Quick Way To Keep Unused Credit Card Active – Raise Your Credit Score

Unused Credit Card Problem

Having an old credit card account closed for lack of use is a huge mistake. Closed credit cards will negatively impact your average age of accounts score and your utilization perspective.

Credit card issuers don’t want to keep a cardholder around who doesn’t spend money on their card. The card issuer continues to encounter fees even if you’re not using the card’s benefits. When you are costing them money instead of earning them money, they become unhappy. The credit card companies will eventually shut down your inactive accounts.

The obvious and most straightforward way of preventing this is to use the credit card. If you have cards that you have put away, cycling through all of them, just for the sake of keeping them active can be a hassle.

My Solution

Amazon’s Reload Your Balance option — You can reload any amount above $0.50, and Amazon doesn’t care how many cards you use. I have 22 cards on my Amazon profile.

About every three months, I go through the credit cards that I haven’t used recently and load $5 – $10 from each one onto my Amazon Gift Card balance!

You could do less than $5, but some card issuers won’t even bother to send you a bill for smaller purchases. For instance, I’ve had a $0.79 Amazon reload waived by Wells Fargo. I generally use $5 just to play it safe. I’m afraid anything less and my card will still be considered inactive and they could cancel it!

 

 

queenofsavings

Hi! I'm Tammy. I love couponing, saving money and helping others. I have been couponing off and on for over 30 years. I am a mother, wife and animal advocate! I'm excited to help others learn how to save a boatload of money and time!

19 Comments
  1. Thank you for the the tip! I rarely use my credit card because I prefer to pay in cash and keep track of my accounts. The Amazon reload idea is great for us Prime members. =)

  2. Thanks for the tip on Amazon Reload. Great idea! Any ideas for department/hardware store cards? I’ve got a couple I need to go make a purchase on. 🙂

    • Go Seasonal. If you really don’t use them that often and are just looking to keep them active, purchase things on sale that are seasonal, that you’re going to purchase anyway. For example, right now is when bathing suits are being brought out in clothing stores, and spring cleaning items like mops, buckets, etc at stores like Ace Hardware.

  3. I honestly would have never knew about this. I need to build my credit but do not want the cards out there. I like this idea with the minimal balance.

  4. I didn’t know keeping closed credit card accounts would negatively impact your credit score. I like Amazon’s Reload your Balance optiob.

  5. I would have used these tips back when I needed help building my credit. I will pass these tips along to friends and family in that predicament.

  6. Great tips to try to build your credit! There are some that just cant afford this option, though.

  7. I am so glad you put this out for people. As a real estate agent, we, as well as the mortgage people tell people all the time to leave these alone and not shut them down as they will lower their score and can hurt them in the buying process.

  8. Thank you for sharing this informative article. I am trying to become debt free and was wanting to know how long I can wait before I do close an account without damage to my credit report.

    • Great question Abigail! Well, first of all, if the card in question has no annual fee, it’s probably to your advantage to keep it in your arsenal of credit cards. Doing so helps raise your credit score if you’re adding five or ten dollars to it, every so often, as explained above. One of the biggest factors in your credit score is your credit card utilization rate and the average age of your accounts. Your overall score could take a major hit if you go through with closing that old card. However, closing an old or unused account could save you money if your card has an extraordinarily high-interest rate or miscellaneous fees.

      I can’t give you a “magic” number of days, other than to say I personally would keep my oldest cards (unless they are costing you money) because the AGE of the account matters I think where you’d really take a hard hit in your score is the overall utilization. Canceling a card takes away from your overall credit and will, therefore, raise your utilization among the other cards (in total). Here is an article you can read that explains it a lot better than I can from Credit Karma

  9. Hello, I check your new stuff regularly. Your story-telling style is awesome,
    keep it up!

  10. Very interesting; first time I have heard this about keeping an unused credit card active. I like that you only have to reload $5 (to play it safe). Thanks for the tips!

  11. Interesting read! I never have considered this option in terms of credit cards! We have a few with no balance that I was not sure what to do with them.

    • Thanks, Kayleigh! I am on a strict budget and this option works for me. Least Amount going out while maintaining my low credit card utilization rate and still keeping the cards active. I’m sure there are other methods. I’m frugal and this keeps me within my budget.

  12. Hello, always i used to check webpage posts here
    in the early hours in the break of day, as i love to
    learn more and more.

  13. This is great information regarding credit cards! I’m checking into doing this on my Amazon account as well! Thanks for the information!

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