A cut up credit card with a balance is a premature party.
The idea that a card cut up can't do any more damage is wrong.
I am against the idea of charging more and I am for having zero debt, but cutting up a card could have the opposite effect. Treating the piece of plastic as a credit card debt voodoo doll doesn't work. The cutting up might be temporarily cathartic but doesn't move you anywhere towards healing.
In fact, we observe that often times premature partification actually hurts. Here's why:
- The card you hate is the card that reports to the credit bureaus. Don't cancel them until you can add more information to the credit bureaus via the credit card you hate. For example, you feel Bank of America screwed you. Don't cancel it. Instead, be patient and keep getting screwed. When you're more healthy financially, wage your war. Banks are notorious for screwing people that don't have better alternatives. You cancelling just kills one of your alternatives (albeit usually a crappy choice).
- Cards with no balance need to be used to boost your credit score. Make a small transaction and pay that off in full. Charge about $50 and then pay it all off EARLY. Buy some stamps (or steal them from work) and keep them on hand. Or visit an old folks home and borrow about ten... old people have great credit because they always have stamps.
- Cards with a balance should not get new charges on it (so its ok to cut it, just know that your account is still wide open and about to get worse). Open your bill. Look at your bill. Feel the pain but know that it will eventually go away.
- Close accounts only if it adds to your credit score. Don't close the account to "teach that big bad credit card company a lesson". If you want to teach them a lesson, call their 800# early and often. Call their 800 number from home, office, church, the car wash and any nearby payphone. Make them cancel you (which they won't). Run up their phone bill and watch your balance whittle away.
"Keep your friends close but your enemies closer" should be your get out of debt motto.