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Credit Cards

Do Reissued Credit Cards Hurt Credit Scores?

Make sure replaced credit cards do not appear as a new account on your credit report.

Q: Three of my four credit cards have been reissued in the past six months. One was re-issued with a new number because of possible fraud; another was reissued because Citi had upgraded it. Finally, one card was reissued with a new number because I had used it at TJ Maxx. My fourth card is less than a year old. Will the reissued cards hurt my credit score?

Your predicament is not uncommon. In the past year, almost one in five consumers had a credit card replaced because it had been compromised, according to a report by Javelin Strategy & Research. Customers of the TJX companies, which include retailers TJ Maxx and Marshalls, were particularly hard hit. More than 45 million credit- and debit-card numbers were stolen from the company's database.

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A replacement card should not affect your credit score, says Craig Watts of Fair Isaac, which created the FICO credit score. "FICO will see the account as a single history, even though there are two account numbers."

But spokesmen for Experian and TransUnion -- two of the three major credit bureaus -- say that how the issuer reports the reissued account could make a difference. If it's reported as an old account with a new number, your payment history is unchanged. If it's treated as a new account, however, the closed account and the new account will both be listed on your credit report.

To see how your reissued accounts have been reported to the credit bureaus, request a free copy of your credit report at www.annualcredit-report.com).

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