What happens if i never activate my credit card?

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If you have received a new credit card but haven’t activated it, you may be wondering what happens if you never activate it. Does it have any impact on your credit score or financial standing? In this article, we will explore the consequences of not activating your credit card and provide insights into what you should consider before making a decision.

Why do you need to activate your credit card?

Activation process: Before delving into the consequences, it’s important to understand why credit card activation is necessary. When you receive a new credit card, it is typically inactive for security reasons. Activation involves verifying your identity and confirming that you have received the card. This process is usually done by calling a toll-free number or through an online portal provided by the credit card issuer.

Security measures: By requiring activation, credit card issuers aim to protect you from potential fraud. Activating your card ensures that only you, the authorized cardholder, can use it. It also helps prevent unauthorized individuals from intercepting and using your card.

Consequences of not activating your credit card

No access to credit: The most obvious consequence of not activating your credit card is that you won’t be able to use it for purchases. Until the card is activated, it remains inactive and cannot be used to make transactions. This can be inconvenient if you were relying on the credit card for immediate financial needs.

Missed benefits and rewards: Many credit cards offer various benefits and rewards programs, such as cashback, travel rewards, or discounts on specific purchases. By not activating your credit card, you miss out on these perks. If you were looking forward to taking advantage of these rewards, it’s important to activate your card to start enjoying the benefits.

No impact on credit score: Contrary to popular belief, not activating your credit card does not directly impact your credit score. Credit card activation is not reported to credit bureaus, so it does not affect your credit history or creditworthiness. However, it’s worth noting that your credit limit on the inactive card will not be factored into your credit utilization ratio, which could indirectly impact your credit score.

Reduced risk of fraud: One potential benefit of not activating your credit card is that it reduces the risk of fraud. If you have concerns about the security of your card or suspect that it may have been compromised during the delivery process, not activating it can prevent unauthorized use. However, it is important to contact your credit card issuer to report any suspicions or issues with the delivery.

Considerations before deciding not to activate

Emergency backup: While not activating your credit card may seem like a way to avoid potential financial risks, it’s important to consider the card as an emergency backup. Having an active credit card can provide a safety net in case of unexpected expenses or emergencies. It’s wise to weigh the potential benefits of having access to credit against the risks associated with activating the card.

Expiration date: Credit cards typically have an expiration date printed on them. If you choose not to activate your card, it may still expire after a certain period. In such cases, the credit card issuer may automatically send you a replacement card. It’s important to be aware of the expiration date and the issuer’s policies regarding card replacement.


In summary, not activating your credit card means you won’t have access to credit or be able to enjoy the benefits and rewards associated with it. However, it does not directly impact your credit score. Before deciding not to activate, consider the potential risks and benefits, including the card’s expiration date and the need for an emergency backup.


– bankrate.com
– creditkarma.com
– experian.com