Credit Union Closed My Oldest Credit Card Due to Inactivity!
When it comes to your credit score, several factors affect it to some degree. For example, the number of inquiries and the total number of accounts have a low impact on your score, but utilization and payment history have a high impact. Although not a deal breaker, your overall credit age is also important, so imagine my surprise when I noticed that a credit card I’ve had for more than 13 years has been closed without my knowledge.
How I Found Out That My Oldest Credit Card Was Closed
I’ve been a member of my credit union and a credit card holder since high school. In fact, it’s been so long since I opened my first account, the financial institution has changed names three times. Although that card has the lowest limit of all my credit cards, it charges no annual fees, and I’ve kept it open to preserve the positive payment history.
I have just a couple of credit cards that have been opened for a long time, and I’m aware that an average age of accounts can impact your credit. To keep your credit history strong, it’s best not to close the oldest cards, especially if they charge no annual fees to keep them.
I recently dropped under 5/24, so I was browsing my Credit Karma account to check the exact dates of when I can apply for new Chase credit cards. The personal finance website makes it easy to look at your accounts as well as their opening and closing dates.
While looking at my open cards on Credit Karma, the remarks said that the card issued by my credit union was closed by consumer. But I didn’t do it! I contacted the card issuer and after some back and forth on the phone I learned that the card was closed due to inactivity. Of course, I had focused all my spending on my rewards-earning cards, I completely neglected my oldest card and put no purchases on it in quite some time.
Why I Reinstated My Account
I went into a branch and said that I’d like to reopen the credit card to keep the account history. The banker said she would call the credit card department to reinstate the account. By the end of the day, I received a phone call letting me know that my account had been reinstated and I would receive a new card within 10 business days.
To avoid this situation in the future, the banker recommended I make a purchase on the card at least once every six months to keep it active. A few dollars here and there won’t earn me that many points, but charging small amounts to my oldest credit card will prevent it from being closed due to inactivity again. After all, the long age of accounts makes my credit file thicker, which helps me get approved for new rewards cards.
If anything, I’ve learned two lessons from my mistake.
- Check your credit report somewhat regularly. Not only do you want to know your scores before applying for additional credit, but you also want to be on top of your financial situation in general. Say, a derogatory remark appears on your credit report or, god forbid, you become a victim of identity fraud. You can detect certain mistakes by reviewing your credit report from time to time.
- Do not neglect your oldest cards with positive account history. You might not be earning miles or cash rewards with those cards, but keeping your longest-running account’s history helps your score and your overall credit health. Use it every once in a while and pay it off to keep the positive history rolling.
Have you ever forgotten about an old credit card?
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June 13, 2018 at 07:09PM