A high balance-to-limit ratio has proven to be a strong indicator of risk. When that ratio increases suddenly, it can negatively impact credit scores.

For that reason, it generally is best for most people to leave unused accounts open. Just be sure to keep the credit card in a safe location, or shred it.

If you choose to close an account you will not lose the history right away. Closed accounts with a zero balance and no negative history remain 10 years from the date they are reported closed.

Closed accounts with negative history, such as late payments, remain seven years from the original delinquency date of the negative information.

The result is that positive accounts will remain part of your credit report longer than negative accounts. Retaining that information is beneficial because a long, positive credit history is one of the best indicators that you will be a low risk customer.

Thanks for asking.

- The "Ask Experian" team

  • © 2014 Experian Information Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.