Merging Credit Card Accounts

Before you close your individual accounts and switch to a single joint card, understand the potential impact on your credit score.

I recently married, and my husband and I are setting up our financial accounts. We’re thinking about switching to a joint credit card to simplify our finances, but we are concerned that canceling our old credit cards will negatively affect our credit. Would it be better to keep our individual cards open or to close them?

Congratulations to you and your husband! You are on the right track. Even though it might simplify your finances to have one joint card between the two of you, closing old cards can hurt your credit score. It would be better to open a third joint credit card account rather than cancel your existing accounts.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.