Dear Liz: My credit card issuer has informed me that it is closing my account due to inactivity. I’ve been a customer since 1993 and used the account extensively until two years ago, when I decided to get my financial life in better order and stopped charging purchases to this card.
I don’t want to lose this financial resource or have my credit score affected. I talked to an account manager about reopening the account and offered to make a balance transfer with a guaranteed monthly charge for my health club fees, but he said he could do nothing — the bank had made the decision to eliminate inactive accounts.
What can I do to reverse this decision? Whom should I contact at the bank and what should I say?
Answer: Credit card issuers don’t seem to be interested in reopening closed accounts, even for formerly loyal customers.
In the past, issuers were willing to keep these accounts open, hoping you would return. These days, however, credit card companies are trying to reel in lines of credit wherever possible, and inactive accounts are an easy place to do so.
If you have several other credit card accounts, the damage to your credit score is likely to be minimal. If you’re concerned about not having enough access to credit, though, consider opening another account. This, too, can put a ding on your score, but the damage is likely to fade quickly.
If you have any other cards you’re not using, consider keeping them active by using them to pay those health club fees and other monthly costs. Pay the balance in full every month: You don’t need to pay interest to have access to credit and healthy scores.