As contrary to common sense as it seems, keeping credit cards open is a good thing.
If you have cards that have been open for longer than 3 years, or cards that you paid down to $0 – keep them open. If you are like the average American with 11 different tradelines, then start closing the ones that are newer – and the ones that you opened just so you could get 10% off those khakis at the department store.
If you have an account that you don’t ever use for a variety of reasons, it’s best to use them every few months to buy gas, ties, gifts for your significant other just to keep them active, and then pay them off in full. One trick I use personally: I have a credit card that is only used to pay my cell phone bill every month – then I utilize auto-pay so that the balance is paid off in full automatically every month.
In addition, 15% of your credit score is based on the length of your credit history, so if you close an account it can affect your credit score. Closing a card can also decrease your debt to credit ratio.
So, no matter how tempted you are to close down those credit card accounts, your best bet is to keep them open and active.