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payments come off? Will they stay on there until I close the account? The report doesn't say when the late payments were made. I don't really wanna close the account, for two reasons: 1) It's the first CC I ever received...had it for 10 years now...and I understand that's pretty important...older accounts have more value than new ones. And 2) My current ratio of balances to available credit is too high (the report told me so), and closing this account would eliminate about $1000 worth of available credit, making that ratio even worse. So is there any hope of making this account pristine again?

Just to clarify a bit more than the other responses: Closing the account has no effect on the late payment mark - only time (7 years) will "remove" that. If you don't know when the late payments were made, then contact Sears and they should be able to tell you. Do note tho, that if they are older, and you try to verify the date, they may no longer have that information. If they can't verify the dates (i.e. old information that they no longer deem important enough to maintain), then they have to remove the mark. I had it happen to me by accident (there was a late payment that I couldn't remember when it was - even tho I remember that I *did* make a late payment - the card holder couldn't verify the date, and because they didn't have a record of the late payment, they had to remove it...)

There doesn't seem to be any benefit at this time for you to close it...

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