I have several credit cards not used in ages. Do I destroy and forget them, or first advise the issuers they are no longer needed?

by , 29 Sep 2010

Could the actions I take affect my credit rating?


add your answer here

I had a Virgin creditcard which I hadn't used for at least 12 months, I just recently got a letter from virgin saying that they were cancelling it because it's unused. I was given the option to use it in the next 14 days to keep it active, or just ignore it and the account would close. I believe this is now standard practice for creditcard companies and banks, if an account is unused they will contact you (assuming they have your correct address etc) and 'prompt' you to use it or lose it. It is however better for your credit rating to have credit cards AND to use them AND to pay on time, rather than to cancel them, or have them cancelled by the company, so yes, your actions could have an effect on your credit rating.

by wendiew, 29 Sep 2010

I cancelled all of mine because I hadn't used them for a while. They had credit card cheques with them and I had to ensure they were destroyed. I had to tell the bank/company what cheque numbers I still had before they would cancel the accounts. This hasn't affected my credit rating as far as I am aware.

by Sue154, 29 Sep 2010

I cut mine up and just forgot about it they will cancel it eventually anyway.

by Noddy1, 29 Sep 2010

maybe you should check that you dont have credit available against your name and cancel.

by instinct, 30 Sep 2010
add a comment

Personally i would contact the card provider and ask them to cancel account. I would leave one open for emergencies in case you need it. I had one with Nationwide which i had used to transfer a balance, once it was paid off beginning of the year i cancelled the card/acc.

by NTB, 29 Sep 2010

I would cancel them as having unused active credit cards can have an adverse affect on your credit rating especially if you go to apply for credit in the future. For example if you have valid cards all with varying credit limits say up to ?10K, in theory you could go out on a bender and spend all that money if you chose to do so and lenders will take this into account when deciding whether to lend you any money. Even unused they will lower your overall credit score.

by frenchwoodgirl, 29 Sep 2010

I believe Wendiew is correct. Having cards that you don't use is good. It demonstrates lenders trust you. They work in your favour and give you a good credit score. Don't cancel them would therefore be my advice.

by pmscot93, 29 Sep 2010

I agree, it would be wiser to cancel them ( or adjust them) as the credit limit, though not being used, is stored as information about you by the credit companies. When I learned of this, i phoned/emailed and cancelled 2 of te seldom used catalogues accounts, as I can still look online if I want something. I also emailed my 2 credit cards at the time and reduced the agreed amount of credit down so in effect I shared available credit, between 2, half each.That tightened up my management of cards as i really was not using the large amount available, I'd have been too scared to!I set up alerts in case my balance went over a certain amount, to my email in box.By hanging on to the 2 with less on each, I was aware of offeres e.g a good balance transfer arrangement, which I used once only, on either of the cards. But really it may suit you better just to cancel one, getting rid of the amount of credit available against your name, and rid of temptation. I use one mostly for points and pay off asap. often monthly in full unless i have had to buy a large item, I then set up s.o. to make a regular payment within the interest free time (if applicablle) and also keep an arrangement with D.D ,s to pay the minimum amount monthly, and if flush, make an online payment.If I go to stores, I don,t know how many times I have had to politely decline new storecards!

by instinct, 30 Sep 2010

I would certainly write to the issuers, cancel the account and file their confirmation before destroying the cards. Not much effort involved and ensures that there is no comeback if there is any fraud against the card in the future. I would add that it is very useful to keep an alternative credit card locked away in case you have a problem with the one you normally use. I have had problems when travelling because of 'unusual activity' on my card and have been pleased to have an alternative to use.

by Sidesalad, 30 Sep 2010

I got a credit card at uni (for the free gift!) never used it, after awhile of non use, about 18 months, they wrote to me to inform me the account had been closed. I'd destroyed the card the same day i got it as i didn't want the temptation to spend on it.

If you have cards that are sitting on ?0 i would inform the company to close the account and then destroy them, especially if you think you might cave and use them. If you check online the company will generally have a printable form that you fill in and post to close the account. No need to sit on hold for ages and have someone try to convince you to stay.

Your credit rating is worked out by your ability to pay off amounts when requested. So if you were up to date with payments your credit rating will be fine.

by cffalco, 30 Sep 2010

I am surpised that they have not written to you by now.If you need to use them give them a call that you intend to use them but if you don't contact them by phone to confirm that you wish to cancel and whether they also want it in writing. If you hold cards and do not use them it may affect your credit rating adversely.

by creativesaver, 30 Sep 2010

I've had loads in the past - remember when you could transfer a balance for free? I've never cancelled any (why waste a stamp or pay for a 'phone call?). The credit card company normally writes to you after a certain period of inactivity saying the card will be cancelled unless it's used in the next month. So ones I don't use just expire naturally. The only one I reuse each year is Nationwide because they used to have a better foreign-use policy - I don't know if that's still the case.

by johnanon, 30 Sep 2010

Posts within the money.co.uk community represent the views, experiences and opinions of members and experts only. They should not be taken as financial advice and should not be followed without further research.

Get our free money saving newsletter
Join over 450,000 other subscribers who grab our expert money tips, unmissable money guides & hottest bargains each week in our special email...