Why You Should Keep Your Credit Cards Active

Keep your credit cards active, even with small charges, to protect your credit score.

A woman in a colorful outdoor market taps her credit card on a merchant's mobile card reader.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Keeping your credit cards active, even by making one small, monthly purchase, may not seem important. And if you’re digging out of debt or struggling to keep your spending in check, minimizing credit card usage may be the best choice for your overall financial health. Otherwise, consider putting any standard or rewards credit cards that you haven’t used in a while into the rotation for making purchases. 

The reason? If your credit card is inactive for a long period — anywhere from about six months to three years, says Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate — the card issuer may close it or reduce your credit limit. That could hurt your credit score.  

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Ella Vincent
Staff Writer

Ella Vincent is a personal finance writer who has written about credit, retirement, and employment issues. She has previously written for Motley Fool and Yahoo Finance. She enjoys going to concerts in her native Chicago and watching basketball.

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