Bankrate.com released its 2010 survey of credit card fees today. Very few cards included in the study charged an inactivity or annual fee, two fees feared to arise as a result from the restrictions of the Credit CARD Act of 2009. Many of the provisions of the law took effect in February, while rules on penalty fees go into effect in August 2010.
Interestingly, though few cards charged for nonuse, many included a timetable for account closure after a period of dormancy. For example, the Patelco Credit Union Classic card requires one to two transactions every year to keep the account open. HSBC Platinum Card accounts may be shut down after a mere three to four months of zero activity.
While the survey only looked at basic credit card offerings, I have no doubt that the closure timetables extend to other cards as well. Dormant accounts cost money and still pose some risk for issuers. It's a matter of use it or lose it.
Tip: If you have cards with high credit limits that you'd like to hang on to for emergencies, or for the sake of your credit score, make sure to use them on a quarterly basis. Otherwise, you may be shown the door.
About the survey
In total, 73 basic credit cards from the 50 largest issuers were compared. In some cases, platinum cards were used where standard or classic cards weren't offered. For presentation purposes on Bankrate.com, we narrowed it down to the basic cards offered by these issuers, which came to 47 -- 28 from banks and 19 from credit unions.