Last week I got a letter from Chase informing me that they were canceling my former Washington Mutual card. The result? A free credit report!

The Initial Shock of Having a Card Canceled
I’ve had several credit cards canceled due to inactivity over the last year or two. I didn’t find out about the gas card or several of the store cards until I tried to update my address when I moved, so that was a lost opportunity.

However, this time Chase sent me a letter to let me know I could shred its cards. It indicated that the cancelation was due to a late payment in my credit history and numerous recent credit applications. The latter was definitely true – mortgage shopping will do that. The former I knew was untrue.

However, then there was this little nugget: the cancelation was based on information in my Experian credit report.

That one sentence meant I was entitled to a free credit report!

Getting a Free Report for Denial of Credit
If you receive a letter that informs you a credit report is the reason for a denial of credit, or credit cancelation, it should tell you which one. I visited the Experian website, but didn’t see an option for the cancelation report – the home page is all about selling reports.

So, I called the 800 number in the letter. While I waited on hold, the recording named the specific URL where I could get my free report. I logged onto the site and downloaded my report. Sure enough, it was totally clean.

Chase’s true motive for canceling my card was revealed: non-use. I have no idea why they threw in a late payment accusation, but maybe the letter template requires two data points, and they only had one so they chose another randomly.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t used the card in 16 months, so the cancelation came as no surprise. It does surprise me that they kept the account open after buying Washington Mutual, and sent me new Chase-branded cards twice. Why waste the money on an inactive account?

I didn’t call and ask them to reinstate the card. The card’s primary benefit (1% foreign transaction rate) has been eliminated, and I already have other cards. This one sat in a drawer never being used. Instead, I took advantage of the opportunity to get an extra free credit report. I doubt the cancelation will even have an effect on my credit score, so why not see this as a positive?

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