December 5th, 2012

Credit Report Card Break-Down: Average Age of Open Credit Lines

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Credit Report Card Break-Down: Age of Open Credit Lines

Last time, we talked about how your percentage of on-time payments affects your credit. Before that, it was all about your open credit card utilization and how a high percentage can really ding your score. Today, we’re discussing another factor in your Credit Report Card: your average age of open credit lines.

Your credit history says a lot about you as a borrower. Of course, there’s whether or not you’ve made payments on time, but there’s also just how long your history is. In Credit Karma’s Credit Report Card, we take a look at the average age of your open credit lines, since many scoring models weigh newer credit lines more heavily.

How does my credit history length affect my credit?

Your credit history length is a significant factor in your credit score. Based on that, the average age of your credit cards is a strong indicator of your credit history. Basically, the longer that you’ve responsibly managed credit (like credit cards), the higher your credit score. Lenders and creditors can get a more thorough and accurate evaluation of your creditworthiness by looking at years and years of your credit use.

This is reflected in the score comparison charts you’ll see in your Credit Report Card.

average age of open credit lines


From this chart you can see that Credit Karma members with an average age of open credit lines at eight or more years also have an average credit score of 700, which is a good score. On the opposite end of the spectrum, members who have no credit history average out to a credit score of 554, which is in the poor range. In the middle, members averaging out to four to six years of history have a credit score of 679, which is good, but not great.

What can I do?

There’s no quick fix to make your credit history longer, but there are a few things you can keep in mind as you keep building your credit:

    1. When possible, keep old accounts open and in good standing. Unless your oldest credit card account is costing you money, keep it open and use it regularly. This will continue to lengthen the average age of your credit lines over time.
    2. Spread out credit card applications. You already know that you shouldn’t apply for a bunch of credit cards at once because of the hard inquiries the applications will initiate. But when you’re working on building your credit, it’s also important to spread out new applications because of the average age of your credit lines. As you’re adding new cards, leave at least a year of space between applications, especially if they’re your first few cards.

Have questions? Leave them in the comments section below. And stick around for more of the Credit Report Card Break-Down Series here on the Credit Karma Blog!

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Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.


  1. My oldest credit card is the “worst” of all my cards. It has the lowest credit line and has no rewards or cash back at all. However, it is the prettiest.

    Wasn’t there an article posted here about how to transfer (or something like that) to a new card with rewards without losing the credit history of the account?

    Katherine at 10:37 am on December 10, 2012
  2. Hi, Katherine. My recommendation would be to keep the card open and active, but only with small purchases monthly. Get a nice rewards (cash back, I’d recommend) credit card for bigger credit purchases. You don’t need to show MORE activity on your older card, just SOME.

    bethy at 11:42 am on December 10, 2012
  3. Great, thanks!

    Katherine at 10:35 am on December 17, 2012
  4. Hi, Bethy! Tell me please, if my Friend has 8 Credit Cards include 1 Secured Card and1 Macy’s Card – Can he just will close last two? How it can affect him credit score?

    John at 12:29 am on January 2, 2013
  5. This is a great question, but also difficult to answer because there are other factors. Depending on the balances on your friend’s other credit cards compared with his overall credit limits, his score will be affected. However, it sounds like these last two cards might be the worst of the bunch, so it could be a good idea to close. Have your friend ask his question in the Credit Advice Center of Credit Karma: where he can really describe the situation. Also remember that no one can tell you exactly how a change like this can affect your credit – so he shouldn’t expect a specific point range, just an idea.

    bethy at 1:14 pm on January 2, 2013
  6. I understand how longer average age will help. So for instance if I had a credit line that just opened for a directed purpose and I am already finished with it, will closing that newest credit line help my credit score by removing that newest age or will it hurt by forever freezing a “3 month” age into the average?

    Scott at 10:43 am on June 13, 2013
  7. How is the “average” account age calculated? My oldest open account is 31 Yrs and 7 Mos. Newest open Account is 0 Yrs 6 Mos. My Average Account age is 6 yrs 11 Mos. I have had many, many accounts, loans, mortgages, lines of credits, etc. opened and paid off over the last 30 years. How is the “average” calculated? Would it help if I “close” my newest accounts?

    Susan at 12:47 pm on June 23, 2013
  8. Jenna

    Hi Susan, the average account age is all of your open accounts’ ages added together divided by the number of accounts you have. If you have any specific questions about your account, please email Thanks!

