more than one credit card?

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more than one credit card?

Postby eelwood » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:15 pm

I saw a post asking about the number of credit cards people have - people seemed to have a number and used them for various situations (flier miles, cash back, etc).

What are people's thoughts on multiple credit cards? Any drawbacks? Any effect on credit?

I have had a MasterCard thru USAA for 10 years or so - always pay off the balance, never paid a dime of interest (don't spend money I don't have). Is it worth getting others for other situations? If so, suggestions?

If it makes a difference in suggestions: We don't travel much, and when we do we drive to see family. We're both 31y recently done with residency/fellowship medical training both in new jobs; with a 6 month old son.

thanks
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby SDBoggled » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:22 pm

We put as much as we can on credit cards for cashback (don't pay interest): new roofs, some colleges don't have a credit card penalty. One reason to have more than credit card, is that periodically ours stop working due to fraud protection by Visa - almost always false positives.

With the same total balance, two credit cards with higher total limit could be better than one as you would have a lower percentage of limit. High balances are a negative for credit.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby ObliviousInvestor » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:23 pm

We have a second card just to serve as a back-up for those times when you have no cash but the magnetic strip on your primary card isn't working or the financial institution has decided incorrectly that the transaction you're trying to make is fraudulent and won't let it go through.*

*This happens entirely too often with our SallieMae card -- once every 3-4 months. And it's always on something completely bizarre (e.g., a very normal-size purchase at our local grocery store, where we shop 3-4 times every week).
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby technovelist » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:26 pm

I've run up hundreds of thousands of points/miles over the years, enough to stay in some pretty nice hotels and get free trips across the country (and other places one of these days).

These cards have annual fees, but they are worth it if you:
1. Spend enough on things you would buy anyway
2. Pay off the balance every month

Not that I should have to mention those rules on this board, but you never know...
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they often differ.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby BL » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:31 pm

It is good to have a back-up, especially when traveling. Suggest you each have a separate card with the other as authorized user. This helps you both build a credit record and have a decent credit report. (Check AnnualCreditReport.com for free report from all three places. This is the only government authorized place and each company is required to give you one free report each year. This does not include score.

We get at least 1% automatic cash back on a USAA card and 1.5% on Pen Fed Defender with no annual fee.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby grabiner » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:17 pm

eelwood wrote:If it makes a difference in suggestions: We don't travel much, and when we do we drive to see family. We're both 31y recently done with residency/fellowship medical training both in new jobs; with a 6 month old son.


You'll probably need to have more than one established credit line in order to have good enough credit for a mortgage. This can be three credit cards, or a combination of credit cards and other loans such as student loans and auto loans. (But there is no point in taking out a loan just to build credit, as that costs you; adding an extra card which you pay off every month is free.)

ObliviousInvestor wrote:We have a second card just to serve as a back-up for those times when you have no cash but the magnetic strip on your primary card isn't working or the financial institution has decided incorrectly that the transaction you're trying to make is fraudulent and won't let it go through.*

*This happens entirely too often with our SallieMae card -- once every 3-4 months. And it's always on something completely bizarre (e.g., a very normal-size purchase at our local grocery store, where we shop 3-4 times every week).


It can often be the result of a previous transaction. I made an online charitable donation at midnight, and the web site through which I made the donation was hosted in Spain. My card issuer thought this was suspicious but didn't want to call me at midnight, so they just froze the card until I contacted them. I only found out the problem the next day, when my credit card was declined at a Macy's where I had regularly used it.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby ddunca1944 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:54 pm

We use two cards for most of our spending: a Costco Amex and a Chase Freedom. For travel we use a Capital One Venture card. These meet our needs and I don't want any more to keep track of. I'm trying to keep things simple.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby blurryvision » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:53 am

I currently have around 10 active credit cards.

It seems kind of crazy but I know people with much more than this amount of credit cards. Having this many credit cards really helps to optimize the cash back.

Here is an example of some of the cash back / points I earn:

5% back on cell phone bill
5% back on internet bill
5% back on office supply stores
5% back on shipping packages
6% back on groceries
5% back on gas
5% back on restaurants
5% back at Amazon.com
5% off at Target
3% back at department stores

And these are permanent cashback / points categories, not "rotating" categories. While we aren't getting rich off of cashback and points, this has paid for several vacations over the last few years in terms of free flights and free hotel stays. It's nice to have several credit cards to optimize the return we get on our normal spending. Oh and my credit score is currently around 765, at one point a year ago it was over 800.

I'll second what a previous poster mentioned: always pay off your credit card balance completely. The cashback / points you can earn won't offset any finance charges you get from not paying off your entire credit card statement balance.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby frugaltype » Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:41 am

blurryvision wrote:I currently have around 10 active credit cards.

