How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

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Lon
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How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Lon » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:52 pm

While at one time I had credit cards coming out of my ears I am at the point in my life where I only need one credit card with a fairly high limit. I have this particular card because there are no Foreign Transaction Fees. The card has cash back features for certain purchases, no annual or monthly fees and I pay the amount due every month so no interest charges. Now surely that's being a good Boglehead.

bcjb
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by bcjb » Sat Mar 07, 2015 5:08 pm

I have several credit cards but really only use one of them: the card with cash back and no foreign transaction fees. (It may be the same card the OP uses.) Once a year, I charge something small on the other cards, because I'd like to keep those accounts open.

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Toons
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Toons » Sat Mar 07, 2015 5:09 pm

1 Cashback card,the other 3 are in a drawer :happy
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nolesrule
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by nolesrule » Sat Mar 07, 2015 5:15 pm

We use 3. I think we have 2-3 more.

1 for general cashback
1 for groceries and gas
1 for Target (5% off at the register)

We only got the Target card because of how close the nearest Target is to our new house; we end up doing a lot of shopping there out of convenience. I never thought I'd be running to Target to get coffee creamer or milk.

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pennstater2005
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by pennstater2005 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 5:22 pm

Three that I use regularly. Many more that have split my wallet open :annoyed. I need to clean house.
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beasy44
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by beasy44 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 5:24 pm

So, do you just keep cards you don't use to help your credit utilization?

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pennstater2005
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by pennstater2005 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 5:31 pm

^
I keep them because I don't know what to do with them. I don't want to cancel them. So they just live in my over stuffed wallet. I think sitting on it is affecting my spine.
“If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.” – Earl Wilson

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Kosmo
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Kosmo » Sat Mar 07, 2015 6:02 pm

3. Costco American Express for most things. But my wife and I each have a visa for places that don't take AmEx. Have another AmEx and 2 visas sitting in the drawer.

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Kenkat
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Kenkat » Sat Mar 07, 2015 6:04 pm

Regularly use:

Discover
Capital One Quicksilver Visa
Citibank Hilton Honors Visa
Kohls

In drawer, used rarely:

Citibank Sears MasterCard
Chase BP Visa

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tylerdurden
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by tylerdurden » Sat Mar 07, 2015 6:07 pm

4 credit cards used frequently, out of 7 total:
- AMEX for groceries and gas higher rewards
- Amazon Visa for purchases on Amazon
- Discover for some bills and 5% cashback specials
- Southwest Visa for everything else
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Independent
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Independent » Sat Mar 07, 2015 6:12 pm

We have one.

I've thought about getting a second just so we have a backup if the first gets stolen when we are traveling.

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Crimsontide
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Crimsontide » Sat Mar 07, 2015 6:44 pm

One: Capital One Quicksilver.

mk1039
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by mk1039 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 6:58 pm

i recently switched to two new which i use now.
1 - Sallie mae (barclay card) - has 5% continuous cash back upto certain limit on gas/grocery
2 - citi double cashback with 2% continuous cash back (1% on buying + 1% when paying back)

therivler1
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by therivler1 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:00 pm

3

FIA 2%
gas/grocery bonus card
whatever sign up bonus i am working on.

cherijoh
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by cherijoh » Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:06 pm

Lon wrote:While at one time I had credit cards coming out of my ears I am at the point in my life where I only need one credit card with a fairly high limit. I have this particular card because there are no Foreign Transaction Fees. The card has cash back features for certain purchases, no annual or monthly fees and I pay the amount due every month so no interest charges. Now surely that's being a good Boglehead.
With the huge numbers of credit card breaches and the tendency of credit card companies to freeze your card if they suspect fraudulent activity, I wouldn't want to get down to having just one credit card. I have 1 with a large limit, one with a medium limit and 2 others with small limits. When I travel I always take 2 with me just in case.

fsrph
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by fsrph » Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:11 pm

Use Penfed cc for everything. Have second cc I use once a year keep it active.

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dodecahedron
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by dodecahedron » Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:21 pm

B of A Cash Rewards for groceries and gas (3.5% and 5.25% cash back on up to $1500 per calendar quarter in those categories, respectively, if I have the cash deposited in my B of A checking or saving; 1.75% on everthing else)

B of A Travel Rewards for pretty much everything else (2.625% in credits that can be applied against all travel expenses going up to 12 months back and carried forward indefinitely; also temporary 0% APR for first 15 months, allowing me to keep the funds invested elsewhere)

Citbank 2% cash back (similar zero percent initial offer)

Discover Card (rotating categories--was 5% on internet purchases Oct-Dec last year; current quarter is 5% off on gas and ground transportation. Next quarter will be 5% off restaurants and entertainment.) Also, it has a very nice picture on it (a reproduction of Seurat's Sunday afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

I also have a Capitol One with a nice photo (that I got upload myself) but the 1.5% cash back is not really competitive.

