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Credit cards going inactive?

Contributor

Credit cards going inactive?

I've read enough around here to know that if I pay off my balance for a credit card, I shouldn't close it. This should help my utilization or something like that.
 
But I still have a few questions:
 
- How long does it take for cards to go inactive from disuse? Once this happens, can I expect a drop in score as if I had closed them now?
 
- Assuming I could keep all of my paid off cards active by using them once a year or something, how many cards is too much? If I've already been docked the points in the past for inquiries, is there any further penalty to having too many open cards?
FICO (06/17/08): TU 691 - EQ 642 - EX 638 - Util 64%
FICO (07/23/08): TU 698 - EQ 653 - EX 644 - Util 50%
FICO (02/04/09): TU 694 - EQ 668 - EX 654 - Util 43%
FICO (05/18/09): TU 687 - EQ 675 - EX n/a - Util 39%
FICO (03/09/10): TU 666 - EQ: 691 - EX 644 - Util 54%
IDGuard (2/8/12): TU 690 - EQ: 710 - EX 710 - Util 72%
FICO (03/13/12): EQ: 696 (87% revolving to limits)
Message 1 of 8
7 REPLIES
Valued Contributor

Re: Credit cards going inactive?

Cards go inactive at different times, in accordance with the policies set by the issuers. Closing cards doesn't help your score. See the Closing Cards 101 sticky.
Message 2 of 8
Contributor

Re: Credit cards going inactive?

So basically, closing the cards is pretty much never good for your score. Keeping them open is good, as it helps the utilization %, but eventually, the unused cards get closed anyway from inactivity which results in a lower score again.
 
The only solution for this is to keep all of my open credit card accounts alive and kicking by using them once in a while, correct?
FICO (06/17/08): TU 691 - EQ 642 - EX 638 - Util 64%
FICO (07/23/08): TU 698 - EQ 653 - EX 644 - Util 50%
FICO (02/04/09): TU 694 - EQ 668 - EX 654 - Util 43%
FICO (05/18/09): TU 687 - EQ 675 - EX n/a - Util 39%
FICO (03/09/10): TU 666 - EQ: 691 - EX 644 - Util 54%
IDGuard (2/8/12): TU 690 - EQ: 710 - EX 710 - Util 72%
FICO (03/13/12): EQ: 696 (87% revolving to limits)
Message 3 of 8
Contributor

Re: Credit cards going inactive?

Another possible solution:
 
Keep my utilization so low (under 10%) with my active cards so that even if my inactive cards are closed, my score can't be affected much?
FICO (06/17/08): TU 691 - EQ 642 - EX 638 - Util 64%
FICO (07/23/08): TU 698 - EQ 653 - EX 644 - Util 50%
FICO (02/04/09): TU 694 - EQ 668 - EX 654 - Util 43%
FICO (05/18/09): TU 687 - EQ 675 - EX n/a - Util 39%
FICO (03/09/10): TU 666 - EQ: 691 - EX 644 - Util 54%
IDGuard (2/8/12): TU 690 - EQ: 710 - EX 710 - Util 72%
FICO (03/13/12): EQ: 696 (87% revolving to limits)
Message 4 of 8
Valued Contributor

Re: Credit cards going inactive?

As a rule of thumb, you want a balance (preferably a small one) to report at least once every other month to keep the card from going inactive, and to ensure it's doing the most to help your FICO score.
- - - -
in a credit-scoring postnuclear Stone Age...
Message 5 of 8
Valued Contributor

Re: Credit cards going inactive?

On my Discover card, for instance, I charge 100 dollars worth of gas at the beginning after the statement cuts, and pay it off before the next statement cuts. That keeps it active, but it never shows a balance on my CR. As long as you use a card enough for statements to cut, it won't go inactive.
Message 6 of 8
Valued Contributor

Re: Credit cards going inactive?

That's right, activity is reported separately from the actual balance so you could have a card that has never showed a balance that is reported active as long as you use it. Generally store cards have longer periods of time before they are considered inactive, whereas Visa, MC, etc have to be used every few months to keep them in the database as active.
Message 7 of 8
Regular Contributor

Re: Credit cards going inactive?

One of the main reasons to keep your cards open is if one of your cards that you don't use often is your oldest credit card.

In my case, my CapitalOne has like a 18% APR or something and only $500 credit limit after having had it for almost 4-5 years.

My BofA that I've had for maybe half that is at $5000 limit and 12% APR.

I barely ever use my CapitalOne but charge gas to it now and then to keep it alive.
Walmart Discover TU08 FICO 12/07/15: 767 PSECU EX V2 FICO 12/05/15: 735
AMEX EX08 FICO 12/19/15: 778 PenFed EQ NG2 FICO 12/01/15: 717
Message 8 of 8