Generally, keeping an account open for six months before cancelling is best for your credit score. After cancelling, it's usually recommended to wait three months before reapplying, although you may be successful reapplying after a shorter period as well.
One of the best ways to rack up the points is by cycling through credit cards – opening a new card, collecting the bonus, cancelling the card, and reapplying again.
In terms of the appropriate timeframes for doing this, the conventional wisdom dictates that it’s best to wait six months after opening a new credit card before closing it.
To see why, you need to understand how the credit bureau reporting works behind the scenes. When a new credit account is opened, its status is known as “R0”, or “New Account”. After six months, the status changes to “R1”, or “In Good Standing”.
R1 status is generally seen as better for your overall credit health, since it demonstrates responsible credit usage over time. Allowing your credit cards to build up to R1 status therefore helps to keep your credit score in tip-top shape.
After you’ve cancelled the card, how long should you wait before reapplying? The general rule of thumb here is to wait three months, because some issuers out there will simply re-open your closed account if you reapply too soon.
Nevertheless, you can try your luck and reapply sooner if you’d like – the worst case scenario is that your old account gets reopened or you are otherwise declined somehow and asked to wait a while longer before reapplying.
Last updated 17 November 2018. Any questions? Contact me.