A few other cards that just stay home--not very good deals at all. I would not expecially miss them if they were cancelled.

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FreeAtLast
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by FreeAtLast » Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:20 pm

I only use the 3 (out of 9) that carry a 0% interest rate. The rest I maintain to keep down my utilization ratio.
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Sagenick48
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Sagenick48 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:24 pm

3, the USAA card I use regularly, the,Target card for 5m% off at aTarget and the Discover card just because I am too lazy to change the Netflix auto billings
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IPer
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by IPer » Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:26 pm

10 open card accounts, no balance
1 card used continuously for business related expenses, cash back 2% (you guessed it)
1 card used for other stuff, no foreign fees, Capital One

One of my cards got yanked from me recently for non usage. I had put them on a spreadsheet and scheduled to make sure there was at least one
transaction per 6 months but I forgot to check it. It changes the credit stats a bit because that was one of my oldest cards, oh well. I am not so
concerned as I have something like $56000.00 useable and never hold a balance, haven't paid interest on anything since I got rid of the car and before
that not a cent to credit card companies since around 2005, so I feel very good about that (many on this forum will say big deal they haven't paid any
for 20 years but I feel great!).
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Spirit Rider
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Spirit Rider » Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:33 pm

I use the following cards as appropriate:
  • One 2% on everything
  • One 6% on groceries
  • Two 5% on rotating categories (sometimes different)
  • One 0% on foreign transaction fees
  • One Airlines Miles
I also have some other cards that offer no specific benefit, but I see no point in closing them. They get used every 6-12 months to keep them active. They are also registered to the various airline's dining programs, so the intermittent usage serves double duty to ping the rewards programs to preserve the miles.

I carry a money clip with only space for 4 CR80 PVC cards. Those are one drivers license, one ATM card, and the two relevant credit cards as to current needs.

ralph124cf
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by ralph124cf » Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:43 pm

To those that have mentioned a no foreign fee credit card: Yes, there are some cards that have a 2% or 3% designated foreign transaction fee, but the cards that say they have no fee are not mentioning the foreign currency differential that you may be charged. I found out about that one day when I charged something in Singapore, realized that the charge was wrong, and immediately had the charge refunded/reversed. The "no fee" bank card that I was using at the time used two different interest rates for the charge and refund, costing me money.

The only card that I have found that will give you the "million dollar" exchange rate is the HSBC Premier account card. This gives a very favorable exchange rate as well as no fee. If you have a premier checking account, the foreign ATM rates are the same, with any fees for other banks refunded. The account comes with high minimum deposit requirements, but is worth it for some people who travel internationally a lot.

Ralph

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grabiner
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by grabiner » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:19 pm

Three cards, and I use all three.

United card for my main expenses because it has the best rewards.
Credit union card for recurring payments (so that I don't have to move them if I switch cards, or change everything if my United card gets compromised), and some online purchases because I expect to have an easier time handling disputes with the credit union.
JCPenney card whenever I shop at JCPenney, as I usually get discounts for using it.
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john94549
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by john94549 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:24 pm

One, count em, one. I actually use and have but one, count em, one, credit card. No annual fees, no gimmicks, pay it off each month.

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Rob5TCP
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Rob5TCP » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:41 pm

I use 3 cards regularly:
Capital One - 2% back on everything, but can only be used on travel
Barclay - 2% on groceries/utilities, 1% on everything else.

Semi regularly
Costco Amex

MathWizard
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by MathWizard » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:49 pm

3

I use them to keep them open.

One I've had for 25 yrs,

The other two are cashback cards

I've had one refused in the middle of a vacation
when fraud protection was erroneously triggered
so having a second cash back card was invaluable

Coles
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Coles » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:50 pm

ralph124cf wrote:To those that have mentioned a no foreign fee credit card: Yes, there are some cards that have a 2% or 3% designated foreign transaction fee, but the cards that say they have no fee are not mentioning the foreign currency differential that you may be charged. I found out about that one day when I charged something in Singapore, realized that the charge was wrong, and immediately had the charge refunded/reversed. The "no fee" bank card that I was using at the time used two different interest rates for the charge and refund, costing me money.

The only card that I have found that will give you the "million dollar" exchange rate is the HSBC Premier account card. This gives a very favorable exchange rate as well as no fee. If you have a premier checking account, the foreign ATM rates are the same, with any fees for other banks refunded. The account comes with high minimum deposit requirements, but is worth it for some people who travel internationally a lot.

Ralph
Both Visa and MasterCard publish their foreign exchange rates on a daily basis, so it is quite simple to verify if the "no FTF" credit card is padding the rate. Many credit cards have been validated as being legitimately "no FTF".

