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How Often should i use my cards to Keep Active?

TyRacing
Frequent Contributor

How Often should i use my cards to Keep Active?

How often and how much to keep my cards active?

Every 3 months? .99 cents?

 

For the following banks and cards

  • Bofa cash rewards
  • Chase Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Amazon Prime Visa
  • Amex BCE
  • USB Cash +
  • Cap1 Savor1

and anyone know if In California do issuers notice us before closing cards?

 

Thank you for all the support team! Smiley Wink

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Message 1 of 18
17 REPLIES 17
AverageJoesCredit
Mega Contributor

Re: How Often should i use my cards to Keep Active?

In todays credit environment, a small charge every 3 months would be perfect but you might do it every 4-6 months. Some can go longer but shouldnt be too hard to make a small charge here snd there. I just pick a day every couple months and do some internet shopping lol, ir like recently, did all my do not close my card shopping on Amazon snd did each order with a different cardSmiley Happy
Message 2 of 18
Obscure-Expert
Valued Contributor

Re: How Often should i use my cards to Keep Active?

Every 3 months is fine.

 

I let most of mine go 12-18 months though and don't have issues with them. 

 

When you start hitting 2 years they start doing funny things like warning CLD's and closures.  Although, some cards can go 5+ years and still be fine.

 

Chase will eventually not renew the card if you go a couple of years w/o using it

BOa - not sure - tend to use it every other month 

Amex - not sure - use at least one of them monthly 

USB - I have 1 I haven't used in about 18 months now and it's still sitting there with the limit intact but, I do use the other one I have with them

Cap1 - not sure

500K+ TCL / 800+ FCOs
Message 3 of 18
FinStar
Moderator

Re: How Often should i use my cards to Keep Active?

Once per quarter or 1x every six months to keep them active seems to work for the ones you've listed. I would place more than than 99¢ OP since some lenders may w/o such small balances. Get a soda, snacks or something besides a lollipop 😄

There's no legal requirement for California residents with regard to closure notifications. Some lenders may provide preemptive notice, such as Capital One, for instance. But, it's exercised more of a courtesy than a requirement.
Message 4 of 18
MyFault
Valued Contributor

Re: How Often should i use my cards to Keep Active?

I typically try to use mine every 6 months to keep them open.
If you use Amazon frequently, a good idea is to simply reload your Amazon balance. Throw a few bucks on there that you would normally spend anyway, but I've heard you can reload as small as $0.50 to keep the account open.




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Message 5 of 18
pinkandgrey
Community Leader
Senior Contributor

Re: How Often should i use my cards to Keep Active?

Lenders can be unpredictable with this stuff, so I would say to put a charge on them AT LEAST every 2-3 months. Actually, I would say to close them all if you don’t use them lol. But if you don’t want to do that, every couple months would be good. 

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Message 6 of 18
MyFault
Valued Contributor

Re: How Often should i use my cards to Keep Active?

Why would you close a CC, unless it has negative expected value? Especially when a lot of people on here have CC's that aren't used daily but have benefits we use a few times per year or annually. Or are trying to build up their total available credit to keep util down..

I would just lock them, and you have nothing to worry about, if theft is a concern. Unlock and use them every 3-6 months, then relock.



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Message 7 of 18
kdm31091
Super Contributor

Re: How Often should i use my cards to Keep Active?


@MyFault wrote:
Why would you close a CC, unless it has negative expected value? Especially when a lot of people on here have CC's that aren't used daily but have benefits we use a few times per year or annually. Or are trying to build up their total available credit to keep util down..

I would just lock them, and you have nothing to worry about, if theft is a concern. Unlock and use them every 3-6 months, then relock.

I find it easier to close a card when I decide I"m no longer wanting to use it. Removes it from my mind, no longer have to worry about fraud on it or anything. There's nothing wrong with the argument about SDing the account instead, but I think people get overly worried about closing accounts. When you have 6 or 8 or 10 accounts, closing a couple that you barely use is unlikely to do much of anything to your score at all, unless your utilization skyrockets. Some people just feel better with getting them closed and out of the way. It's true keeping them open doesn't cost you anything if no AF (thus no negative value), but sometimes you just want it out of the way completely.

 

As far as activity I would say once every 3 months. 6 months is the longest I would push it. Many banks won't actually close your account until a longer period, but if you want to make sure it stays open I would put a charge on it at least in the 3-6 month range. Like the above poster though, if I find I'm forcing use on a card just to keep it open, I would just close it.

Message 8 of 18
CreditInspired
Super Contributor

Re: How Often should i use my cards to Keep Active?


@TyRacing wrote:

How often and how much to keep my cards active?

Every 3 months? .99 cents?

 

For the following banks and cards

  • Bofa cash rewards
  • Chase Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Amazon Prime Visa
  • Amex BCE
  • USB Cash +
  • Cap1 Savor1

and anyone know if In California do issuers notice us before closing cards?

 

Thank you for all the support team! Smiley Wink


All excellent advice provided OP. 

 

I’m kind of different though. I have a recurring something on all my cards except one and autopay setup on them. Hulu, NYT, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Comcast, utilities. For Macy’s I purchase something annually. This way, I don’t have to remember whether it’s time to charge something or not.

 

I think I read on here—can’t remember who said it—that they take all their cards out and make a purchase on their birthday. I kind of like this idea, especially if you’re SD many cards. 


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Message 9 of 18
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: How Often should i use my cards to Keep Active?

Use the card every 3 months is a sure bet. 6 months is good too.  Once you cross a year, things can start to happen with some issuers.

 

As for how, there are many ways.  You could rotate the cards, using one each month for a small charge or two, then paying it off.  You could put a recurring charge on it like Netflix or the gym, and set up autopay to PIF it.  You could put reminders in your phone's calendar to use a particular card for lunch or a soda. 

 

If you never use a card regularly... only putting the one small charge on it, maybe ask yourself why you still have that card.  Is it just to pad AAoA/utilization?  Maybe you could PC the card to something more useful.  I figure you have cards you use regularly due to rewards and SUBs.

 

As for me, I just closed a 14 year old card because it didn't have a rewards system I wanted, and opened a new card (CFU).  Maybe not the best idea for AAoA and scores, but it puts me in a better position for rewards, plus I gain a bonus and 0% for 15 months.  I'm not a card jockey, I'm good with having just 2-3 cards.  But I also have a 20 year old card and good scores.

 

Message 10 of 18
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