Is a Credit Card Inactivity Fee Illegal? | CreditShout

Is a Credit Card Inactivity Fee Illegal?

By Kaitlin T / August 1, 2011
Amex first to raise late fees

Q: A friend told me if you have a credit card but don’t use it for some time, you could be charged an “inactivity fee.” This sounds sketchy to me, is this legal?

A: Inactivity fees are no longer legal.

Credit card companies are coming up with all sorts of new ways to get money out of their customers these days. Unfortunately for them (but fortunately for us), government regulation manages to put a stop to many of these sneaky fees, and one of them is—you guessed it—inactivity fees.

So rest assured, you don’t have to cancel your credit card that you haven’t used for a while or deal with the resulting credit score drop.

It might be good to buy gas with that old card every once in a while just so that your account isn’t closed, but at least now you don’t have to worry about a fee on top of that.

For those who are curious, the Credit CARD Act of 2009 is responsible for the end to fees for non-use. The act banned inactivity fees as well as several other types of fees, including ones that are higher than the dollar amount associated with them, such as late fees higher than the amount of the late payment.

The act took effect August 22nd, 2010. If your credit card company has charged you an inactivity fee since then, you can report them to the FTC.

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