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Keeping store cards at zero balance

Established Member

Keeping store cards at zero balance

I recently opened 4 store cards but do not intend on using them.  The main reason why I opened them was to decrease utilization.  What is most beneficial? Keeping the card at a zero balance or making small purchases and paying it off every month. Is there a difference in regard to the creditors reporting it to the bureaus?

Message 1 of 21
20 REPLIES
Regular Contributor

Re: Keeping store cards at zero balance


nbsiddiq wrote:

I recently opened 4 store cards but do not intend on using them.  The main reason why I opened them was to decrease utilization.  What is most beneficial? Keeping the card at a zero balance or making small purchases and paying it off every month. Is there a difference in regard to the creditors reporting it to the bureaus?


If these store cards are issued by Comenity or GE (which most are!), then your account will not report to the CBs if there is no statement that month, and no activity = no statement. Also, if they're GE cards, GE gives nice CLIs typically every 4 statements, so you'd be delaying CLI if you don't use it. 

EQ MyFICO: 719 - Discover It TU FICO: 749 - EX 728
Amex PRG: NPSL | Amex Blue Sky: 2k | Amex BCE: 10k | Amex TrueEarnings: 5k | Amex Delta Gold: 2k | Discover It: 4k | SFCU: 13k | Quicksilver: 4k | Venture: 10k | Freedom: 2k | CSP: 7.5k | Amazon Visa: 5k | Citi TYPremier: 6.3k | Best Buy: 4.5k | Macy's Amex: 6k | Nordstrom: 4k | Old Navy Visa: 4k | Target: $1.2k | Angel: 1k
Message 2 of 21
Moderator

Re: Keeping store cards at zero balance


k-s wrote:

nbsiddiq wrote:

I recently opened 4 store cards but do not intend on using them.  The main reason why I opened them was to decrease utilization.  What is most beneficial? Keeping the card at a zero balance or making small purchases and paying it off every month. Is there a difference in regard to the creditors reporting it to the bureaus?


If these store cards are issued by Comenity or GE (which most are!), then your account will not report to the CBs if there is no statement that month, and no activity = no statement. Also, if they're GE cards, GE gives nice CLIs typically every 4 statements, so you'd be delaying CLI if you don't use it. 


+1.  And, of course, lenders like their cards to have use, so they can earn money.

OP, what store cards do you have?



Start: 619 (TU08, 9/2013) | Current: 791 (TU08, 12/1/17)
Sam's Club MC $25000 | Marvel MC $25000 | Macy's AMEX $25000 | AMEX BCE $20400 | Discover IT $20000 | Macy's Store $20000 | Cap 1 QS WMC $17250 | BoA BBR #1 $17200 | JCP $15000 | Citi DC $12600 | Freedom VS $12000 | BofA BBR #2 $11800 | Disney VS $11500 | Care Credit MC $11200 | Cash+ VS $10500 | CashForward WMC $10000 | Barclay Rewards WMC $10000 | WCU Visa $10000 | Amazon Store $8000 | Blispay $7500 | Target MC $5000 | Sony Card $4250 | ~~Gardening Since 11/2/17
Message 3 of 21
Established Member

Re: Keeping store cards at zero balance

Express, Blair, KingSize, OneStopPlus, Buckle

Message 4 of 21
Moderator

Re: Keeping store cards at zero balance


nbsiddiq wrote:

Express, Blair, KingSize, OneStopPlus, Buckle


Those are all Comenity cards with fairly specific uses.   IIRC, they do eventually close TLs for inactivity but it takes them quite a while (over a year, possibly pushing into 2 years). 

I have a Gold Violin card (sister brand to Blair) that I opened late August.   I've managed to put a monthly charge on it, in the hopes that I might get a CLI with activity.  It's probably still new for CLIs, but we'll see how that works later on. 



Start: 619 (TU08, 9/2013) | Current: 791 (TU08, 12/1/17)
Sam's Club MC $25000 | Marvel MC $25000 | Macy's AMEX $25000 | AMEX BCE $20400 | Discover IT $20000 | Macy's Store $20000 | Cap 1 QS WMC $17250 | BoA BBR #1 $17200 | JCP $15000 | Citi DC $12600 | Freedom VS $12000 | BofA BBR #2 $11800 | Disney VS $11500 | Care Credit MC $11200 | Cash+ VS $10500 | CashForward WMC $10000 | Barclay Rewards WMC $10000 | WCU Visa $10000 | Amazon Store $8000 | Blispay $7500 | Target MC $5000 | Sony Card $4250 | ~~Gardening Since 11/2/17
Message 5 of 21
Established Member

Re: Keeping store cards at zero balance

Most of the cards have a $500 limit. I am thinking of spending $30-50 and then making $10 monthly payments each month. Is this a good strategy?

Message 6 of 21
Established Member

Re: Keeping store cards at zero balance

Sunrise,

 

Does your Violin report to all 3 agencies monthly?

Message 7 of 21
Regular Contributor

Re: Keeping store cards at zero balance

^^I would say that is no because then you would pay interest.

**10/31/13
EX-650
EQ-660
TU-660
GOAL: 750 ACROSS THE BOARD
Last App: 10/13
Gardening Until: 4/14 (At least)
Message 8 of 21
Community Leader
Super Contributor

Re: Keeping store cards at zero balance

I would pif and not leave balances. As long as there is activity within the month they should still generate a balance. You don't want to pay the high interest. So pay in full whatever you charge. As long as you have another card that reports less than 9% 

Message 9 of 21
Established Member

Re: Keeping store cards at zero balance

The reason I would want to pay off say $50 over a stretch of 4 months would be to have it reported. I want them to constantly report.  If I pay off the balance to zero and do not use the card for another 3 months they will not report.

Message 10 of 21