It seems kind of crazy but I know people with much more than this amount of credit cards. Having this many credit cards really helps to optimize the cash back.

Here is an example of some of the cash back / points I earn:

5% back on cell phone bill
5% back on internet bill
5% back on office supply stores
5% back on shipping packages
6% back on groceries
5% back on gas
5% back on restaurants
5% back at Amazon.com
5% off at Target
3% back at department stores

And these are permanent cashback / points categories, not "rotating" categories. While we aren't getting rich off of cashback and points, this has paid for several vacations over the last few years in terms of free flights and free hotel stays. It's nice to have several credit cards to optimize the return we get on our normal spending. Oh and my credit score is currently around 765, at one point a year ago it was over 800.

I'll second what a previous poster mentioned: always pay off your credit card balance completely. The cashback / points you can earn won't offset any finance charges you get from not paying off your entire credit card statement balance.


What cards are these?

I have two cards, one cash back, one backup. At least once a year a card becomes inoperable due to someone getting the number.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby soaring » Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:45 am

We have two cards and the reasons are:
One (8 yrs) is for most purchases for the cash back (AMEX thru Costco).
One (21 yrs) is for online purchases (MC with citi). Online I get "one time" use card numbers. Stolen card numbers thru hacking is no issue at all because the number is only good once. Years ago used only this card until AMEX.

No fees for either. Both automatically pd in full monthly.
Never had an issue with either card.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby TheOscarGuy » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:16 am

eelwood wrote:I saw a post asking about the number of credit cards people have - people seemed to have a number and used them for various situations (flier miles, cash back, etc).

What are people's thoughts on multiple credit cards? Any drawbacks? Any effect on credit?

I have had a MasterCard thru USAA for 10 years or so - always pay off the balance, never paid a dime of interest (don't spend money I don't have). Is it worth getting others for other situations? If so, suggestions?

If it makes a difference in suggestions: We don't travel much, and when we do we drive to see family. We're both 31y recently done with residency/fellowship medical training both in new jobs; with a 6 month old son.

thanks


I would definitely recommend more than one. I personally do not chase the occasional revolving categories for various credit cards, and just stick with what is best for each "type" of expense:
"blue cash preferred" for groceries (we spend 600 per month, we invariably reach the limit of 6K amex places -- giving us full 6% of 6K == $360 per year in rewards)
penfed for gas (5% on gas, I typically get $240 per year)
fidelity visa for everything else (can't remember how much we get, but its 2% onf whatver we spend).

This also means for me, tracking expenses better. Since I know expenses on a particular card *only* belong to a particular category.

Short term you will see a hit on the credit report. You can reduce that by applying some cards with your SSN, and others with your spouse. Unless you are getting a mortgage this year, or other large loans, I would get multiple cards.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby Bill M » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:35 am

One card for everything online.
Another card for everything else.

While the "single-use" account numbers are nice for one-time online purchases, the regular charges (like monthly charges for phone, cable, internet service, etc) need the real account number. The list of these places, with URLs, is 12 items long. The card for online purchases is stolen about once every two years and replaced.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby soaring » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:49 am

Bill M wrote:One card for everything online.
Another card for everything else.

While the "single-use" account numbers are nice for one-time online purchases, the regular charges (like monthly charges for phone, cable, internet service, etc) need the real account number. The list of these places, with URLs, is 12 items long. The card for online purchases is stolen about once every two years and replaced.


Yes correct.
The "regular monthly bills (charges)" are automatically set up for those vendors to "pull" their 100% monthly pmt. Single use credit card numbers are for ordering things on-line not really for paying "monthly bills".
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby sesq » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:59 am

frugaltype wrote:
blurryvision wrote:I currently have around 10 active credit cards.

It seems kind of crazy but I know people with much more than this amount of credit cards. Having this many credit cards really helps to optimize the cash back.

Here is an example of some of the cash back / points I earn:

5% back on cell phone bill
5% back on internet bill
5% back on office supply stores
5% back on shipping packages
6% back on groceries
5% back on gas
5% back on restaurants
5% back at Amazon.com
5% off at Target
3% back at department stores

And these are permanent cashback / points categories, not "rotating" categories. While we aren't getting rich off of cashback and points, this has paid for several vacations over the last few years in terms of free flights and free hotel stays. It's nice to have several credit cards to optimize the return we get on our normal spending. Oh and my credit score is currently around 765, at one point a year ago it was over 800.

I'll second what a previous poster mentioned: always pay off your credit card balance completely. The cashback / points you can earn won't offset any finance charges you get from not paying off your entire credit card statement balance.


What cards are these?

I have two cards, one cash back, one backup. At least once a year a card becomes inoperable due to someone getting the number.


