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Credit Card Closed Due to Inactivity

Written by Nickel - 17 Comments

We recently received a letter from Citi about our ThankYou Rewards card. As it turns out, they were writing to let us know that they had closed our account due to an extended period of inactivity:

We have closed your Citi ThankYou account due to the length of time that has passed since it was last used. Please destroy all cards and convenience checks in your possession.

We understand that circumstances chance and this account may not have been meeting your needs. We offer an array of products which may interest you. If you would like to learn more about the products we offer, please call us at 1-800-552-4636.

We hope to have the opportunity to serve you in the future.

This is an old account that we’ve had kicking around for the better part of the last decade. It started out as a Citi Driver’s Edge card that they later converted to a ThankYou card when they re-worked their offerings.

This is a card that I got years ago when they were offering a juicy “5% cash back on all purchases” promo, but I’d long since stopped using it. The account was still open, in part because I’m lazy and in part because it was helping our credit score.

Interestingly, we had just received new cards this past December, and they didn’t expire until 2014 (or 2015?). Honestly, I can’t remember the last time we used this account, but it’s been years.

In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a huge deal. Our credit score may take a minuscule hit, but we’ll survive. ;-)

Regardless, I found it interesting that they’d proactively close our account, and thought it was worth sharing. If you have any inactive cards that you’d like to keep, you may want to use them every once in awhile.

Published on May 25th, 2012 - 17 Comments
Filed under: Credit Cards

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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17 Responses to “Credit Card Closed Due to Inactivity”

  1. 1
    Eric Says:

    Ha! I have an old Citi card that recently changed to the Thank You card too. Haven’t used in who knows how long…not even sure I want to keep it except for the history.

  2. 2
    Vic Says:

    This is a strong reason why a credit card is not an appropriate emergency fund.

    I had a card that hadn’t been used in a year or so, and I was surprised when it was denied for an emergency purchase. Turns out trying to use the account that had been stagnant triggered some automatic review process that closed the account.

  3. 3
    Rzrshrp Says:

    It kind of sucks that we can’t just keep a card on reserve but I can understand why credit card companies don’t like reserve accounts. They take up data and they’re additional accounts susceptible to fraud.

  4. 4
    photomiser Says:

    I’ve had this happen recently as well. Cards that I want to keep, but don’t want to use all the time, I do occasionally exercise. One way I do so is to put a recurring charge on it, like a utility bill. Something small and consistent. With the card itself on autopay, I don’t risk forgetting to pay.

  5. 5
    BG Says:

    I have received 20-30 of these notices. I have signed my wife and I up for ~150 credit cards over the last 5 years or so in an attempt to prove that Citibank, etc. is poorly managed (I have ~30 Citi Premier Pass cards). Would be happy to provide a picture of the cards laying on the floor in an array…it’s pretty comical. :) And, no, none of this has adversely impacted our credit to a noticeable extent….I am closing on a refi next week with a 765 credit score.

  6. 6
    Nick Says:

    @BG

    Wow! ~150 cards?! That’s amazing. All while maintaining a 765 credit score? I’m completely intrigued by stories like yours.

    Was your intent exclusively to prove mismanagement or did you do it for the signup bonuses?

    I’d love to know more.

  7. 7
    Eric Says:

    When I worked in a bank we did this from time to time. I make a point to use each old card once every six months to build up my average age of credit. I am a young guy, so having older accounts would help my score.

  8. 8
    BG Says:

    It began as an attempt to snag some sign-up bonus offers, and quickly turned into a “how crazy can these guys be” experiment when Citi card and Chase continued to send me pre-approvals for cards that I had just received. Credit score is helped by the fact that all of these accounts show months and months of “paid on time” — even though no payment is ever made. :) …plus, I’m only using 1-2% of my available credit – another factor that improves my score. Maybe I can get a pic posted on the site. Like I said, it’s pretty entertaining at this point.

  9. 9
    Carl Lassegue Says:

    I’ve always wondered why your credit score takes a hit when a credit card gets canceled. Do you guys have any idea?

  10. 10
    Luis Says:

    Credit takes a hit because your available credit goes down. I think there should be a law that gives the consumer a last chance notice letter to use it or lose it. It is very offing to get a letter that tells you in words of past tense something has already happened. You should at least get respect to know ahead of time that your card will be useless after such and such a date.

  11. 11
    Tamara Says:

    I’m not surprised. Bank of America closed my credit card for inactivity without even telling me. I just logged into online banking one day and it was no longer listed. It was a lousy card, and I had much better by then, but I was annoyed they didn’t even notify me.

  12. 12
    Daisy Says:

    I think it’s great that they’d just go ahead and close it down – they’re probably protecting themselves from fraudulent charges and theft and all of that good stuff.

  13. 13
    Tahoe Joe Says:

    At least they notified you. I had a Harrahs Total Reward Visa issued by BofA that they closed without even bothering to tell me. Discovered that it was closed when I was doing my credit report review.

  14. 14
    ChipsMoneyTips Says:

    Every January, I take my fistful of cards to the gas station and put $2 on each one as I fill up my tank. Two days later, I jump online and pay them all off.

    I have a reminder that pops up every January 1st that tells me to do this. I also use Quicken, which goes out to all my accounts and “scrapes” all my card transactions into my software. Pretty handy way to keep track of all that stuff.

  15. 15
    Lance@MoneyLife&More Says:

    Thanks for the reminder to use my old cards. I like to keep them active for the credit limits and history because they keep my score higher :)

  16. 16
    Funny about Money Says:

    I figure if you’re not using a card, it might as well go away. Whether the bank closes the account for non-use or you proactively ask them to close it, what’s the difference?

    I use two cards: an AMEX with a cash kickback and a MasterCard with a cash kickback (don’t travel much and so feel no need for miles or other blandishments). It’s hard to imagine why you’d need any more than that, and, with the growing problem of identity theft, why you’d want any more than that.

  17. 17
    Melissa@LittleHouseInTheValley Says:

    I guess I can understand why they would do this if it has been years since you used it, but I am still surprised. I would only worry about the hit to your credit score, but it sounds like that is not going to be a problem.

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