    Jenna at 4:04 pm on June 25, 2013
  9. Interesting survey!

    SMS kredīts at 6:03 am on July 9, 2013
  10. How do I calculate the age of my accounts? I have one that is about 11 years old, two more that are five, another that’s four, and recently opened up five more because I was told it would help me in buying a house with a good APR. However, when I went to apply for a preapproval letter, I was told the age of my accounts were WAY too young. Based on what I’ve read, four years seems to be acceptable. Now I need to find out how to calculate the age of all my accounts so I know when to go back out and start looking again. With car payment, department store, general use, and healthcare credit cards I have fourteen that show up on my report.

    Christeen at 11:26 am on April 17, 2014
  11. This is to clarify what I had just wrote. I have a total of fourteen revolving/installment accounts. Two are installmemt and the rest are either dept. store cards or general use cards (Visa, Mastercard, Barclay, Discover, etc. type of cards). The oldest is a Chase card opened in 2005, 2 charge cards in 2009, then my car payment which I opened in 2010, and within the last years or so I opened the rest of them (most in the last few months).

    Christeen at 11:37 am on April 17, 2014
  12. I have a now inactive Discover card which was opened over 20 years ago, always in good standing. My daughter’s name is now on it too. If I closed this account, how would it effect my credot score?

    Pat Barrett at 12:44 pm on June 25, 2014
  13. Mike

    Thanks for the question, Pat. To find more information, I’d suggest checking out this article:

    Thanks again!

    Mike at 3:03 pm on June 25, 2014
  14. It says that I have the longest credit history of all Credit Karma members in all areas and locations, but still get a C in that category. That just isn’t right. WHY?

    Jim at 2:01 am on July 28, 2014
  15. Mike

    Hey Jim – Thanks for your question. This sounds like it may be a bug, so I’d recommend filing a ticket with our member support team for further investigation. You can reach them here:


    Mike at 11:52 am on July 28, 2014
  16. So I currently have a credit score of 773 (but apparently went down 12 points) and/or 781 based on your two company models. In the past two years, I opened up a small business bank account and credit card for my business banking. However, in the past year I decided to switch the business cc to a different institution but still remained banking with the same bank until last week when i switched over my business banking to the same bank as I now have business cc with. However I’m wanting now to close my business cc I orginally had since I want to close the bank account as well and apparently the bank doesn’t allow me to keep my business card open unless I keep the bank account open too. However I’m wondering if closing the originally card for the business will lower my score since I only used the bank’s cc for 1 year before switching. I’m also wondering the same with my personal cc that I first opened about 3-4 years ago but I now want to close along with my bank account and use my new personal cc with chase and its account. The banker at chase advised me to keep the old cc open for at least 6 years to keep my score high. I have paid the balances in full and on time the entire time I have had these cc. What would you advise ?

    sara at 6:42 pm on January 26, 2015
  17. I should also note before I switched the business cc I have now I had applied and gotten accepted to another which I quickly closed realizing the rewards weren’t as appealing as the rewards on the cc I use now.

    sara at 6:43 pm on January 26, 2015
  18. Mike

    Hey Sara – This is a great question. While closing an old credit card could have negative effects on your credit health, there’s also no set minimum number of years you must leave a card open for. I’d recommend checking out this article for more information:


    Mike at 9:01 am on January 27, 2015
  19. I opened my first credit card one year ago, and it’s a TD Bank Secured card. I was finally approved two months ago for an unsecured card through Capital One, and want to close out the secured card with TD because they were misleading when I first enquired about opening the account. How much of an impact will closing the account have on my average (anywhere between 668-698) credit score?

    Frank at 1:45 pm on February 23, 2015
  20. Credit Karma has that the Age of Credit History as a medium impact on the score. However, when I closed an mortgage account that was making my debt to income ratio to high (which I think should have a higher impact than a calculation of an “average score” vs. the actual length of credit) , Credit Karma’s scoring dropped my credit score 66 points.
    When I had a collection added , it only dropped my score 9 points and that is under High Impact.
    First Question, dropping a score 66 points, would that not make it a high impact on your credit score ?
    Second question, shouldn’t debt to income ratio be among your calculations since that is what lenders really look at??
    Why should Credit Card Utilization be High Impact and not Debt to Income Ratio?

