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Jamie asks: I was wondering if once you apply for a credit card, and are approved, are you “obligated” to use that card? I haven’t activated it and have only had it for about a week.
Jamie this is a great question. First of all I would say that it’s extremely important to always read the terms and conditions associated with your specific card. Once your application was approved your account was opened, most card companies consider the card activation step optional (meaning they can charge you fees without you even activating your card) . I wouldn’t recommend closing the account unless there is an annual fee because you probably want to avoid taking a hit on your credit.
If you decide to keep the account open – Recently a number of credit card companies have started charging some customers who haven’t used their card in certain number of months an inactivity fee, this is due to the credit CARD act that just went into effect which is forcing the card companies to find new ways to make money. The Federal Reserve has taken notice of this and just recently proposed a complete ban on inactivity fees and will most likely go into effect on August 22 2010 with the final phase of the credit CARD act.
Some cards like American Express Platinum come with a very high annual fee – I would recommend completely avoiding cards like this is you are unsure about how much you will actually use the card, because if you choose not to use it the money you put towards the annual fee will essentially be wasted.