You must already know that your credit card account is already made when you get your credit card. However, there is one more crucial step that goes into it before you can start using your brand new credit card.
Credit card Activation! But
Ever wondered what exactly happens when you don’t activate your credit card. Let’s find out.
We all go through the process of getting that new and shiny credit card that is capable of many handy perks along? But often amidst the hustle-bustle of life and for reasons like, the rewards are not worth the annual fee associated with the card or the welcome bonus isn’t that attractive anymore; we on the way simply stop using the credit card. Whatever the reason might be, if you’re on that boat already, you can seriously consider an alternative. Not activating that credit card at all. Yes, that’s right. That will get you right out of your dilemma. But will it, though?
The reason for the hesitation is that your credit card account gets set up the moment you get your credit card. If you’re thinking that not activating the card will just make the account disappear, that does not happen (unfortunately). Not activating your new credit card might impact your credit score in multiple ways. Here’s how…
What happens when I don’t activate my credit card?
Since your account is considered open and running from the day your Credit card is issued, there are still some problems that might occur if you don’t activate your card at all. The most basic consequence of not activating your credit card is that you won’t be able to use the card. Simple. The activation of the card is a process that is designed to make the usage of your credit card more secure. There are other consequences too.
Your bank or credit card company or financial institution might try to contact you if you have not activated your credit card after a certain number of days or weeks. Mostly, this time ranges from between 45-60 days of the receipt of your credit card. After that time has been elapsed, you might have to request a new card from the same provider (if you want one) because the existing card will have expired.
Does no activation of my credit card affect my credit score?
When you apply for a credit card, there is a formal inquiry that is held into your credit record – credit history and credit scores. The inquiry into your credit might bring your credit score down by a few points but that will soon get compensated with your new card (or a credit line, whatever applies). Usually, the non-activation of a credit card does not affect your credit score directly. This might come as good news to someone who applies for a lot of credit cards but never uses them.
However, if you do this frequently, there are some things that you must look out for. For starters, you should be aware whether the card you are not activating has an annual fee. Card issuers have been known for charging annual fees even if you have not activated the card in the first place. These issuers usually charge your bill on the first bill of the year, or on the anniversary of your card’s opening. The fee usually shows up on your credit card statement for that month, and if you miss that, it can easily become a missed payment and accrue interest month after month without your knowledge. This amount, mostly small, can become a big amount due to the hefty interest rates that are charged on credit balances that are carried month on month.
This means that even if you do not activate your card, you are still liable to pay the annual fee of the card. This can directly affect your credit score. You should also consider how getting a new credit card and not activating it affects your credit score. This is actually a positive benefit. If you get a new credit card and never activate it, it lowers your credit utilization ratio, which helps to increase your credit score over time. However, even though lowering your credit utilization might be an excellent advantage, that may impact your account status. If your credit card is not activated, your account might get closed. This might reflect poorly in your credit report, which is often pulled when you’re looking for lines of credit that you actually want in the future.
Hence, while there might be some advantages here and there of not activating your credit card, there are more disadvantages. It is better to activate your credit card and then make some small payment here and there so that your credit score does not have to bear the brunt of it. This way, you and your credit report stay out of harm’s way!