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They cancelled me! Credit score question

December 13th, 2008 at 05:20 am

I got a letter from a credit card company today, one that I'd forgotten I even had. Since I haven't used my card in 2 years, they decided I didn't need it and cancelled me. My first thought was "Oh no, that one had a really high balance. What if I get into trouble and need to use it to get by until I get another permanent job?". Then I realized that would have had to be really desperate before (a) I even realized the card was there to use, and (b) I went into credit card debt on another card. The three I have are bad enough.

Reading Missy's blog about how closing a credit card account might affect her credit score, I was wondering the same thing. I checked ours a month or so ago when there was some free deal to check, but don't you normally have to pay to check it? And, each time you check it, does it record it as an inquiry?

8 Responses to “They cancelled me! Credit score question”

  1. paulettegoddard Says:

    Once a year you are entitled to a free credit report from one of the three major credit reporting agencies. There are two kinds of inquiries: 'hard' credit inquiries performed by potential creditors, and 'soft' credit inquiries such as personal requests for credit reports. 'Soft' credit inquiries do not affect your score.

  2. Analise Says:

    Interesting... I got a letter about a month ago that my Cabela's Visa was being closed for lack of use. I opened it a few years ago because of a promotion that gave a 30% discount the first time I used it and I was buying an expensive item. I paid the bill, put the card in the safe, and never used it again. (The only card I use and carry in my wallet is one that gets miles.)

    I didn't know that closing an account could negatively affect credit scores, but since we just got approved for a refinance, I don't think it had much of an impact, if any.

  3. Amber Says:

    I don't think (not sure) it will have a huge impact since there was no activity on the card and you did not close it.

  4. HouseHopeful Says:

    The only thing that you'll be losing on a 0 balance account is the file depth (how long you've had it open) and its the amount of available credit, which can affect your utilization (amount of balances compared to credit lines). It might not have a big impact on your credit score, if you have lower balances or a lot of other available credit lines. The only way to really find out is to obtain your score. Good luck!

  5. Dawn Says:

    Yes, you can get a free copy of your credit REPORT from any of the 3 credit bureaus. If you rotate which bureau you request the credit report from, you can actually get 3 free credit REPORTS each year. EG Order 1 from Experian in January, then order 1 from TransUnion in April and then order 1 from Equifax in August.

    Credit scores you must pay for. They usually cost about $15 if you order them alone, as opposed to getting the score with an ongoing monitoring service.

    Yes, if they closed the card out due to prolonged inactivity, it could adversely affect your credit score since the credit bureaus look at what percentage of your overall available credit you use. Once you close out one credit card, that lowers your overall available credit.

    This is why experts recommend that you don't close out credit cards you don't use; use them once every few months just to keep their status "active."

  6. frugaltexan75 Says:

    I had a credit card closed on me recently due to lack of activity - and it did affect my credit score. (I have a WAMU card that shows your approximate credit score each month.)

    The card was one that I'd thought about closing before, since I never used it anymore, but just hadn't gotten around to it. They made my decision for me.

  7. littlemama Says:

    Just about one month ago I got a cancellation letter due to inactivity also. My available credit was $15,500. (why, I don't know.) Like you, I kind of had a "freak out" moment and still do because of the "what ifs".

    Anyway, my credit score has dropped significantly. Like around 70 pts. Oh well, hopefully I won't need it.

  8. lizajane Says:

    Thanks for all the input. I hadn't ever heard the "use it or lose it" (my words) advice Dawn referred to. Ugh! My balance overall is high and like littlemama I had a large available credit amount, so I have a feeling it will drop my score quite a bit. I don't plan on getting any new loans or refinancing any time soon, so maybe I won't need it. I was hoping, though, that I might someday get another good balance transfer offer of 4% or lower until paid in full and I could get my ATT card to a better interest rate. Probably not going to happen now. At least I know I should do some kind of activity on some other dormant ones now before they wipe them out too!

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