Not the poster, but I can recognize the cards:
Ink (Bold/Plus/Cash) for the first 4 category bonus (also has 2x points or 2% on hotels/gas).
Amex BC Pref - Groceries and Department stores (also has 3% on gas)
Pen Fed most likely for the gas (I don't drive much, so I don't have this one and use BCP for gas)
Citi Forward for 5% on restaurants and bookstores including amazon (although I'd rather get 5x UR points buying amazon gift cards at staples).
The 5% at Target is the store card.

I have all of these cards except Pen Fed and Target. Plus about 15 more cards. I have about 1.5M points and miles, 300K of it in stuff that I can redeem for $3K cash immediately if I wanted to. I have been applying for cards for bonuses for 18 months. My wallet is Amex BCP, Citi Forward, Ink and whatever I am meeting min spend on (actually Ink at the moment).
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby MnD » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:22 am

We charge absolutely everything possible including one college that doesn't surcharge

Have a 3-card system of cards we carry and use.
Card 1: 5% back on restaurants and cell phone. (no fee)
Card 2: 4% back on gasoline (no fee)
Card 3: 2% back on everything ($59 fee)
Since cell is on autopay the only thinking we have to do is to use the special cards for restaurants and gasoline.

Sign-up bonuses......
This completely separate from above....
Once per year we each apply for two cards each that have the highest sign-up bonuses for an objective we have. Our goal for each of the last two years was to focus on miles or points that could transfer 1:1 to miles to accrue at least 160,000 miles which is what we need for 2 free round trip first class tickets to Hawaii.
Her 2013 two card card sign-ups yielded 85K miles and my two card sign ups nabbed 80K. We also accrue miles from actual paid travel and a few other means so we each have over 120K miles in the bank and will still have around 40K each left over after we book our next Hawaii trip which we will do shortly. Then we'll set a 2014 plan - business class to Europe perhaps. The sign-up cards are typically cancelled before the one year anniversary to avoid the annual fee.

We try to keep it simple. Three cards for spending with most of that spending on one card. Two sign-up bonuses each.
Some people have 10 cards or more they use for spending and/or accrue a million miles or more annually from numerous sign-up bonuses and other tie-ins.
That can get pretty complicated - you could even make a full-time job out of it as some bloggers have done.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby eelwood » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:14 am

Good replies. Thanks.

Follow up question(s). Someone mentioned that having multiple cards may be needed to build up a credit history which may be important for getting a mortgage. Somehow student loans can play into this.

What are the key factors that come into play in someone's credit history? We always pay our bills; I guess other factors come into play. One person mentioned the govt approved site where I can look mine up, so I guess that is worthwhile.

Thoughts on our situation: Like I mentioned, we both use the same credit card (same number, we each have a card). I'll look into the cards for various situations that were mentioned. We have leased an apartment, but may want to buy a home in a year or 2. (no sooner than 1 year). We have about 210k in student loans (paid down about 90k during residency/fellowship). Our combined income before taxes will be somewhere around 425k but will go up a little later. Again, we use one credit card, always pay down the balance. Current large goal is paying down loans (most at 6.8). I guess in short, what should we be doing to improve out chances of getting a home mortgage in a year? Things to do to have a good credit history beyond what we are already doing.

Thanks again.
e
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby Taylor Larimore » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:33 am

eelwood:

I have one credit card.

"Our life is frittered away by detail... Simplify, simplify!" -- Henry David Thoreau

Best wishes.
Taylor
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby pochax » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:49 am

Everyone has their "capacity" to manage a certain number of credit cards before it becomes too burdensome and not worth the reward. Those who have figured out efficient ways to manage multiple accounts online (such as Mint.com, YNAB, Yodlee, etc.) can see all their credit card balances at once in (practically) real-time. But others still use snail mail statements and i don't advise taking too many CCs to manage. personally i am good with 3 CCs (2 Amex and 1 Visa) to get the rewards. Oh and a Target Redcard for 5% off Target purchases ;). You have to gauge how much time you are willing to spend and how you will handle keeping all payments/cards up to date.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby TheOscarGuy » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:09 am

MnD wrote:Card 1: 5% back on restaurants and cell phone. (no fee)


May I ask which is it? :happy
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby TheOscarGuy » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:16 am

eelwood wrote:We have leased an apartment, but may want to buy a home in a year or 2. (no sooner than 1 year).
e


I would definitely stay away from applying too many cards, in that case. Maybe 1-2 between you and your spouse nothing more.
I do not have any basis for such a conservative attitude, except that I would hate to have any problems come up (with regard to # of open credit applications) mortgage application time when that happens.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby BL » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:29 am

It is probably worthwhile to also request (and pay for) each of the FICA credit scores which are also available when you get the free credit reports through annualcreditreport.com. It is a modest cost and could help you plan for future mortgage.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby dbr » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:33 am

I would never travel, especially outside the US, with less than three credit cards carried separately. That would not include one credit card that never travels and is used for standing payments of various bills. There is also currently a fluid situation regarding cards with genuine chip and pin capability for Europe.

