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Question! How Long Inactivity Of Credit Card Before....?

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Question! How Long Inactivity Of Credit Card Before....?

I've 6 Credit Card, 4 retail and 2 nonretail. I am wanting not to use them for awhile, kinda set of them and let them age some before I apply for other Credit Cards. My worry is however, that if I don't use any of my current Credit Cards for awhile that the issuers of those Credit Cards will close the accounts. So my questions is, how long of inactivty can I go on my current Credit Cards before the issuer closes any particular account? 

 

Ty

17 REPLIES 17
Community Leader
Senior Contributor

Re: Question! How Long Inactivity Of Credit Card Before....?

The general wisdom is that a store card should be used once a year. A major card (Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, Discover) should be used every four months or so.

Message 2 of 18
New Contributor

Re: Question! How Long Inactivity Of Credit Card Before....?

This is typically up to the lender, and I would call. Capital One is 36 months before they will close the account. That is 3 YEARS. And all you have to do to extend the life is just go buy a candy bar.

 

24 Months is typically the average but each card, and each bank is different.

Message 3 of 18
Community Leader
Senior Contributor

Re: Question! How Long Inactivity Of Credit Card Before....?

Wells Fargo has been known to close at six months, which is part of the reason why the recommendation for major cards is now four months rather than six. Yes, some issuers will put up with inactivity for a long time. Citi more or less implies that my LL Bean card might be good for two years, but I'm not going to chance it.

 

Major cards are awfully easy to use, so I say "better safe than sorry." I put a gas charge on my LL Bean card every month because it's so easy to do.

 

Store cards can be tougher to find a reason to use. You don't want to buy something you wouldn't have bought anyway.

Message 4 of 18
Mega Contributor

Re: Question! How Long Inactivity Of Credit Card Before....?


@HeavenOhio wrote:

 

Major cards are awfully easy to use, so I say "better safe than sorry." I put a gas charge on my LL Bean card every month because it's so easy to do.

 

 


RIght, but as your file thickens, it becomes much less necessary to artificially keep cards alive, if you don't find a use for it, let it go!

There is a (maybe small) cost involved in keep-alive, presumably LL Bean really isn't your best card for gas so you are giving up some rewards.

Message 5 of 18
Frequent Contributor

Re: Question! How Long Inactivity Of Credit Card Before....?

My wife just got a notice on her Sears Mastercard that if she doesn't use it by the end of March they will cut the CL from 14k to 2k. We paid it off about 1 1/2 years ago and haven't used it since. The takeaway is that you are not only in danger of closing accounts, but of CL reductions too.

Current Score: Mar 2019: EX FICO8 779, TU FICO8 800, EQ FICO 780, TU Vantage 773, EQ Vantage 786
AoOA: closed: 35 years, open: 24 years; AAoA: 11.8 years; Inquiries: 2019: 2, 2018: 3; No BK ever, 1 30 day late in 2013
Amex Gold, Amex Green, Amex Blue, Amex ED, Amex Delta Gold, Amex Hilton Surpass, BoA Platinum Plus, Chase Slate, Chase Amazon, Chase CSP, Sync Lowes, Sync JC Penney - total CL 129k
Loans: Prosper (20k/3yrs 7.14%), Lending Club (10k/3yrs 5.89%), Chase car loan (35k/6yrs 0.9%)
Message 6 of 18
Community Leader
Senior Contributor

Re: Question! How Long Inactivity Of Credit Card Before....?


@longtimelurker wrote:

@HeavenOhio wrote:

Major cards are awfully easy to use, so I say "better safe than sorry." I put a gas charge on my LL Bean card every month because it's so easy to do.


RIght, but as your file thickens, it becomes much less necessary to artificially keep cards alive, if you don't find a use for it, let it go!

There is a (maybe small) cost involved in keep-alive, presumably LL Bean really isn't your best card for gas so you are giving up some rewards.


2% is my best gas reward, and I have it on three cards. I didn't plan it that way. I got the cards for some other reason, and gas just came along for the ride.

 

When this card switched from Barclays to Citi and added the gas reward, I considered using it as my main gas card. But Citi offers no way to confirm that I got the expected rewards points from individual transactions. The best I can do is to look at their rewards summary at the end of the month. If I had a bunch of gas purchases and one of them earned only 1%, it'd be tough to isolate it.

 

The card is really nice for LL Bean purchases, but that's the only thing it does well. I can track those rewards via the end-of-the-month summary because LL Bean is the only merchant that earns 4%.

 

This card definitely hangs out near the chopping block, mainly because of Citi's 20th century technology. I tolerate it because of my relatively thin file (six cards from four banks) and the LL Bean perks. My other cards all get used every month, sometimes substantially, simply because of my normal spending habits.

Message 7 of 18
Senior Contributor

Re: Question! How Long Inactivity Of Credit Card Before....?


@FlaDude wrote:

My wife just got a notice on her Sears Mastercard that if she doesn't use it by the end of March they will cut the CL from 14k to 2k. We paid it off about 1 1/2 years ago and haven't used it since. The takeaway is that you are not only in danger of closing accounts, but of CL reductions too.


Yep, I learned that lesson with the Target Red (credit) Card. I rarely shop there but was in a store and they had a promotion (which I now forget what it was) to app & be approved for a card. I got the card with $1200 CL but promptly never used it and at 8 months they cut it to $200 CL. I never could get back up from $200 even after a few months of online purchases so I closed it.

 

The best way to avoid non usage adverse action is to have a small monthly bill charge to it. I've way outgrown my Merrick Bank Visa but with no fees & $3100 CL why close it? It's had no usage in years except my $10.80 monthly Neflix sub and that seems to keep them happy. I have a low APR but krappy rewards CC from a local credit union, so I give it a Tracfone $10 prepaid purchase every few months. Any small swipe keeps a card from going into non-use purgatory.

 

Store cards are harder to keep active. I only have two, Walmart & Lowes, both with $10k CLs I don't want to lose. I shop Walmart regularly but prefer to use a 2% rewards card so every month or two I use my Walmart card for a small purchase and then up to $100 cashback which has no fee or interest if PIF by due date. Lowes I stopped by last fall and bought a $8 house plant, almost time for spring flowers. I'll need new flooring at some point and plan to use Lowes deferred interest. My dear old blind & diabetic dog can't always hold it in during the night, so when she passes to doggy heaven it's time for new carpet . . .


Fico 08: 734/716/734 TU/EX/EQ
Message 8 of 18
Established Member

Re: Question! How Long Inactivity Of Credit Card Before....?

Every 6 months or so I grab all of my cards that are out of rotation and head to the gas station to buy gas 2 bucks at a time.. Never had a closure or CL reduction.. Knock on wood...
Message 9 of 18
Super Contributor

Re: Question! How Long Inactivity Of Credit Card Before....?

Below is an excerpt from a myFICO discussion thread on this very subject.  The advice is taken from post #2 in the thread.

 

Summary of current wisdom for avoiding CC closure due to inactivity:

*  Always activate a new card within ten days of receiving it.

*  Always use a new card for at least one purchase in the first 50 days.

*  Major cards (Visa, MC, Discover, Amex logo): using it once every 6 months should protect you 100% against early closure.  (But see below)

*  Store cards (no major logo): once every 12 months should be safe.

*  Unusually strict issuers:

           * Wells Fargo cards should be used once every four months to be 100% safe.

           * Although there are no data yet, some news stories suggest that

              Discover and Cap One might benefit from the four month approach.

Message 10 of 18
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