Regarding your Singapore experience, are you 100% sure both the charge and refund were made in SGD? In other words, is it possible you were burned by the merchant using Dynamic Currency Conversion?

Matt48Ritchie
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Matt48Ritchie » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:57 pm

Between my wife and I we have 14 open cards, and use 3 of them. And we usually have one that we're working on a sign up bonus for.

harikaried
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by harikaried » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:59 pm

If going by number of transactions in a year for "usage":
- Citi Forward (5x restaurants/movies/amazon): ~800 transactions
- Priceline (2% everything): ~500 transactions
- Sallie Mae (5% gas/groceries): ~150 transactions
- Fidelity AmEx (2% everything/costco): ~100 transactions
- Citi Premier (no foreign fees): ~50 transaction

(Edit: Side note, I've never looked up the number of transactions we make in a year, and an average of 4 transactions a day seems kinda high. :confused )

Going by dollars charged: Priceline > Forward >>> Sallie Mae > Fidelity > Premier
The Priceline 2% is roughly double the charges of all the other cards combined where the big items are various insurance (life, auto, home, umbrella).
Last edited by harikaried on Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Matt48Ritchie
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Matt48Ritchie » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:00 pm

Coles wrote:
ralph124cf wrote:To those that have mentioned a no foreign fee credit card: Yes, there are some cards that have a 2% or 3% designated foreign transaction fee, but the cards that say they have no fee are not mentioning the foreign currency differential that you may be charged. I found out about that one day when I charged something in Singapore, realized that the charge was wrong, and immediately had the charge refunded/reversed. The "no fee" bank card that I was using at the time used two different interest rates for the charge and refund, costing me money.

The only card that I have found that will give you the "million dollar" exchange rate is the HSBC Premier account card. This gives a very favorable exchange rate as well as no fee. If you have a premier checking account, the foreign ATM rates are the same, with any fees for other banks refunded. The account comes with high minimum deposit requirements, but is worth it for some people who travel internationally a lot.

Ralph
Both Visa and MasterCard publish their foreign exchange rates on a daily basis, so it is quite simple to verify if the "no FTF" credit card is padding the rate. Many credit cards have been validated as being legitimately "no FTF".

Regarding your Singapore experience, are you 100% sure both the charge and refund were made in SGD? In other words, is it possible you were burned by the merchant using Dynamic Currency Conversion?
That's most likely the case. If you're abroad and they ask if you want them to charge it in USD, always say no. Unless the country's currency is the USD.

atdog98
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by atdog98 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:19 pm

AMEX Platinum Cash Rebate for most purchases, not sure it is still available...has a tiered cash back with no cap...works out to close to 1.5%.

Target VISA for, obviously, Target...5%.

Capital One Spark VISA for business...unlimited 2% cash back...can redeem for cash or gift cards for major stores like Target and Amazon.

I gave up on miles and other rewards cards years ago when I had incredible difficulty booking a flight with miles. I know some things have changed now, but just give me cash...simple and I know I can use it.

Ron Ronnerson
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:47 pm

4 (to take advantage of cash back based on merchant categories).

Altephor
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Altephor » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:57 pm

3.

Citi Double Cash for general purchases
Barclay Sallie Mae for gas, grocery, and Amazon.com
Amex Blue Cash Everyday for any special deals that Amex is currently offering (used to be my gas/grocery that I replaced with Sallie Mae)

chessmannextmove
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by chessmannextmove » Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:05 am

Us bank (for cell phone and 2 gym memberships at 6.25% cash back and grocery at 2.5%)
Amex (for costco and gas when it's over $3.33/gal at 3%)
Chase (for amazon at 3%)
Citi (for 2% on most else)
Capital one (for 0% foreign transaction fee and 1.5%)
Others used rarely...

punkin
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by punkin » Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:15 am

1 for international travel that has no fees, usually travelling for work
1 for large purchases and to get $99 companion fare on AK Air (typically used for Hawaii vacation) and air miles, domestic work travel

hmw
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by hmw » Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:29 am

2

- Capital one venture card, 2% back
- Barclay Sally Mae card, 5% back on gas, groceries, and bookstores, including Amazon

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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Sheepdog » Sun Mar 08, 2015 2:03 am

I have 6 cards and I use 4 of those regularly according to rewards. 1 card I use only for travel expenses because it awards 3% for travel. And, 1 card is just filed away. It once was my main card, but the reward makeup changed to make it useless for me.
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mistike
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by mistike » Sun Mar 08, 2015 2:04 am

I just got a new Amex SPG for the miles and to boost my credit limit, so I'm working on the sign-on bonus. It's my third card :

- Chase Amazon at Amazon
- Amex SPG everywhere else
- HSBC Premier Mastercard where Amex is not accepted and abroad - this was my main card until last week when I got the Amex. Not sure how I will end up using them after I hit the sign-on bonus requirements on the Amex.

