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10-04-05, 09:56 AM
I'm sure any of you who have ever been to a football or baseball game have seen the Visa and Mastercard booths where if you sign up, you get a free gift like a towel or something. They tell you that if you are approved but you don't activate the card, you never really have an active account. Well I got approved for the card. Now if I don't want it, do I have to call and cancel? Or as long as I don't activate the card, do I not have an account?

10-04-05, 11:00 AM
i would call.. sometimes they get activated automatically... i signed up for one to get a free hat... well, i got signed up for a subscription to SI automatically.. which was great until I got a bill on my "new" credit card that I never activated

also signing up for those cards does count as a hit against your credit report if you care about that type of thing

The Bus
10-04-05, 01:25 PM
also signing up for those cards does count as a hit against your credit report if you care about that type of thing

No, it doesn't.

What you'll have is A) a credit check and B) a new line of credit. The former doesn't hurt your credit.* The latter actually helps your credit**.

But generally speaking, signing up for a credit card to get a free towel is A Bad Idea. Signing up for every credit card you see so you get the towel, the shirt, the mug, the lapel pin, and the $4.99 Rusty Wallace NASCAR auto-shaped telepone phone offer is A Really Bad Idea.

To answer, the OP's question, once you're approved for the account, that shows up on your credit, whether or not the card is "activated" --- think of approval as the account, and the activation to be on that piece of plastic.


* "Inquiries are a subset of the "new credit" category, which accounts for 10% of the total FICO score." - Fair Isaac Corporation, [Source (http://www.myfico.com/CreditEducation/CreditInquiries.aspx)]. A single inquiry will never hurt your credit if your credit is good to begin with. Multiple inquiries may reduce your score (I'm talking 12+ inquiries in 60 days). But inquiries are a minor minor part of your score. Most of the time, they don't affect it at all.

** " In general, having credit cards and installment loans (and paying timely payments) will raise your score. Someone with no credit cards, for example, tends to be higher risk than someone who has managed credit cards responsibly." - Fair Isaac Corporation, [Source (http://www.myfico.com/CreditEducation/ImproveYourScore.aspx)]. What this means is that if you don't have a lot of accounts open, a new one (that is responsibly used) will probably improve your credit. If you have lots of accounts, a new account (with no balance) may not raise your score. It certainly will not drop your score.

10-04-05, 04:57 PM
I've never actually done it but every time there's like a bucket hat giveaway I want to. Do you actually have to give them your real info? Why don't you just give some fake BS info to get the gift?

10-04-05, 05:53 PM
Activate the card. Put it in your sock drawer and never use it. It will help you build your credit.

FWIW you can find much, much better deals (upto $250) when signing up for cards.

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