How to Reactivate an Inactive Credit Card

To reactive an inactive card, you might need to reapply.

Credit cards accounts are updated monthly with your creditor and at the credit bureaus. If a credit card remains dormant with a zero balance for a period of time, it might become inactive. It normally isn't the responsibility of the lender to contact you when this happens--it's written into your loan agreement. Reactivating a dormant credit account can be challenging, especially if your credit has changed.

Step 1

Pull a current copy of your credit report (see Resources section). You want to make sure the inactive account has not been reporting negatively on your credit. Look at the payment history on the credit card. If you are running 30, 60, or 90 days behind on the account, this means you have an outstanding balance that is unpaid. Contact your lender immediately--especially if this is inaccurate.

Step 2

Call the automated system on your credit card account. Enter your account number and any telephone PIN. If the automated system tells you that there is available credit on the account, there is no need to reactivate. You can start using the card immediately.

Step 3

Contact an account servicing representative if the card is inactive. Ask the representative to reactive the card on its original terms. She might not do this, but it does not hurt to ask. Credit card companies reserve the right to cancel dormant cards.

Step 4

Reactive the card by having the representative pull a new credit report. This will generate an inquiry on your credit report. If your report shows good credit history, especially with the credit card company in question, you should have a reactivated card.

Step 5

Request a new card if your card has expired. Even if your account has been reactivated, you cannot use an expired card.

Warning

Note that credit card companies can reactivate your account under new terms. By pulling a new credit report and "reactivating" the account, they are essentially creating a new account. This means your interest rate and credit limit might change.

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