So, I've been resisting the activation of credit cards that I have and don't need because ... um ... yeah. (Obviously this is dumb. I know that. Well, okay, I've recently admitted it.)
Anyway, I read on the Consumerist that you might not want to let old credit cards just sit around idly, in case a well-meaning bank decides you don't need them any more. (Again, obviously you would want to buy something small and pay the balance all at once.) Now, this is only a problem if you carry a balance on your other cards, and only then if the card they close represents a significant percentage of your available credit. If you have $100K in credit (I don't, no, it's an example, quiet down), but you're carrying a total balance of $40K, and your bank closes a $30K card, not only are they cutting off their face to spite their face, but you're suddenly moving from using 40% of your available credit to 57% of your available credit, not so good. (No, I would not be anywhere near that figure. Stop already.)
So I went to activate my Crappybank AT&Monopoly card. Call now, it says. Activate online, I says. So I hop online, enter my two-year-old password (yes I know I should change it more often, and if you don't stop interrupting I will turn this car around right now and go home), and here we go ... let's see ... enter the security code from the back of the old card.
Um, yeah. I, um, kind of shredded it, because, see ... yeah.
So I have to call, and surprise, you have to know it on the phone as well. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. In fact, it's a good security measure. I just made a mistake, that's all.) So I have to speak to a CSR. She's somewhat helpful, although she pretends that she doesn't know what I'm trying to do, and she's equally mysterious about the "password." (At other banks, this is known as the "security question", and they give you the hint so you know what the hell question you're answering. There was no way to get the hint online, and I had to threaten to answer every one of their questions until I got the right one in order for her to tell me which question it was.)
So she tried a fast-talking wanttosignupforthisgreatprotectionprogramnookayhowabout10000worthofcoverage, and I politely said no thank you. She tried some other credit thing, maybe another line of credit (um, as you can see, I don't use yours, no thanks), and after no to that, that was it.
It wasn't quite as bad as before, but it's not USAA. Still, they're making progress.
Now, to use the card once and then lock it away for two years ...