cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

how long before a card is cancelled for inactivity?

Auto Loans for ANY Credit Situation. Immediate Response.
Advertiser disclosure
Super Contributor

how long before a card is cancelled for inactivity?

Hello all.  Reactivating this thread!  (Jan 28, 2016)  Always curious to hear whether any new readers of the thread can give us any case studies of a card that was cancelled.

 

Summary thus far:

     *  All reports of a card being cancelled involved the card being unused for at least 11 months.  (Exception: if the card was never used even once, then we had one case study of it being cancelled at 8 months and another at 12 months.)

     *  Store cards appear to be able to go for far longer without being cancelled.  The earliest cases of store cards being cancelled (if they were used at least once) is 4 years.  Several cases of store cards being open (and are still open) for very long periods of nonuse -- many many years.

     *  Several people having major cards still open (and no closure in sight) at 15+ months and a few cases of 4+ years.

     *  Credit Line Decrease: one person (our very own Thom Thumb) reports a major CC experiencing a CLD at 11 months of non-use.

 

VERY interested in hearing cases that involve any credit card being closed or experiencing a CLD at 13 months of inactivity or less!

 

The purpose of this thread is to collect some hard (if anecdotal) evidence about how long a credit card can be unused before if is cancelled by the issuer for inactivity.  What I am looking for is therefore two things:

 

(1)  People who have had a card cancelled for inactivity (but otherwise in good standing) and they can tell us some information about it.  Info I am looking for:

     * Was it a store card (Chevron, Macy's, etc.) or a major credit card (Chase Visa, Citi Mastercard, Amex, etc.)?

     * What year was it cancelled?  (Many cards were cancelled in 2008-2010, after the economic meltdown, and thus that may be less significant than a card cancelled before or after that.)

     * How many months of inactivity had gone by before it was cancelled?  (Best guess.  This is the most important question.)

     * When it was cancelled, had it ever been used?  (For example, it was opened, activated, used for a few months and then cancelled for inactivity after ____ months of nonuse.)  Or was it NEVER used?

 

If you are not the person who owned the card, but you know of such a person (and can answer most of the above questions) that is also fine.

 

(2)  People who have had cards that they know are still open (verified on the credit report) but they also know have been unused for a long time (15 months or more).  Be sure to indicate whether it is a store card or a major credit card, since unused store cards may be able to stay open for far longer).  As above, an approximate number of months that the card has been unused is essential -- it can be a best guess.)

 

What I am not looking for on this thread is general advice on how to prevent cards from being closed: e.g. "charge something small on it every 2 months."  Yup, that would work, but I am looking more for concrete evidence about how long a protracted period could go on. rather than general CYA advice.  Hopefully if we could assemble some definite data we can use that to tweak the general advice, but one needs the data first.

 

Thanks in advance...!

 

Message 1 of 37
36 REPLIES 36
Regular Contributor

Re: how long before a card is cancelled for inactivity?

Old Navy - This card was used once on date opened. PIF ASAP and never used again. 

Account Type: Credit Card
Terms: Revolving
Date Opened: 04/01/2002
Account Status: Closed due to inactivity
Payment Status: Paid
Payment Status Details: Paid satisfactorily
Status Updated: 08/01/2012
 
Target - I never once used this card. 
Account Type: Credit Card
Terms: Revolving
Date Opened: 07/01/2004
Account Status: Closed due to inactivity
Payment Status: Paid
Payment Status Details: Paid satisfactorily
Status Updated: 07/01/2009
 
Capital One - Has not been used in probably 5-8 years years. 
Account Type: Credit Card
Terms: Revolving
Date Opened: 03/01/1995
Account Status: Open
Payment Status: Paid
Payment Status Details: Current
Status Updated: 10/01/2015
 
Hope this helps. 
Message 2 of 37
Frequent Contributor

Re: how long before a card is cancelled for inactivity?

Good idea for a topic! So let me help start it off, my experience would fall under (2) I guess.

 

Card: Synchrony/Amazon Store Card

Opened: 02/2012

Time unused: approximately 15 months

Result: credit line reduced by about half (in 08/2015), but not closed

Message 3 of 37
Super Contributor

Re: how long before a card is cancelled for inactivity?

Thanks, AKO17!  Very helpful.  For the two closed accounts, may we confidently infer that the date closed was roughly the same as the "Status Updated"?   (That month or possibly the month before?)

 

I have heard of inactive store cards that stay open for year and years, but it is interesting that you have a major credit card (Cap One) that has remained open for at least 5 years possibly as many as 8.

Message 4 of 37
Senior Contributor

Re: how long before a card is cancelled for inactivity?


