I have 4 credit cards.

I use 3 of them frequently for individual purposes as they offer different cash back for different things.

However there is one that I rarely use. Is there a way to set up automatic transaction on that card of something like $10 each month to keep it active?

EDIT: I know I can add the card for subscriptions and bills, but I get better much better cash back from other cards and thus use those cards for them. I want to know if there is an app or service that does just that ,i.e., keep credit card active.

  • 1
    How active do you need to keep it? I had one I used twice a year and the bank wasn't complaining...
    – keshlam
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 19:22
  • I'd be more than happy to charge you for the privilege of keeping your card open, lol.
    – phyrfox
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 8:54
  • 1
    If you don't use it, why do you care if it stays open? Also, I had a card for several years without using it, and it was never closed until I explicitly asked them to close it. Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 13:39
  • I read a lot of forums (credit karma, my fico) all of them say that inactivity will lead to closing the card. Hence asked such a question. Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 20:59
  • @forgivenson Banks have a tendency to close inactive cards. THis can affect your total available credit which increases your utilization and can affect your credit history.
    – Xalorous
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 22:46

4 Answers 4


Put one of your monthly bills on it. (Utility bill, Netflix, monthly donation to charity, etc.)

I have several automatic, recurring monthly charges on my credit card.

If you don't have any current monthly bills that you want to switch, contact the Red Cross, or a charity of your choice. They would be very happy to charge your credit card once a month.

Alternatively, it might be okay to let it close.

  • 1
    And Nexflix hits his $10 goal, almost exactly. Great idea. Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 17:56
  • 1
    +1 | In fact, I use one card exclusively for subscription services. Makes budgeting easy.
    – quid
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 17:59
  • 6
    Red Cross looks like a good idea and I will be doing at least one good deed every month. Thanks. Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 18:07
  • 17
    What's the cash back you would receive from your $9.99 monthly subscription? 2%, you'll get a whopping $0.20? I wouldn't worry about slicing this so thin. What would you prefer? An app to charge you $10 for nothing? You're putting the cart in front of the horse with the cash back....
    – quid
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 18:07
  • 1
    Also, it doesn't matter whether you make the charge via an app or manually. You have to forgo the cash back advantage if you want to put a payment on the "worse" card.
    – BrenBarn
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 18:20

credit cards are almost never closed for inactivity. i have had dozens of cards innactive for years on end, and only one was ever closed on me for inactivity. i would bet a single 1$ transaction per calendar year would keep all your cards open. as such, you could forget automating the process and just spend 20 minutes a year making manual 1$ payments (e.g. to your isp, utility company, google play, etc.). alternatively, many charities will let you set up an automatic monthly donation for any amount (e.g. 1$ to wikipedia). or perhaps you could treat yourself to an mp3 once a month (arguably a charitable donation in the age of file sharing).

side note: i use both of these strategies to get the 12 debit card transactions per month required by my kasasa checking account.

  • Rather than getting the card closed, I would be worried about the issuer charging for card inactivity. Which leads to the same goal of reaching a given number of transactions per month/year.
    – Ángel
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 22:29
  • i've never heard of a credit card charging for inactivity. if you have such a card (or one that charges an annual fee), then you should probably pro-actively close it assuming you have a better card. Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 16:26
  • $1 to wikipedia is another amazing option besides $10 to Red Cross. I read a lot of forums (credit karma, my fico) all of them say that inactivity will lead to closing the card. Hence asked such a question. Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 20:56
  • @jamesturner it may be actually written as a fee that is exempted if you make more than X transactions / spend Y money / have Z products with the bank. But it's just the same, charging you for not using the card. I have seen that from different issues. Maybe it's different in the USA.
    – Ángel
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 23:18

I agree with the rest of the answers -- you're probably better off just using it for some predictable flat-rate recurring monthly service like NetFlix, or making a charitable donation if you're into that sort of thing.

But since that wasn't what you asked, I'll try to provide an answer:

If you don't mind throwing away money, send money to yourself using PayPal.

Here's how:

Set up a PayPal Business Account, and use your personal PayPal account to send funds to it by setting up a PayPal subscription.

PayPal says "You can have one Consumer account and one Business account." A PayPal Payments Standard business account has no monthly fee -- only transaction fees.

According to PayPal, "in order to set up a repeating payment, [you] would need to create a Subscription or Recurring Payments button from the Merchant Services tab" (in the Business Account). You would then click the link/button to set up the subscription from your personal PayPal account, to make it send money to your Business account on an automatic schedule.

You can then, at your own leisure, send the money back to your personal account without paying a second transaction fee, then finally send it back to your bank account. Or, if your bank account is not yet tied to your personal account, you can tie it to the business account instead, and deposit the funds into your bank account. Unfortunately, this step can't be automated.

Again, to reiterate, you're much better off just using it for something recurring.

  • You are right, a charity or a small subscription is the better way to go. Thank you for your alternative PayPal approach. I guess, somebody may benefit from that. Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 20:58

Putting money into your Amazon gift card balance is also a very convenient option, but I like these recurring Red Cross and Wikipedia ideas also.

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