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Is it time to say goodbye to some of those credit cards?

Chances are good the last time you bought anything -- from that tank of gas on the way home yesterday to that cup of coffee on your way into work this morning -- you paid for it with a credit card. Chances are also good that you had multiple card options from which to choose, perhaps combing through your wallet to find some preferred plastic.

While it's always good to have some latitude when it comes to credit cards, there might come a time when you've simply accumulated too many and need to consider taking out your scissors. In other words, you may need to consider closing some accounts for good.

According to experts, the typical consumer will want to consider this option if they find themselves consistently tempted to use their credit cards to make large one-time purchases or multiple purchases in one fell swoop (think online shopping sprees).

Here, the logic is that the temptation to overspend will be greatly curtailed when spending is confined to just a few cards, as the consumer wouldn't see smaller balances spread out over multiple cards, but rather only a few large balances on one or two cards, essentially serving to scare them straight.

All this, of course, raises the question as to how to identify those credit cards that are prime candidates for closure. According to experts, two guiding factors for consumers should include:

  • Annual fees: Given that there are seemingly innumerable credit cards offering no annual fees, experts indicate any credit cards insisting on collecting this from the consumer should be prime candidates for closure.
  • Interest rate: While there really is no such thing as a low interest rate when it comes to credit cards, some cards do offer better rates. As such, experts urge consumers to shop around to determine what the industry standard seems to be and use this as a sort of benchmark to identify which credit cards they should consider closing.

While it's true that closing a credit card will have a negative impact on a consumer's credit score, experts indicate the impact is small in the long run -- especially when compared with keeping unfavorable credit card accounts open indefinitely.

It's imperative for those who find themselves unable to manage their credit card debt -- even struggling to make minimum payments -- to understand that they have options for securing a fresh start.

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