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Mark Cappel
UpdatedJan 18, 2010

My plain Chase card is my oldest. If I switch to a cash-back card at Chase, will that affect my credit score?

I have a plain-jane Visa card from Chase (no rewards, no cash back, etc); this is my oldest credit card account (13 years) and I have an excellent repayment and credit history (FICO score of 812). I would like to switch this card for a cash-back card with Chase. Will this negatively affect my credit score? Or won't it matter, since I'm staying with the same provider? Thanks!

Your credit score varies based on the information reported about your financial transactions and other information the consumer credit reporting companies collect about you each month. Knowing what factors the credit bureaus use to determine your credit score can give you the tools to improve your scores. Credit bureaus weigh these five factors:

 • Payment history

 • How long have you have had your accounts open

 • How much of your credit line you are using

 • Mix of credit accounts

• Number of accounts you opened recently

See Improve a credit score in a year and Understanding Your Credit Score to learn the relative importance of each of these factors.

Here, you mentioned this Chase card is your oldest. Therefore, you must be very, very careful in handling this card if maintaining an 812 credit score is your paramount goal. In fact, you should look at this situation with an eye towards Murphy's Law. Are you really missing something by not receiving the cash-back rewards?

Obviously, I cannot answer your central question because you are asking me to be a customer service representative at Chase, which I am not. To be successful, you must be certain that Chase will add the rewards program to your existing account. This will preserve your credit card history. If the opposite occurs, your credit report will show that you closed one account with Chase, and then opened a new one.

This will be not good if your next-oldest credit account is less than 12 years old -- say 10 years. This will be a disaster if your next-oldest credit account is four or five years old. It will reset your credit card history. Say good bye to your 812.

Call me conservative, but you may wish to consider opening a new credit card with Chase or some other bank that offers rewards. Keep the plain vanilla Chase account open and used occasionally to maintain your credit card history.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.