@CreditGuyInDixie wrote:

Thanks, AKO17!  Very helpful.  For the two closed accounts, may we confidently infer that the date closed was roughly the same as the "Status Updated"?   (That month or possibly the month before?)

 

I have heard of inactive store cards that stay open for year and years, but it is interesting that you have a major credit card (Cap One) that has remained open for at least 5 years possibly as many as 8.


I opened a Kohls card years ago to get some hefty discounts. Here are the details from an old TU credit report:

 

Account opened: 11/2008

Last payment: 12/2008

Closed: 3/2013 (due to inactivity) - 52 months between last use and closure due to inactivity

Credit limit: $1500

High credit: $266

 

The same report shows the following for my FIA Signature Visa card:

1) Balance reported on 2/2010

2) Next balance reported on 1/2011

3) Next balance reported on 7/2011

 

I was in error earlier (faulty memory). During the 1.5 year time span I actually did use the card once. Longest time frame I can confirm for non use on a major credit card is 11 months based on the TU report. Note: CL on card reduced by $7k following this span of limited use which prompted me to use all open CCs more often.

 

Now I use all my remaining 6 cards on a regular basis.

 

Note: As general practice I advice using cards at a minimum frequency of once per 12 months to avoid risk of closure [perhaps once every 6 months to minimize risk of a reduced credit limit] on major CCs.

 

 

Fico 8: .......EQ 850 TU 850 EX 850
Fico 9: .......EQ 850 TU 850 EX 850
Fico 4 .....:. EQ 809 TU 823 EX 830 EX Fico 98: 842
VS 3.0:...... EQ 835 TU 835 EX 835
Fico 8 BC:. EQ 892 TU 900 EX 900
CBIS: ........EQ LN Auto 940 EQ LN Home 870 TU Auto 902 TU Home 950
Message 5 of 37
Super Contributor

Re: how long before a card is cancelled for inactivity?

I will contribute one case-study on behalf of a fellow who posted about this 3-4 months ago.  He mentioned that he did have a major credit card closed after eight months of non-use.  But I asked him if he had had ever used it, and the answer was no: he opened it and shoeboxed it and then got a message eight months later saying it had been cancelled.  So it may be that the risk of closure is very low for any major card used at least once if the period of non-use is 13 months or less.

 

I hope we get a lot more examples volunteered by others, however.

Message 6 of 37
Established Contributor

Re: how long before a card is cancelled for inactivity?

According to my credit reports, I haven't used one of my accounts since March 2010 (67 months of inactivity) and it is still being reported as Open.  Pretty crazy!

Message 7 of 37
Super Contributor

Re: how long before a card is cancelled for inactivity?

Thanks JB!  Is this a store card or a major credit card?

Message 8 of 37
Established Contributor

Re: how long before a card is cancelled for inactivity?

Raymour & Flanigan furniture store card (backed by Wells Fargo, might have been a Visa, don't remember) - opened for 20% discount on large purchase, paid off after first statement, and then left untouched:

 

Opened: Dec 6 2009

Last (only) payment: Feb 16 2010

Closed for inactivity: Sep 13 2011

 

So, 19 months from last activity.

 

EQ8:850 TU8:850 EX8:850
EQ9:850 TU9:850 EX9:850
EQ5:809 TU4:789 EX2:819 - 2019-09-06
Message 9 of 37
Highlighted
Established Contributor

Re: how long before a card is cancelled for inactivity?

 

I don't know if a Canadian data point is relevent, but I have a major bank Visa card I haven't used in probably 15 years, and it's still active. I recently got a replacement card in the mail, as the old one expired. I don't think I even activated the one that had expired. 

 

I have another card which eventually was suspended, and they mailed me a letter telling me so, after around 10 years of inactivity. I called and the bank reactivated it for me, asking if I would use it. I said yes, but I haven't used it, and it's been two years since and it's still active. 

 

Really I have no idea if this translates to the US market, but my suspicion is that they will basically NEVER deactivate a card unless there's something dodgy on your credit record and they're looking for an excuse to close it. But if you have solid credit with no problems my guess is that they can remain open forever.

 

However, that is based on my Canadian experience. I've only been in the US a year, and have used all my cards at least once in that time Smiley Happy


Amex BCE $40k || BoA Travel $5k || FirstTech MC $5k || BECU PLoC $10k || Discover Miles $27.7k || CITI DC $27.5k || CHASE Amazon $12.5k || BoA Premium Rewards $31k || BoA Cash Rewards 26k // AU on DW's Costco Visa $12k FICO8 774
Last Inq 04/2018
Message 10 of 37
Advertiser Disclosure: The offers that appear on this site are from third party advertisers from whom FICO receives compensation.