One should always be aware of opportunities for bonus's and benefits that might be available although this can get a little hyped and is definitely a sales tool to get people to take one card or another.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby blurryvision » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:13 am

sesq wrote:
frugaltype wrote:
blurryvision wrote:I currently have around 10 active credit cards.

It seems kind of crazy but I know people with much more than this amount of credit cards. Having this many credit cards really helps to optimize the cash back.

Here is an example of some of the cash back / points I earn:

5% back on cell phone bill
5% back on internet bill
5% back on office supply stores
5% back on shipping packages
6% back on groceries
5% back on gas
5% back on restaurants
5% back at Amazon.com
5% off at Target
3% back at department stores

And these are permanent cashback / points categories, not "rotating" categories. While we aren't getting rich off of cashback and points, this has paid for several vacations over the last few years in terms of free flights and free hotel stays. It's nice to have several credit cards to optimize the return we get on our normal spending. Oh and my credit score is currently around 765, at one point a year ago it was over 800.

I'll second what a previous poster mentioned: always pay off your credit card balance completely. The cashback / points you can earn won't offset any finance charges you get from not paying off your entire credit card statement balance.


What cards are these?

I have two cards, one cash back, one backup. At least once a year a card becomes inoperable due to someone getting the number.


Not the poster, but I can recognize the cards:
Ink (Bold/Plus/Cash) for the first 4 category bonus (also has 2x points or 2% on hotels/gas).
Amex BC Pref - Groceries and Department stores (also has 3% on gas)
Pen Fed most likely for the gas (I don't drive much, so I don't have this one and use BCP for gas)
Citi Forward for 5% on restaurants and bookstores including amazon (although I'd rather get 5x UR points buying amazon gift cards at staples).
The 5% at Target is the store card.

I have all of these cards except Pen Fed and Target. Plus about 15 more cards. I have about 1.5M points and miles, 300K of it in stuff that I can redeem for $3K cash immediately if I wanted to. I have been applying for cards for bonuses for 18 months. My wallet is Amex BCP, Citi Forward, Ink and whatever I am meeting min spend on (actually Ink at the moment).


This pretty much nails it. My wallet almost looks the same as yours: AMEX BCP, Citi Forward, Ink Bold, Ink Cash. My wife holds the rest of our credit cards. We will occasionally chase credit card bonuses, for instance we recently both applied for the Chase Ink Bold cards for the temporary 60,000 bonus point offer.

For those interested in discussion on maximizing credit card points / cash back, www.flyertalk.com is a good place to look for that sort of discussion.

Just wanted to add some extra thoughts:
- In my experience, AMEX cards tend to offer better warranty protection than Visa or Mastercard.
- Contrary to what many think, having several cards is not necessarily bad for your credit, and in many cases, can actually help improve your credit. Having a large amount of credit available is not harmful for your credit score, misusing that credit or not paying off the balance can be.
- For those traveling international often, it is helpful to have a card that doesn't charge any foreign transaction fees.
- Extra credit cards can be useful if someone hacks your main credit card number and the account is temporary closed and unusable due to fraud.
- Some airline credit cards offer priority boarding, free checked bags, and other benefits. One example: once you accumulate enough points with the help of Chase Southwest cards, you can get a "companion passes" - which means if you book a flight (even with points), one chosen guest / friend / spouse / etc can fly with you for free for an entire year.
- While earning airline miles and hotel points may not sound as appealing as straight cash back, the redemptions are often much more valuable, and exciting. For instance, I'd rather chose one free round trip flight from California to Hong Kong for 65,000 points, than get $650 cash. Many people find getting cash back kind of boring.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby MnD » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:31 am

eelwood wrote:I have had a MasterCard thru USAA for 10 years or so - always pay off the balance, never paid a dime of interest (don't spend money I don't have). Is it worth getting others for other situations? If so, suggestions?

If it makes a difference in suggestions: We don't travel much, and when we do we drive to see family. We're both 31y recently done with residency/fellowship medical training both in new jobs; with a 6 month old son.

thanks


The Mastercard USAA (at least the current offer) is a pretty lousy cash back deal. 0.45% cash back for the first several thousand in spending and then it inches up, but you are still stuck with the lower cash back for the first tiers of spending. They also have a "points" card but that's also mediocre with less than 1% back also.

As a two MD household, your future spend is probably going to be enormous relative to average.
So for starters I'd get a 2% back on everything card like the Fidelity Amex and use that for everything except places that don't accept AMEX.
That also gives you card diversity since you now have an AMEX which uses very different processing systems than Visa/MC.

