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Inactive account becomes active

Community Leader
Valued Contributor

Inactive account becomes active

I've heard about this alert, but I've never seen it myself.

 

I got the alert today from Equifax, pertaining to my AMEX card: "An account that has been inactive for more than 3 months has become recently active… Date of last activity: 12/01/2017 --> 03/01/2018."

 

It was accompanied by a four-point score drop. But we know about alerts; I'm 99% certain that the alert wasn't tied to the score change. Rather, I'd pin it to a second card reporting a positive balance. My Equifax score always shifts predictably whenever I go from one to two cards or vice versa.

 

I'd call "more than three months" to be a stretch as I only had two statements that didn't report positive balances. The last positive balance on this card was in December. But arguing the system isn't the point. The card gets used every month, though, generally pretty heavily.

 

I've let my Barclays card go for up to about six months without reporting a positive balance, and I've never seen the alert. Like the AMEX card, it gets used each month. The difference I see is that Barclays reports my "Date of Last Payment." Actually, all my cards except AMEX do that.

 

If things go as planned, I'm going to let my next card to report cut a zero balance. At the end of the month, I'll let a card report a positive balance that hasn't done so in over a year. Like the Barclays card, it's been used every month and has a current "Date of Last Payment." I'll bet that I don't see the alert.

Message 1 of 35
34 REPLIES
Valued Contributor

Re: Inactive account becomes active

More than a few posters have made mention of losing points when an inactive account 1st reports activity.

 

I believe various credit card issuers report accounts differently. On my CRA report summaries some of my accounts report a zero balance each month when not used but others show a blank. This may be why accounts get classified as inactive differently by various monitoring services. The below is from my Experian credit report. My TransUnion report shows the same except an "X" is used instead of "ND". Card activity is based on data as reported by the creditors.

 

Fidelity Visa Account - Most non use months are blank (no data) which represents inactivity but some show $0.

card reporting data TU.jpg

 

card use reporting EXP.jpg

 

 

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 2 of 35
Super Contributor

Re: Inactive account becomes active

Interesting information here. I've never noticed that difference regarding Amex.
Message 3 of 35
Community Leader
Valued Contributor

Re: Inactive account becomes active

I'm back to one card with a positive balance, and my four points came back. As I mentioned, I don't think the point drop was tied to the so-called inactive card because it's the shift that always occurs.

 

In a a few days, the card that hasn't cut a positive balance in over a year will report one. I expect the typical four-point drop due to the second card reporting. But as I mentioned, because this card reports a "date of last payment," I'd be surprised to see the alert.

Message 4 of 35
Regular Contributor

Re: Inactive account becomes active

Yep, this happens with my AMEX cards too. I use this them a lot every month but most months pay them to zero before they report. A few weeks ago I got an alert for one AMEX card becoming active after 6 months and the other after 8 months of inactivity accompanied with a 3 point FICO 8 drop most likely due to two more cards recording a balance. A year ago this alert was accompanied by a 22 point drop which I got back the following month after dropping my util.

I think this alert is intended to let you know that a sock drawered card is being used but it doesn’t work well with how AMEX reports balances.
Fico 8 Scores
10/2017: EQ - 823; TU - 835; EX - 824; Seven CCs ($125,500 CL, 0%-1% UTIL); AoOA = 15.5 years; AAoA = 60 mos.; AoYA = 18 mos.; one mortgage; one car loan; derogs from 2009 and 2010 now gone after 7 years. It's taken a few years but credit scores are now good after starting in the high 500s back in 2011
05/2016: EQ - 712; TU - 706; EX - 710
11/2015: EQ - 694; TU - 651; EX - 653
5/2015: EQ - 640; 11/2014: EQ - 653; 05/2014 EQ - 653; 11/2013: EQ - 645; 05/2013: EQ - 656;11/2012: EQ - 646;
Message 5 of 35
Community Leader
Valued Contributor

Re: Inactive account becomes active

Catching up here. Smiley Happy

 

I let my card report a positive balance for the first time in 15 months. I got the four point ding that I expected, but as I said, I'm sure it's due to having a second card reporting a positive balance. There was no Equifax alert for an inactive card becoming active. My guess is that it's because this card reports the "Date of Last Payment."

Message 6 of 35
Valued Contributor

Re: Inactive account becomes active

I got this message once for my Citi Costco Card on CreditKarma, I have since had cards not reporting a balance for more than 3 months and never got the message again.
Message 7 of 35
Established Contributor

Re: Inactive account becomes active

Weird, I haven't used my Ashley Furniture card for almost 18 months and it's always reported as 'OK.' I actually called to cancel because I hadn't used it and it was stuck at $2k, CSR said that they will auto-cancel after 18 months no activity usually. I CLI'd just for the heck of it and got an additional $5.5k so I made a small purchase on it and will let it report and keep it around for another year and then get rid of it. 


Message 8 of 35
Regular Contributor

Re: Inactive account becomes active

Same thing happened on EQ for me a couple weeks ago after I used my buckle store card and paid the balance before the statement cut. It had probably been about 2-3 months since I’d last used it so I found it a little odd. Didn’t lose any points but this is an interesting read. 


Current Scores 4/18: EQ8 645/EQ9 686/TU 664/EX 682
Starting Scores 10/17: EQ 590 /TU 592/EX 560
AAoA: 3y6mo
Message 9 of 35
Regular Contributor

Re: Inactive account becomes active


@jlitnns wrote:

Weird, I haven't used my Ashley Furniture card for almost 18 months and it's always reported as 'OK.' I actually called to cancel because I hadn't used it and it was stuck at $2k, CSR said that they will auto-cancel after 18 months no activity usually. I CLI'd just for the heck of it and got an additional $5.5k so I made a small purchase on it and will let it report and keep it around for another year and then get rid of it. 


Funny that they say that- I had a Nautilus (home gym junk) card I got when I was 18 because because I thought I wanted one. I was told a similar thing and I just assumed it was closed out. Low and behold when I pulled my reports in September to prepare myself to deal with my mess of my credit...that account was now “Capital One- Nautilus” was still reporting to TU as “ok” every month 12 years later Smiley LOL never used the card even once. But hey, thanks for 12 years of solid reporting! 


Current Scores 4/18: EQ8 645/EQ9 686/TU 664/EX 682
Starting Scores 10/17: EQ 590 /TU 592/EX 560
AAoA: 3y6mo
Message 10 of 35