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Barclays credit cards typically have a requirement of activity every 6 months. Many of us have credit cards we seldom or never use yet card issuers often take no action except the occasional targeted bonus offer to encourage spend. Barclays is explicit on the terms of many of its cards, with language such as this for the Priceline Rewards Visa:
Effective on September 10, 2010, to continue to participate in the rewards program, your account must remain open and in good standing, you must maintain your creditworthiness and you must use your card for at least one (1) purchase transaction every six (6) months (or have some type of account balance every six months). Failure to meet these requirements may result in account closure and/or forfeiture of all outstanding points earned. In addition, if your payment is late in a particular billing cycle, this may result in the forfeiture of points earned in that billing cycle. If your points are forfeited for any reason, we will not reinstate these points to your account. (see full terms)
For cards where rewards are transferred to outside programs monthly, such as airlines and hotels, Barclays would not be able to claw back points already earned, so the primary risk is for cards like Priceline where the rewards accumulate within the Barclays account until redeemed.
I wondered if I should take this requirement seriously, and have found reports of rewards indeed being forfeited and even accounts closed. An example is reader Dave, who wrote:
got choice card then airtran personal and business pre merger…they cancelled my Choice card without notice for being inactive for 6 months!!!! I then cancelled my airtran cards in retaliation (plus we got Southwest cards and companion pass and the merger still hasnt combined the FF programs)
I do not know if this rule is strictly enforced, as Barclays cards are not widely discussed.
An account closure on an inactive card might sound irrelevant but there are plenty of cards that are useful for the benefits rather than spend, and an account closure can impact credit score in terms of average age of accounts and credit utilization.
Rather than worry or deal with hassle, I set up quarterly calendar reminders, use each of my Barclays cards for a small purchase, and put them away again until the season changes.
Readers, do you have any experience with Barclays cards going past 6 months of inactivity?