No hurry but I'd then replace the USAA card with a top ranking "category" Visa or Mastercard that offers better than 2% on certain fixed categories like restaurant, gas, grocery and 1% on everything else. Then use the category card just for purchases that have the category bonus and the 2% back card for everything else.

Don't cancel the USAA card for a couple years at least but just throw it in a drawer.
Maybe set up a monthly charge to autopay onto it to, with the card itself being paid by autopay in full from checking to keep it alive.
A completely unused card is at risk of being cancelled by the issuer or having the credit limit sharply reduced.

Beyond that, you can make it as complicated as you want.

But a 2-card system, with a 2% back on everything card at the core and a 3%-4%-5%-6% cash back on fixed category card to cherry pick your major spending areas will get you:
1) A backup card if your other card is hacked, lost or stolen and b) will give you a high percentage of the potential cash back savings with a minimum of hassle.
Last edited by MnD on Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby Ged » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:58 am

For many years I just had one credit card. However about two years ago Citibank was hacked and I started getting women's shoes and NASCAR highlight videos delivered due to someone in CA placing orders on my account. So I had to get the card replaced. For about 10 days I didn't have a credit card. Since I don't keep a lot of cash around this was a bit of a concern.

So I got a second card.

Then my Citi card was hacked AGAIN. Not only this but Citi did not honor their fraudulent charge obligations and tried to collect some of these charges from me from the first security breach. Since my job is of a sensitive nature I cannot afford negative comments in my credit history and I paid the charges. Eventually I got the money back by complaining to a state attorney general. However this really soured me on Citi, and I now plan to cancel this card in the not too distant future.

So in preparation for this I recently obtained a third card, a Costco AMEX.

CitiBank delenda est.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby winglessangel31 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:19 pm

TheOscarGuy wrote:
MnD wrote:Card 1: 5% back on restaurants and cell phone. (no fee)


May I ask which is it? :happy

I'm guessing USBank Cash+ Signature? :)
https://www.usbank.com/credit-cards/cas ... ature.html
https://cashplus.usbank.com/index.cfm/m ... /demo/true
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby jay22 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:52 pm

blurryvision wrote:I currently have around 10 active credit cards.

It seems kind of crazy but I know people with much more than this amount of credit cards. Having this many credit cards really helps to optimize the cash back.

Here is an example of some of the cash back / points I earn:

5% back on cell phone bill
5% back on internet bill
5% back on office supply stores
5% back on shipping packages
6% back on groceries
5% back on gas
5% back on restaurants
5% back at Amazon.com
5% off at Target
3% back at department stores

And these are permanent cashback / points categories, not "rotating" categories. While we aren't getting rich off of cashback and points, this has paid for several vacations over the last few years in terms of free flights and free hotel stays. It's nice to have several credit cards to optimize the return we get on our normal spending. Oh and my credit score is currently around 765, at one point a year ago it was over 800.

I'll second what a previous poster mentioned: always pay off your credit card balance completely. The cashback / points you can earn won't offset any finance charges you get from not paying off your entire credit card statement balance.

Which card gives you 5% on cell phone and internet bills?

Edit: Found out it's the Chase INK card. Isn't it offered only to businesses?
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby scrabbler1 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:56 pm

In the 1990s I actually had more than 1 credit card with one serving as a backup. Back then I used credit cards more often than I do these days (although that is starting to change). However, when Citibank took over the AT&T Universal Card in the late 1990s, and soon after that they opened a branch down the street from where I live, I began using only that card and paying the bill in person after a short and refreshing walk to the bank. The other card issuers took a long while to cancel their cards due to nonuse (around 2009).

But last month I opened a cash-back card through my local bank I have a checking account with, so now I am using that card a few times a month. I will keep the Citibank card and make sure to use it once or twice a year so it stays open.

Even with those two cards, I still regard my debit card as a(nother) backup card.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby gkaplan » Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:03 pm

I guess I'm strange, but I don't see the point of chasing all these credit cards.

Part of it is that, because I am maxing out my TSP, my take-home pay is $500 bi-weekly, so I essentially can spend only on the bare necessities. I am retiring at the end of this leave year. I expect my spending for non-essentials will pick up somewhat in retirement; however, I don't think I'll drift that far from my current frugal lifestyle.

