Posted byon January 27, 2009
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With credit card companies cracking down on unused accounts, it’s a good time to review our credit card accounts. We’ve gotten a few letters lately of closed accounts, from Chase and Citibank, for unused cards.
Usually, I’m pretty diligent about using each card once per year, but I guess I got a little lazy! Sometimes it’s hard when the card has a low limit, the 0% balance transfer offer is used, and there is no cash rewards program. Those cards just fall to the bottom of my priority list.
I’m pretty diligent about using our oldest cards (those 10-15 years old) to make sure those never get canceled.
The four that were canceled had relatively low credit limits as the result of reallocating credit limits, and were opened in the last 3-5 years; I don’t expect much of an impact on our credit score from the closures.
However, if the trend continues, a lot of closed accounts could impact our credit… I’ll be working hard in the next couple weeks to make charges on our inactive cards.
I pulled out my old spreadsheet to plan my attack. When I’m trying to make sure to use our cards once per year, here’s how I manage it:
Of course, it’s not really that scientific if you only have a few cards. But if you have a lot like I do, you want to be able to get through them quickly, without sacrificing much of your cash back opportunities. In addition, if it’s not realistic to get through them all, at least you are using the most important cards, those that affect your credit score the most, first.
What’s your strategy to remind yourself to use old credit cards once per year?