credit

Does closing bank accounts hurt credit?

Don TaylorDear Dr. Don,
I have several savings accounts with different banks. The oldest savings account was established six years ago, and the most recent was opened two years ago. I am planning to close them all and move the money into a money market account paying at least 0.9 percent interest. My concern is whether this is a great decision. Would it hurt my credit score if I close all my savings accounts?

Thanks,
-- Garry Gains

Dear Garry,
Well I certainly wouldn't consider you a "hot money" type jumping around for high returns, even though you are chasing yield by consolidating your savings accounts into a new account paying a higher interest rate.

Your concerns should be with both your credit score and your consumer banking report. Sometimes a bank will do a "hard pull" on your credit report when you open an account. It shows up as a credit inquiry on your credit report, even though you haven't applied for a loan. This credit inquiry can influence your credit score because it stays on your credit report for two years, and it impacts your credit score for that first year. That said, the impact should be minimal and shouldn't drive your decision to consolidate your bank accounts.

On its frequently asked questions Web page, the bank offering the money market account you're considering states that your credit score will never be affected. That means they're doing a "soft pull" on your credit report. A soft pull is just a review of your credit report information without indicating you're applying for credit.

Your consumer banking report, also known as your ChexSystems report, lists your banking relationships and whether you've had any issues in your accounts, such as a bounced check. Negative information stays on your ChexSystems report for five years. Closed savings accounts will show up on your report but won't influence your credit score.

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