If you’ve got a few credit cards lying around that you haven’t used in a while but don’t want to lose, you might want to talk them out for a walk.
Credit card companies know that cash-strapped consumers are likely to start tapping their unused credit cards, and possibly default on the payments, so they’re cutting off lines of credit for inactive accounts. Cynthia and her husband, who say they both have “excellent credit scores” and “use their credit wisely,” came back from vacation to find three Citicards canceled due to inactivity. The last time they used them was last holiday season, and the cards had $14,500 in credit available on them.
While the credit card companies are completely within their rights, cutting off lines of credit can bring down people’s credit scores because it decreases their amount of available credit, a factor in your FICO. And while closing inactive cards has always happened, the pace and scope has greatly increased in response to economic downturn. “I had read in the news that this would be a tactic credit card companies would be using, but I was surprised at how quick it actually happened,” said Cynthia.