You do not get charged extra if you don’t use your credit card. But if the card has an annual fee or any other regularly-occurring fees, those will be charged to your account even if you don’t use your credit card to make purchases. You cannot be charged an inactivity fee, however, because the Federal Reserve Board banned inactivity fees in 2010. And as long as your balance is $0, you won’t be charged interest.
Although you do not get charged extra if you don’t use your credit card, the card’s issuer could close the account due to inactivity after a certain number of months. Each card issuer will have a different policy on closing inactive credit cards – some will close inactive cards after 3 months, and others wait 2 years or more. So if you want to keep your credit card account open, be sure to use your card at least once every 3 months or so.
Nothing much happens if you don’t use your credit card for a month. You’ll just need to keep up to date with your monthly payment if you have an existing balance. But your credit card issuer isn’t going to close your account for less than three months of inactivity. And on top of that, you’ll still receive a monthly statement if you don’t make any purchases, but there won’t be anything new to pay off.… read full answer
Interest still will accrue on any balance you had from past months, and you’ll still need to make a monthly payment on that balance. So don’t forget to send that in, if applicable. But if you always pay in full, you don’t need to do anything.
The only other thing to consider is that if your card offers rewards, you’ll miss out on a month’s worth if you don’t use it. You’re going to spend some money on necessities anyway, so it’s probably worth it to put your groceries or gas on your card. And it’s good for your credit score to use your card every month, too.
The short answer is that nothing is likely to happen if you don’t use your credit card for a few months. Not using your card could actually help your credit score if you have a $0 balance when you stop (contrary to some common myths about keeping a small credit card balance being beneficial).… read full answer
The longer answer is that exactly what happens if you don’t use your credit card depends on which card you have. Some rewards cards will revoke any unredeemed points, miles or cash back you have saved up if you don’t use your credit card at all for a certain period of time – usually around 12 months. And if you don’t use your credit card for 6 months or more, the issuer could close your account. But there’s no standard timeframe for when a credit card issuer will decide to close an account due to inactivity.
Having your account closed due to inactivity could hurt your credit standing and possibly make it seem like your credit history is shorter than it really is. However, you will not be charged any sort of inactivity fee by your credit card company if you don’t use your card to make purchases or other types of transactions for a prolonged period of time. Credit card inactivity fees are banned by law.
As a result, not using your credit card (at least not regularly) can be a great strategy if you want to build credit but are worried about overspending. You just have to make sure your balance is $0 when you stop using your card. A credit card with no balance will get reported to the credit bureaus as being in good standing each month, with an on-time payment and 0% credit utilization. That in turn will lead to credit score improvement if you manage the rest of your finances responsibly.
For your convenience, we’ll summarize the key points to remember below.
Here’s what happens if you don’t use your credit card:
Nothing is likely to happen if you don’t use your credit card for a few months, as long as you make bill payments for any recurring monthly charges.
The credit card’s issuer may decide to close your account after a long period of inactivity. There is no standard timeframe, but they will often send a notice in advance and give you a chance to use your card first.
Some credit card rewards will expire after a certain period of account inactivity. You’ll also lose any rewards you’ve yet to redeem when your account is closed.
If the credit card you’re not using has a $0 balance and is in good standing, positive information will be added to your credit reports each month the account stays open.
Unpaid balances from before you stopped using the card will continue to accrue interest. If your balances have been paid in full, you won’t have to send in any new payments.
If your credit card charges an annual fee, not using the card won’t get you out of having to pay. And if you’re not getting anything out of a card that you’re paying for, you might want to close it.
The bottom line is that not using your card can still be good for your credit. And it’s far better than using your card irresponsibly. So if you don’t trust yourself to limit your spending, it may be wise to set your card aside until you have a necessary expense.
You should use your credit card at least once every three months to keep it active (but more often than that if you want your credit score to improve at a faster rate). Not all issuers are the same when it comes to credit card inactivity. Some might never close an inactive card, while others might do it after only a few months. But there aren’t any major credit card companies that state they’ll close your account before it’s been inactive for three months.… read full answer
Here’s how often you should use your credit card to keep it active:
Amex: No disclosed time limit but will sometimes close based on inactivity. They’ll notify you first and give you a chance to use your card to prevent it, though.
Barclaycard: Will close as soon as 3 months. They won’t notify you in advance.
Capital One: Will close as soon as 12 months. They will notify you beforehand and give you a chance to use your card.
Chase: Will close after 1 year of inactivity. They will send you a letter inviting you to use your card to prevent it from being closed.
Citi: Will close accounts after 24 months of inactivity. They won’t notify you until after they close the account. Only making a purchase counts as activity.
Discover: No disclosed time limit but will notify you if your card is in danger of being closed for inactivity.
U.S. Bank: No disclosed time limit but will sometimes close based on inactivity. May notify you beforehand.
Wells Fargo: Will close accounts after as little as 6 months of inactivity. They will always send a letter ahead of time notifying the cardholder and giving them an opportunity to become active and avoid the closure.
Keep in mind that “activity” could be as little as making a $1 purchase. Making a payment or a balance transfer usually counts too, depending on the issuer. The only notable exception is Citi, who says only new purchases count. And issuers will often contact you if they’re planning to close your account based on inactivity, in order to give you a chance to keep your card by using it. Just make a small charge and you should be all set.
As long as you can afford to, though, you really should use your credit card every month. It’s not a bad thing to have zero balance, but your credit score won’t improve as quickly as it would if you make charges and pay them off. Don’t feel forced to spend, but consider charging at least one small thing.
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