When should you cut up your credit cards? | CreditShout

When should you cut up your credit cards?

By Kevin / July 16, 2009


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What circumstances make it okay to cut up your credit cards? This is a fairly common question and the truth is there are a number of situations when it isn’t just okay; you should cut up those cards! Here’s the run-down of the reasons that should make you go through your wallet and slice up your cards.

1. You can’t control your credit spending
This is one of the most obvious reasons and a time when everyone should step in and take control of their spending before they run themselves into debt or bankruptcy. If your credit card is sending you spiraling into debt, collection calls or even just a general lack of funds, you may have a spending problem that you need to get a hold on. Not everyone can control themselves enough to charge only what they can afford. If this is the case with you, cut up your credit cards and consider tackling your problem head-on. Get out of the credit game and try calling Debtors Anonymous.

2. If you have too many cards to handle
If you’ve been pulled in one too many times by the “save 10% on your first purchase” offers, you may find your wallet crammed with credit cards you don’t even use. It’s true that maintaining accounts in good standing will help you create a positive credit history, but getting rid of newer and unused accounts is still a good idea. It can also cause too much temptation for some people, leading to overspending and debt, not to mention the trouble you can run in to when you don’t even remember which credit cards you have.

3. A ex or someone irresponsible has access to the account
This is definitely a time when you should cut up your credit cards. If you and your spouse are splitting up and you have credit cards that both have access to, it could pose a problem. If the other person decides to wrack up debt on the account, you’ll most likely be just as liable, particularly if you live in a community property state. Community property states, by the way, are those in which both people in a marriage have equal rights and equal liability to the assets. If you think that anyone with access to your credit card accounts may go on a spending spree, definitely cut up the cards and call your creditors to close or simply suspend the accounts for a time.

4. You suspect you may be the victim of identity theft
This is another great reason to cut up your credit cards. As soon as you think someone else may have access to your accounts, call up all of your creditors and tell them what you think and explain the situation. As you speak to a customer service representative on the phone, they’ll probably tell you all about cutting up and destroying your cards and waiting for a new card to be issued. Also file a report with your local police department and flag your personal files with the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian).

5. You’ve received a replacement card
If your credit card issuer has reissued you a new credit card for any reason, such as an account switch, it’s now a good idea to cut up the old card you’ve been hanging on to. It’s possible for identity thieves to get information from the old account, even if it no longer works. Always decrease the possibility of fraud by shredding old cards.

6. You don’t want to stay with your card issuer
Lastly, if you’re not happy with your credit card issuer, it’s okay to cut up your credit cards. If you don’t like the policies or dislike other aspects of their service, feel free to stop using the account. Remember to always try letting them know how you feel before you close the account, especially if there’s anything they can do about it. This may be a good idea if the account is in good standing and has a good age to it.

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