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Does leaving accounts that I don't use open make me more susceptible to fraud?

An open account which is unused may make you more vulnerable to fraudsters, who may pretend to be you in order to spend money in your name. This is because you are less likely to be checking regularly and spot any problems on an account that you are not using.

Should I leave credit accounts open to protect my credit score?

Closing an account can affect your credit score in a positive or negative way, depending on the account that you are closing. Closing an account that you no longer use may reduce the risk of fraud on that account but closing the wrong accounts could harm your credit score.

Accounts that have been open for a long time may have a positive impact on your credit score so if you decide to close some accounts to help your credit score, start by looking at inactive accounts that you no longer use. The general guidance is that you should aim to have fewer, well-managed credit accounts.

When you close accounts, the correct way is to call or send a letter to the customer service department of the lender. It can take 30-60 days for the lender to report the closed account to the credit reference agencies. A closed account can remain on your credit file for up to 6 years but will be marked as “closed”. You may find that your credit score initially decreases when you close old accounts that you no longer use. This is because there will be a change to your available credit.