I guess my bigger problem, though, is it seems that all these credit card offers seem to have a lot of "ifs, ands, and buts" in order to qualify for rewards. (I also don't fly, so that eliminates one large source of credit card rewards.) Furthermore, it seems that we have multiple posts each week on the new great credit card reward offer. I don't see the point of applying for various credit cards several times a year, especially since it seems, from what I gather from some of the posts on this forum, that many credit card companies rescind or amend their credit card reward policy.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby TheOscarGuy » Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:04 pm

winglessangel31 wrote:
TheOscarGuy wrote:
MnD wrote:Card 1: 5% back on restaurants and cell phone. (no fee)


May I ask which is it? :happy

I'm guessing USBank Cash+ Signature? :)
https://www.usbank.com/credit-cards/cas ... ature.html
https://cashplus.usbank.com/index.cfm/m ... /demo/true


Thanks :D

That is a sweet card. Right now I am getting 2% for all of these expenses, so it will be a nice change I will get with the new card.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby TheOscarGuy » Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:08 pm

gkaplan wrote:I guess I'm strange, but I don't see the point of chasing all these credit cards.

Part of it is that, because I am maxing out my TSP, my take-home pay is $500 bi-weekly, so I essentially can spend only on the bare necessities. I am retiring at the end of this leave year. I expect my spending for non-essentials will pick up somewhat in retirement; however, I don't think I'll drift that far from my current frugal lifestyle.

I guess my bigger problem, though, is it seems that all these credit card offers seem to have a lot of "ifs, ands, and buts" in order to qualify for rewards. (I also don't fly, so that eliminates one large source of credit card rewards.) Furthermore, it seems that we have multiple posts each week on the new great credit card reward offer. I don't see the point of applying for various credit cards several times a year, especially since it seems, from what I gather from some of the posts on this forum, that many credit card companies rescind or amend their credit card reward policy.


The way you can see it:
a 2% FIA amex is like 3-fund portfolio. You always are going to get 2% of whatever you spend. No ifs and buts. If all your monthly expenses (say 1000) are on this card, you will get 240 per year, just to do what you are currently doing (spend 1K but in cash, or whatever).
all these other "category" cards are additional icing, like say adding a REIT component to your portfolio :D
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby Sidney » Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:42 pm

Wife and I have three; we each carry two, one common. That way, when we travel, if a wallet is stolen/lost we can cancel two cards and still have one active. We have the phone numbers for the three cards in our travel cell phone contact list.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby rotorhead » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:18 pm

eelwood, one thing that you didn't specify; nor has anyone else mentioned in the thread is the importance of having credit cards in each of your names. It's very important that your wife have her own credit history as well; if you are not already doing this.

Over the years my wife and I have had a number of cards, but decided some time ago that it just wasn't necessary to have more than two. So we kept the American Express, which is in my name; with my wife as second card holder. We use this card for every purchase that will accept it. Our other card is a Master Card in my wife's name, with me as second card holder. Whenever the Am Ex can't be used we default to the MC. Works very well, and keeps her reported credit standing in good stead. This will be important after I'm in the grave.

Needless to say we never carry a balance.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby frugaltype » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:39 pm

gkaplan wrote:I guess I'm strange, but I don't see the point of chasing all these credit cards.

Part of it is that, because I am maxing out my TSP, my take-home pay is $500 bi-weekly, so I essentially can spend only on the bare necessities. I am retiring at the end of this leave year. I expect my spending for non-essentials will pick up somewhat in retirement; however, I don't think I'll drift that far from my current frugal lifestyle.

I guess my bigger problem, though, is it seems that all these credit card offers seem to have a lot of "ifs, ands, and buts" in order to qualify for rewards. (I also don't fly, so that eliminates one large source of credit card rewards.) Furthermore, it seems that we have multiple posts each week on the new great credit card reward offer. I don't see the point of applying for various credit cards several times a year, especially since it seems, from what I gather from some of the posts on this forum, that many credit card companies rescind or amend their credit card reward policy.


+1 I took another look a day or so ago because of this thread, and life is just too short. I'm staying with my 1% on everything, no fee main card.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby winglessangel31 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:45 am

frugaltype wrote:
gkaplan wrote:I guess I'm strange, but I don't see the point of chasing all these credit cards.

Part of it is that, because I am maxing out my TSP, my take-home pay is $500 bi-weekly, so I essentially can spend only on the bare necessities. I am retiring at the end of this leave year. I expect my spending for non-essentials will pick up somewhat in retirement; however, I don't think I'll drift that far from my current frugal lifestyle.

I guess my bigger problem, though, is it seems that all these credit card offers seem to have a lot of "ifs, ands, and buts" in order to qualify for rewards. (I also don't fly, so that eliminates one large source of credit card rewards.) Furthermore, it seems that we have multiple posts each week on the new great credit card reward offer. I don't see the point of applying for various credit cards several times a year, especially since it seems, from what I gather from some of the posts on this forum, that many credit card companies rescind or amend their credit card reward policy.


+1 I took another look a day or so ago because of this thread, and life is just too short. I'm staying with my 1% on everything, no fee main card.


