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Credit & Debt

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?

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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.

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.

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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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