    Nicole at 12:22 pm on March 26, 2015
  21. Jenna

    Hi Nicole,

    All good questions that I’ll do my best to answer.

    1. Credit scoring factors don’t affect everyone in the same way. For example, one missed payment usually hurts someone with excellent credit much more than someone who’s already had a bunch of missed payments. It all depends on your specific situation. Unfortunately, we don’t calculate the scores on our site ourselves (they’re pulled directly from the bureaus), so we can’t say for sure why your score dropped so much.
    2. Most scoring models, including the VantageScore 3.0 that we provide, don’t take into account your debt-to-income ratio. It’s often used to make major lending decisions, like if you apply for a mortgage:

    If you have any other questions, please email, as that’s the best way for us to help you. Thanks!

    Jenna at 8:16 am on March 27, 2015
  22. Why is it that Credit Karma only takes your open accounts when figuring AAoA. That isn’t how FICO does it. FICO takes into account all the accounts on your credit report including closed accounts. This makes much more sense since those accounts are certainly part of your credit history. Hey, they want to look at those accounts if there’s anything bad on them, why wouldn’t they look at them when they are in good standing, too? I think you are inadvertently misinforming people here. ALL ACCOUNTS count towards your real FICO score, not just the open ones. I mean, how ridiculous for someone with a 25 year credit history to show an AAoA of 4 years… really…

    Ben Franklin at 1:47 pm on July 13, 2015
  23. Enola Guerrero

    Hi Ben – The credit bureaus factors in a lot of things in your report to generate a score. Please keep in mind that we provide scores using the Vantage 3.0. from Transunion and Equifax, this is not the same as FICO.

    Enola Guerrero at 12:54 pm on July 14, 2015
  24. Hi, It seems like a lot of people are in the same boat. I had 26 years of credit history And I opened up a Fingerhut account 13 months ago So now it shows my average age of credit Is 6 months I couldn’t find a piece of bubble gum out of a bubble gum machine if I wanted to. My question is, is there any way possible to add old account back onto my credit report? I finance the vehicle made all the payments on time and paid it off how come that is not on my Credit report Or not even count as existing? I bought Two vehicles one motorcycle Made perfect payment paid them off in full on time and not a bit is on any of my credit report is there any way to Add a couple years at least back on if I get the documents to prove that I had these vehicles financed? Please help. Thank you You are very much appreciated.

    Marty patt at 12:19 pm on July 21, 2015
  25. Enola Guerrero

    Hi Marty – I suggest contacting the credit bureaus about your credit report. Also, you can ask your credit concerns in our advice center here:

    Enola Guerrero at 8:57 pm on July 21, 2015
  26. Hi CK Team,

    I applied for a Chase Slate card to do a balance transfer but was not approved for the full amount. When I called to see if I could get an increase, I was told they could run it again, but that would be another hard inquiry. Do hard inquiries from the same creditor within days of each other affect the score or do they adjust for things like that?

    Sal at 8:32 am on August 3, 2015
  27. Enola Guerrero

    Hi Sal – Please check out our advice center for your credit concerns here: Also, you can read more about inquiries here:


    Enola Guerrero at 11:41 am on August 3, 2015
  28. Hello. I hope you can help me. I am diligently checking my score and credit history. I have had the same mortgage company for the last 11 years, never a missed or late payment. The mortgage company is reporting me as only having had been their client for a little over a year, as they refinanced my mortgage for a lower interest rate last summer. I called them today and they only have me down as having a mortgage with them since the refinance. What can I do? This brings my average credit age to shortly over a year, which is bringing my credit score down significantly, which is bringing my interest rates up on my credit cards, etc… I feel like I’m completely screwed. Is there anything I can do? Please help. Thank you in advance.

    Victoria Smith at 9:38 pm on September 24, 2015
  29. Enola Guerrero

    Hi Victoria – Since we are not the lender in question, we do not have additional insight to this matter. I suggest asking your credit concerns in our advice center here:


    Enola Guerrero at 12:33 pm on September 25, 2015
  30. If all old accts. are removed does that make the credit score go up?
    I have accts 7yrs. or older. Is it automatically done on all 3 reports

    Marilyn at 10:20 pm on November 23, 2015
  31. Enola Guerrero

    Hey Marilyn – Check out our advice center for any credit concerns you may have:

    Enola Guerrero at 5:25 pm on November 24, 2015

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