Q: I got my free credit reports this week and I see lots of credit cards that I’ve closed and canceled a long time ago & they say “closed by consumer”.

How long do those stay on your credit report? Can they be removed completely? Do lenders hold it against me if I have all these closed accounts on my report? Thanks!

A: You cannot remove a “closed by consumer” from your credit history, although all information sort of drops off after 10 years.
If your file reported “closed by creditor,” you’d show a significant drop on your credit score.
The idea behind a credit history is to show how you manage credit over time. Opening and closing a lot of accounts in general isn’t a good idea since one of the biggest parts of your score has to do with how long you’ve held an individual piece of credit.
In other words, it’s a whole lot better to have a credit card for 20 years than 2 years.
So, don’t worry about the accounts you have closed in the past since there’s not much you can do about it. Instead, focus on keeping your current accounts paid off, and paying your bills on time.

Published: Apr 1, 2005