Does an Unactivated Credit Card Show on Your Credit Report?

That depends upon the policies the card issuer has. American Express, for example, says they report new credit card accounts one billing cycle after the application was approved – regardless of whether the card was activated.

Your application for the card will always show up – and will remain for 2 years. However, it will only be factored into your credit score for one year.

Once a credit card account has been approved and reported to FICO, it will show on your credit report as an active account until it is closed. Your non-use of the card is only considered as a part of your overall debt to available credit ratio.

Credit card Adviser Leslie McFadden at advises that canceling a card after the issuer reports it could negatively affect your credit score. If you cancel before it is reported, it will have no affect.

Thus, if you made application for one card but received another – and you don’t want the card you were issued, you should cancel immediately. This is not unusual in today’s credit climate. Credit card issuers hoping to attract card holders with high FICO scores advertise low rates and high credit lines, but often issue cards bearing high rates and low credit lines after reviewing an application.

While this will upset you – it shouldn’t make you feel less worthy. Almost everyone is seeing their FICO scores decline due to the actions that card issuers are taking today.

Shrinking credit lines means card holders who once had a 30% debt to available credit ratio now have an 80 or 90% ratio. Closing unused accounts has the same effect. Card issuers are doing both, and it is affecting people who once had enviable FICO scores.

Should you receive a card in the mail that you know you didn’t ask for, and that isn’t merely a replacement of a card you carry that is expiring, you should contact the issuer immediately to cancel it.

You probably won’t be able to get much information over the phone about who initiated the request – or when or where. So your next step should be to order a copy of your credit report. That unsolicited card could be a sign of identity theft, so look for any other suspicious activity, especially signs that you have a new address or have made application for other credit.

Author:Marte Cliff your resource for free credit reports, credit cards, loans, and ground breaking credit news

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Disclaimer: This information has been compiled and provided by as an informational service to the public. While our goal is to provide information that will help consumers to manage their credit and debt, this information should not be considered legal advice. Such advice must be specific to the various circumstances of each person's situation, and the general information provided on these pages should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.