I actually haven't had any such "ifs, ands, and buts" card. Using the rewards potential well is just one of life's little games that I like to be good at. Keeps life interesting, and the occasional "ooh, I actually get to treat myself to something because of all the cashback I've gotten" is pretty sweet. :) :sharebeer Of course, I'm saying this right now and have the mental capacity to juggle all my cards.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby Sunny Sarkar » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:47 am

Taylor Larimore wrote:eelwood:

I have one credit card.

"Our life is frittered away by detail... Simplify, simplify!" -- Henry David Thoreau

Best wishes.
Taylor

The Fidelity Investment Rewards 2% AmEx card is the index fund of rewards credit cards.

I used to have several credit cards trying to squeeze every ounce possible from the cash back lemon. I had to constantly remember when to pull out which one. On top of that I had to remember all the various redemption limits, keep track of the various point accumulations, and go redeem them when limits were met. Some came as checks, some as gift cards, some statement credits, some bank transfer --- lots of details to juggle with. Then I looked at the numbers closely and found that after all this "active management" my net cash back was seldom over 2% and often less than 2%.

Today I charge everything to the Fido 2% Amex, which autopays itself on the payment due date, and automatically redeems the 2% rewards to a Fidelity account.

Best wishes,
Sunny

p.s. Although I use the Fido Amex exclusively, I do keep 2 other credit card accounts open - one is a Citibank Visa that is my oldest credit account which I keep open for credit history/score - it also serves as a just in case backup credit card, and another is a Walmart Discover that gives my real TransUnion FICO score every month for free. But none of them are in my wallet.
"Cost matters". "Stay the course". "Press on, regardless". ― John C. Bogle
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby Kircheis » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:38 am

I rotate among 4 credit cards:

Amazon Visa - 3% cashback on Amazon purchases

B of A Platinum Privileges Visa - 3% on gas, 2% on groceries, with 50% bonus if cashback is deposited into a B of A account (so it's really 4.5% for gas, 3% for groceries)

Chase United Airlines Mastercard - 2X miles for hotels, flights, no foreign exchange fee. There is an annual fee, but I use my miles to pay the fee.

Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cashback, any other purchases not covered by the cards above.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby abrash » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:17 am

I have multiple credit cards, but tend to only use one or two at a time. I open credit cards for their sign-up bonuses, which can net $500+ per card.

I occasionally close credit cards to avoid an annual fee, or to give myself the option to sign-up for them again. So far I haven't noticed a negative hit to my credit score after doing this for several years.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby FedGuy » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:32 am

Sunny Sarkar wrote:The Fidelity Investment Rewards 2% AmEx card is the index fund of rewards credit cards.


Maybe, but after being burned on the Schwab 2% cash back card, which helped lock me in to Schwab and was then discontinued, I'm reluctant to commit to another brokerage the same way. My 401(k) is at Fidelity, as is an old 401(k) and a Roth IRA, but it's hard to spend several years on this board and not come way with the feeling that Fidelity isn't quite as good as Vanguard, and I have a long-term plan of moving my accounts from Fidelity to Vanguard. I'd hate to feel that I'm stuck because of their credit card.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby Caduceus » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:50 am

I think the answer will depend on the specifics of your life and spending habits, as well as how much you value simplicity, as Taylor very wisely pointed out. It's a good idea to have at least two cards for practical reasons (e.g. traveling overseas and one card getting declined). There may be other specific reasons to have more (I think it was Grabiner who noted that having three cards in certain states reduces your insurance premiums because of the way they calculate the credit score).

In my case, I calculated the marginal value of all of those points if I "played" the points game. Since I use the Fido Amex 2% flat cash-back card, the extra points would have been things like an extra 3% on airfare, extra 1% on groceries, etc. And it wasn't worth it for me with my spending habits. I very much prefer simplicity. So now, like Sunny Sarkar, I charge everything to just the Fido Amex, and I keep one Visa card in case Amex isn't accepted and just as a back-up. If you have some big expenses that may warrant it, it might be worth it. Say you fly often, so the extra 3% works out to a good chunk of cash. Or you buy a lot of expensive groceries for a big family and then a cash-back card with specific returns on groceries would work.

I am tempted to sign up to get the big bonuses, like Chase Sapphire's $400 sign-up bonus, or the (I think) $200 bonus for Penfed's Travel Amex (plus $50 in Amazon coupons if you "purchase" the Penfed credit card through Amazon - I was a bit surprised to find Amazon sells credit cards!). So far, I have resisted.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby MnD » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:18 pm

FedGuy wrote:Maybe, but after being burned on the Schwab 2% cash back card, which helped lock me in to Schwab and was then discontinued, I'm reluctant to commit to another brokerage the same way. My 401(k) is at Fidelity, as is an old 401(k) and a Roth IRA, but it's hard to spend several years on this board and not come way with the feeling that Fidelity isn't quite as good as Vanguard, and I have a long-term plan of moving my accounts from Fidelity to Vanguard. I'd hate to feel that I'm stuck because of their credit card.


