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Credit Finances & Money

BoA canceled my Visa card due to inactivity

We used to have 8 credit cards, but as of today that count is down to 7 as I found out Bank of America (formerly MBNA) canceled my Visa card. I knew it was coming because I haven’t used the card since 2006, but it still stings a bit because I don’t recall ever receiving a notice.

This morning I was going through my account information for all my cards to capture my credit limits and make sure everything else is kosher when I noticed that only my BoA Mastercard was showing in my account. I called up BoA to ask and the rep said they closed it due to inactivity back in March 2009…two months ago.

Luckily this card only had a $1000 limit, and it wasn’t my oldest card. I opened it in 2003, while my Mastercard was from 2001, back when it was MBNA. I’ve been with MBNA since 1999 when I got my first card back in college. The Mastercard has a $25,000 limit (a quarter of my total credit limit), and I made sure to use it late last year to ensure they didn’t cancel it. Good thing I did, and perhaps I should use it again soon!

If you’re wondering why all this matters, here’s why:

  • If you don’t use a card for a while (time determined by the credit card company, which could be months or years), they’ll cancel it, especially in the current credit economy.
  • If that card is your oldest card, your credit score will take a big hit. Credit age is a big factor in your credit score, so even if you don’t like your oldest credit card (like I don’t), you have to keep the account active. I don’t like the BoA card because there’s no rewards on the account.
  • If that card has a high limit and it’s closed, your credit score will take a big hit. If they had closed my $25,000 limit card, which is a fourth of my overall credit limit, other potential creditors would see that as a sign of distrust and would reduce or pull back their offers when I need them most, like when we’re planning on refinancing our mortgages.

So whether you like the card or not, if it’s old or a high limit, use it every few months, and make sure to pay it off immediately too. I probably won’t bother to look at the damage to my score from this little incident, but it did remind me to keep all of my other cards active!

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Clever Dude


  • What a great reminder, thank you!

    We have two credit cards, one with a 25k limit that we have been paying off over the last two years. We have not charged anything to it for quite some time so perhaps it would be wise to ring something up to keep it active.

  • While it wasn’t an old card without a high limit, i think having 8 credit cards is a little bit much (from the perspective of the credit bureaus), so your credit may even benefit from having fewer cards overall.

    Let us know!

  • Well, that’s crappy. I found out a few months after the fact that my BofA/MBNA card’s credit limit was cut. While moving and shredding papers, I found the letter detailing the change from February 2009. I suppose that’s what I get for not opening every single letter from BofA. (I figure most of them are convenience checks/BT checks and shred them quickly.)

    Will this stop you from having a relationship with BofA? I find them very convenient to my life in DC because there are branches everywhere. For the most part, their only downside is a lack of ATMs in Clarendon, forcing me to use a Wachovia ATM and incurring a fee. Lots of people are angry at BofA, but I find it hard to summon a lot of vitriol for them anymore. (I steadfastly refused to use them after crappy experiences in CA 10 yrs ago, but my circumstances new are very different and I don’t overdraw anymore.)

  • @fern, I hadn’t seen a negative impact from 8 cards previously (mid to high 700s), but this won’t hurt it too much.

    @mapgirl, nah, I still love BoA’s online banking, and there’s enough banking centers close enough to me. I don’t need an ATM very often, maybe once a month, and I can drive to one a mile away.

  • @Kerri, it depends on the situation, your preference for that card, etc. In my case, I never used that BoA card for a reason: NO REWARDS! I have other cards that I earn about $50-70 a month in rewards, so there’s no incentive for me to reapply for that card.

    However, if it was a card you liked, just haven’t used, call them up to see if they’ll reopen the account. You’re going to take a ding to your credit if it’s closed (b/c you lose the credit limit, etc.), but you’ll take a 2nd ding if you sign up for another card (new credit). I think the best option would be to just ask them to reinstate it then.

  • I received a new card a very short time ago with an expiration date of 2014.
    I ordered a system on line and found out that the order was cancelled.When I called BOA Visa they said it was cancelled due to inactivity. Wish they had sent me a notification, they send me checks monthly which I never use.

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