In today’s economy, credit card companies are changing interest rates at whim (at least until the new credit card laws go into effect…in July 2010. Way to go Federal Reserve, nothing but speed for you guys!), changing their terms and conditions, and canceling or closing accounts, all in an effort to control their debt load. Too bad they didn’t think this stuff through when things were going fine, heh? Anyway, because of these moves by them, you might soon find an inactive credit card account of yours closed – through no fault of your own. And this could ding your credit score a little bit, which is not something you really want to happen right now in case you needed credit anytime soon. So how can you stop your card accounts from being closed?
Simple – use them once in a while to buy something small.
Buy something like a pack of gum or a tank of gas, and then pay it off through online banking when you get home. That’s how I do it! I have, if memory serves me, 7 open credit card accounts right now. Most of these I have had for years and years (the oldest is from 1993), and all but one of them has a $0 balance on them at all times. The one that doesn’t is the one I pay all my bills with every month, which is a rewards credit card so I can at least get something back. But my unused cards are all bundled together with a rubber-band and kept in the small fireproof safe in our house, with all our other important stuff. Every few months, I pull all those cards out and go on a spending spree for a few days – a pack of gum here, a cup of coffee there – and then they get tucked back into the safe. I then log on to my online banking account and pay the balances on the cards I used to get them back to $0. This way, my account stays active, current, and retains its $0 balance while staying away from the dreaded “inactive card” department at the credit card company. So do yourself a favor and keep your accounts active by following this simple tip – it helps your credit score and it lets you keep all your available credit – which you might need if things continue the way they have been going lately!