If you have concerns about the Fido Amex, the Cap1 Venture is a good "2% on everything" alternative.

It sounds complicated but in reality getting your 2% is very easy as long as you do a little bit of travel.
Points accrue at 2 points per dollar and are used for statement credits in the amount of the past travel charges.
It's great to come back from a trip, pull up your recent past travel charges and "erase" them up to the limit of your points.
I do it about every three months - points never expire and you can use them as often or infrequently as you would like.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby technovelist » Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:00 pm

If you do any significant amount of traveling, the Starwood Amex card is great. The points can be worth quite a bit for hotel stays at Starwood properties (Sheraton, Westin, W, Aloft, Four Points and a couple of others I don't recall). You can also transfer them to any of a number of airline programs with a 25% bonus on 20,000 points (= 25,000 miles).

If you fly a lot on American Airlines, the Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® is good, as besides the 1 point/$ on all spending and $2/mile on AA spending, it gives you back 10% of the AAdvantage miles you redeem in a given year (up to 10K miles back). It also allows reduced mileage rewards to some places every quarter and Group 1 boarding privileges and a free checked bag if you don't get those already due to elite flyer status.

Both of these have annual fees, so they are only worthwhile if you use them enough to pay for the fee. However, they often have sign-up bonuses and a first-year fee waiver.
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they often differ.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby chaz » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:23 pm

I use 3 chase cards, 2 freedom and 1 sapphire.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby pc95 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:00 am

If you enjoy or need to travel, It's good to keep an eye-out for credit card offers with excellent airline miles bonuses. Current Example: Southwest has their 50,000 pt bonus right now:

https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/southwest/2ffep3

United had a 50,000 mile bonus in the past, and awhile back there was a 100,000 bonus with British Airway. I've also seen 60,000 from American.

Keep in mind that the bonuses now all have card minimum spending requirements to obtain them. Commonly in a 3 month period - for example above, the Southwest card bonus requires spending $2000 in 3 months (avg about $667/month). Also, involved is an annual fee.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby Rosencrantz » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:52 pm

TheOscarGuy wrote:I would definitely recommend more than one. I personally do not chase the occasional revolving categories for various credit cards, and just stick with what is best for each "type" of expense:
"blue cash preferred" for groceries (we spend 600 per month, we invariably reach the limit of 6K amex places -- giving us full 6% of 6K == $360 per year in rewards)
penfed for gas (5% on gas, I typically get $240 per year)
fidelity visa for everything else (can't remember how much we get, but its 2% onf whatver we spend).

This also means for me, tracking expenses better. Since I know expenses on a particular card *only* belong to a particular category.

Short term you will see a hit on the credit report. You can reduce that by applying some cards with your SSN, and others with your spouse. Unless you are getting a mortgage this year, or other large loans, I would get multiple cards.


The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express looks great with 6% back on groceries up to $6000 per year. However, that's groceries purchased at stand-alone grocery stores (i.e., stores whose primary product is food). In my small town the super Walmart has the best prices. Transactions there may be considered from a discount store, thereby ineligible for the 6% back.

Can anyone clarify this?
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby gkaplan » Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:00 pm

What constitutes groceries? Is that just food, or does it include such items as cleaning supplies, personal items, and so on?
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby gkaplan » Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:04 pm

That American Express card has a $75 annual fee.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby grabiner » Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:20 pm

gkaplan wrote:What constitutes groceries? Is that just food, or does it include such items as cleaning supplies, personal items, and so on?


The credit-card company uses a merchant categorization for most purposes; it doesn't know exactly what you bought because that information isn't sent to the issuing bank.

One exception is gas, because gas transactions are distinguished. I used a Shell card to pay for a tank full of Shell gas (paid at the pump) and auto repairs at the same station; the gas rebate was applied only to the gas. Even for gas, the banks use merchant codes; one local Shell station didn't come up as Shell gasoline on my card and I had to call the bank to request an adjustment.
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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby lospecv » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:08 pm

according to creditkarma i have 16 cc. I only really use a couple which are paid in full when bill comes due.

Over the years i have applied for cards which give big bonus points for applying and used points to cover vacation cost. I now have zero points but got to go on two trips with the family for close to nothing :wink:

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Re: more than one credit card?

Postby jay22 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:41 am

I wanted to get the Citi Forward card (5% on eating out and movies). Is that only available to current students? I was applying for it this morning and I see they ask for school information in the application. Can anyone clarify this? Thanks!
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