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Old Nov 4, 14, 3:33 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
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How often do you use no-fee cards to avoid cancellation?

I currently have a couple cards I keep around mainly as "backups" in case my main wallet was stolen or something.

Currently I have a few no fee cards I keep mostly for credit score purposes, including my first CC, one from Cap1 because it has no FT fee and 1.5% back, and a Chase Sapphire I kept to keep my utilization low (as well as to help average account age)

How often do you use cards to avoid having them cancelled?
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Old Nov 4, 14, 3:51 pm   #2
 
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Usually (not always) you'll get a letter or email stating that your account will be closed unless there is activity.

I've gone 3+ years without activity and finally got a letter.
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Old Nov 4, 14, 9:43 pm   #3
 
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Originally Posted by greggarious View Post
How often do you use cards to avoid having them cancelled?
I use each card 2-3 times a year at a minimum - but not to avoid having the accounts getting canceled. I use them to optimize my chances of being approved for future credit cards.
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Old Nov 4, 14, 11:00 pm   #4
 
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It's worth using cards every once in a while as some issuers don't report anything to CRAs when no transactions occur.

These then get classified as "dormant" by FICO. Not sure if they actually negatively impact scores, though.
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Old Nov 5, 14, 1:31 am   #5
 
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I shift to no-fee cards during a lull-time when I don't need to hit any minimum spending. This is typically for 1-2 weeks before I get a new bonus-spending-minimum card, but enough to use the no-fee backup cards.

I suggest you adopt a similar strategy
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Old Nov 9, 14, 1:19 am   #6
 
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Originally Posted by greggarious View Post
How often do you use cards to avoid having them cancelled?
For standard bankcards, once per year is sufficient. Retail cards may want to see more usage.

Once accounts are closed by the grantor, it's hard to get them back.
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Old Nov 9, 14, 10:50 am   #7
 
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Originally Posted by greggarious View Post
How often do you use cards to avoid having them cancelled?
I use them 3 or 4 times a year to show activity and avoid getting them shut down.
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Old Nov 10, 14, 3:00 am   #8
 
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I used to do twice a year, now I just do once a year.
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Old Nov 10, 14, 6:55 am   #9
 
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I have a BoA Visa Signature card (the AAA version), which I haven't used in exactly 39 months (to the day, I just checked the account activity online) which still shows up as active.

It may or may not matter that I also have a checking account with BoA that sees regular activity, I don't know.
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Old Nov 12, 14, 7:36 pm   #10
 
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Originally Posted by BostonFlyer1624 View Post
Usually (not always) you'll get a letter or email stating that your account will be closed unless there is activity.

I've gone 3+ years without activity and finally got a letter.
Oh, brother. Does that mean I need to buy $5 worth of gas to keep my near-worthless Citi AT&T Universal Card that has seniority in my CC portfolio active?
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Old Nov 12, 14, 8:07 pm   #11
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Oh, brother. Does that mean I need to buy $5 worth of gas to keep my near-worthless Citi AT&T Universal Card that has seniority in my CC portfolio active?
No, you only need to buy $1 worth of gas.

I have one of these cards too (one of the two cards I have that I've had for over two decades, the other being a Discover). They just sent me an email saying that I have 20 -- out of 26 or so -- Thank You points that are going to expire soon! I wonder how many years ago I earned those?
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Old Nov 13, 14, 7:04 am   #12
 
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
No, you only need to buy $1 worth of gas.

I have one of these cards too (one of the two cards I have that I've had for over two decades, the other being a Discover). They just sent me an email saying that I have 20 -- out of 26 or so -- Thank You points that are going to expire soon! I wonder how many years ago I earned those?
Thanks! Especially since I have so many other choices regarding fuel buys. Including a pending bank bonus dependent on 10 debit card swipes. Easier to do fuel buy than go buy bubble gum somewhere.

My DS card is the seniority anchor for my credit history, too.

I have to go dig out that Universal card somewhere; out of sight, out of mind.
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Old Nov 13, 14, 2:45 pm   #13
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Thanks! Especially since I have so many other choices regarding fuel buys. Including a pending bank bonus dependent on 10 debit card swipes. Easier to do fuel buy than go buy bubble gum somewhere.
Actually, given that fuel gives bonuses elsewhere, I'd use it for something small that gives no bonuses.

If you're working on a bonus which requires physical swipes, a small online purchase that you need to do anyway, even if a bit more then $1 or even a bit more than $5, but which wouldn't qualify for the physical swipe bonus, might be better.
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Old Nov 18, 14, 7:52 pm   #14
 
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
Actually, given that fuel gives bonuses elsewhere, I'd use it for something small that gives no bonuses.

If you're working on a bonus which requires physical swipes, a small online purchase that you need to do anyway, even if a bit more then $1 or even a bit more than $5, but which wouldn't qualify for the physical swipe bonus, might be better.
Bingo on the $1 fuel on the A&TT card. Done. Then I do under $1 fuel swipes. When it comes to multi swipes accumulating to about $3 for $100 bonus, not concerned about 5% on such small amounts.
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Old Nov 18, 14, 8:24 pm   #15
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Bingo on the $1 fuel on the A&TT card. Done. Then I do under $1 fuel swipes. When it comes to multi swipes accumulating to about $3 for $100 bonus, not concerned about 5% on such small amounts.
Be careful about going too low on amounts. In one of those threads about a credit card with a signup bonus, someone recently appeared to have missed getting a "first purchase" bonus of tens of thousands of airline miles simply because their first and only purchase was less than 50 cents, and the bank apparently did rounding and counted that as 0 in terms of first purchase.

I could imagine something like that for multi-swipe bonuses also. I wouldn't assume any under 51 cents would necessarily count. They might, but they might not. And if they don't, it could be something from the internals that the bank uses, and thus they wouldn't have necessarily had to spell that out in the rules. (The bank which didn't count under 50 cents as a "first purchase" didn't spell out any minimum for the purchase.)

Banks aren't creating these promos for people who things to an absurd point. Banks are creating these promos to get you to use the card more. It doesn't mean you have to make a bunch of expensive swips, but I would recommend inexpensive "normal looking" swipes, and lots of sub-dollar fuel swipe do not look "normal" to me, they look someone trying to "manufacture swipes"!

And just like you don't want to attract attention from a bank of overzealous Manufactured Spending, I wouldn't want to attract attention from a bank by overzealous manufactured swipes.
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