My New Years To Do List item #3 begs the question: Do you have a bank account or credit card that you don’t use much, or at all anymore? The banks may come to the conclusion that you have abandoned your accounts and will close them on you if you don’t play with them once in a while.
If you let your bank account go dormant, then you’ll have to chase down your money in banking’s Lost and Found Department aka the Unclaimed Funds I wrote about here. If you let a credit card go dormant, you will hurt your credit score.
To avoid this, every January I do two things:
- I sign in to all my bank accounts online. I have found this keeps my visitation privileges. Why don’t I just close an account if I don’t use it much? Banks have promotions all the time offering a higher interest rate on new deposits. Since I already have the account open, it is just a matter of a couple clicks to start collecting a higher rate.
- I take my credit cards on a field trip to the gas station. I charge $2 on each card. A couple days later, I sign into each card’s account online and pay it off from my linked bank account. Why TWO BUCKS? A lot of my cards are free versions of airline frequent flyer mile cards. They give me one mile for every two dollars I spend. Not only does this put activity on my cards, but it also refreshes my frequent flyer mile expiration dates. Pretty handy!
Instead of the gas station, you could go to the self-checkout at a grocery store and load up on Dinty Moore Mystery Meat Pot Pies. Another option: stay in your PJs and get Amazon eGift cards for yourself. Amazon eGift cards show up in your email moments after you buy them. Use the code on the eGift card to load that money onto your Amazon balance for future use.
Even easier: Sign in to Amazon. Under “Your Account” click “Your Account” in the drop down menu. In the “Amazon Wallet” section, click “View Gift Card Balance and Activity”. Then Click “Reload Your Balance” and use your credit card to do so.
With very little work, my bank and credit card accounts have bought another year of life. And my frequent flyer mile expiration dates have been refreshed.
“Inactive Account” Artwork: Click here