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VERIFY: Does opening and closing cards hurt your credit?

Ah, the temptation. Open a store credit card, get that big, fat discount, then just close it.
Credit: sarunkkt
(Credit: Thinkstock)

'Tis the season that shoppers are inundated with store credit card offers.

And they can be pretty tempting when stores promise a big discount to boot. What could be wrong with opening the card, getting the discount, and then closing it?

But you may have heard opening and closing those cards can actually hurt your credit.

Is that true?

"The short answer is yes, it will affect your credit score," says Kathleen Dufner with Thrivent Federal Credit Union.

She says anytime you open or close any type of credit card, it's going to affect your credit score.

"But it's a bigger picture than that," she says. "You know, if you have a mortgage and a car loan and many other forms of credit out there, it could potentially have a smaller impact if you're opening and closing one store card."

Who can it hurt?

"The person who has never opened a credit card before, doesn't have any type of any other loan, and they're opening four or five, that could be a bigger impact on their credit."

So yes, we can verify there 'is' impact. But that impact can vary greatly with each shopper.

And Dufner says there are other things besides that credit score for shoppers to consider.

"They are absolutely not thinking about the terms of the card. they have no idea what their interest rate is typically, if there's an annual fee."

And while opening cards can help build your credit and get you that discount, Dufner leaves shoppers with one final thought.

"My thought is if it's not in my spending plan, if iIm not already planning to buy this purchase, that extra percentage off is typically the thing that's going to just encourage me to spend more than I had planned and that's not helpful for my monthly budget."