Not planning on getting any more cards.

likegarden
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by likegarden » Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:35 am

We own one and use one credit card account.

mptfan
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by mptfan » Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:41 am

I have two and I use two.

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JonnyDVM
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by JonnyDVM » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:25 am

Four with regularity
Fidelity AMEX- the go to card
Capital One MC when the don't take AMEX and for international
Delta gold sky miles- Delta travel or international car rental
Costco AMEX

Just opened a Lowes card to save $95 on the purchase of new low flow toilets. They gave me a $15000 credit line. Why anyone would ever want to drop 15k at Lowes is beyond me.
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FedGuy
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by FedGuy » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:26 am

I use, in descending order of preference:
  • American Express Blue Cash Preferred: 6% cash back at supermarkets. There's a $75 annual fee, but I carried the free version of this card for several years, monitored my spending, and concluded that this card was a better deal for me. (None of my other cards carry an annual fee.)
  • Chase Freedom, Discover It, and Citi Dividend Platinum Select: 5% cash back in various spending categories that change quarterly. Typically, the Chase and Discover cards are useful to me maybe two quarters out of the year. Citi's categories have become increasingly restricted and less useful to me over time, so I'm considering converting the card to the Double Cash card.
  • US Bank Cash+ card. 5% cash back in two categories I choose myself. This card was introduced just a couple of years ago and US Bank has made numerous changes that have decreased its utility and value, but I'm still able to use it to get 5% cash back in a few categories not covered by the categories above, so I'll take it.
  • Amazon Visa card. 3% cash back on Amazon. I wouldn't bother getting this card today, but it was the best option I could find maybe about 5-7 years ago when I was trying to diversify my card holdings (before many of the other cards on this list were available).
  • BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards. I would never actually bother applying for this card, but an earlier card was converted into this when the earlier card was discontinued. It pays $25 cash back per quarter if you make all minimum payments on time. I use it solely to pay for my monthly Netflix subscription. Essentially, I pay about $16 in a quarter for Netflix, get $25 cash back in the form of a credit on my account, spend several months eating through the credit, and then repeat.
  • Fidelity American Express card. 2% cash back on everything.
  • Capital One Quicksilver card. 1.5% cash back on everything. I no longer get much use out of this card, since it only makes sense to use it for purchases that don't qualify for any of the above categories and only where my Fidelity Amex isn't accepted, but I think it doesn't charge foreign exchange fees so it makes sense to hang on to it.
It's a lot less complicated than it sounds.

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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Tyrobi » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:38 am

We only use 3 cards that cover everything:

2% - Citi Double Cash Mastercard - Main Card
3% - Amazon Visa - Amazon.com
5% - Penfed Visa Platinum Rewards - Gas
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6miths
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by 6miths » Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:02 am

Costco Capital One MasterCard
Chase Amazon Visa - no Forex fees
TD USD Visa

Business Visa
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mistike
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by mistike » Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:11 am

ralph124cf wrote: The only card that I have found that will give you the "million dollar" exchange rate is the HSBC Premier account card. This gives a very favorable exchange rate as well as no fee. If you have a premier checking account, the foreign ATM rates are the same, with any fees for other banks refunded. The account comes with high minimum deposit requirements, but is worth it for some people who travel internationally a lot.
I can vouch for that. I'm a HSBC Premier customer in both my home country and the US (thanks to my relationship manager who bumped me up to it before I moved abroad, unfortunately I'm VERY far from the official requirements), and the transfer to and from both accounts is done with a very good exchange rate. "No fee" and the ER padding is the lowest I've seen. Same for CC transactions abroad. And it reimburses any ATM fee.

That being said, all their credit cards offer no foreign transaction fee, but I have no idea how much they take by padding the ER with them.

Startled Cat
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Startled Cat » Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:12 pm

Regularly use:

- Citi Forward (restaurants/Amazon)
- Chase Freedom (rotating categories)
- Amex Blue Cash Everyday (supermarkets/Costco)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred (travel/transit/Uber)
- FIA Fidelity 2% (have the old MasterCard version)

I have a total of 21 cards and occasionally use some of the others for things like an airline ticket purchase on a co-branded card. But I rarely charge anything to a card other than one of the five listed above.

8 of my credit cards have annual fees. About half of those give perks that justify their fees. The others will be cancelled when the fee comes due (and quite possibly replaced with new cards that have signup bonuses).

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MN-Investor
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by MN-Investor » Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:45 pm

We have five credit cards used every month -

PNC Bank Visa - our main credit card used on the internet. They've been great to deal with if they see suspicious activity on the card.

Credit Union Visa - using this card gives us increased interest on our credit union checking account. At one time it was well worth it. Now, not so much.

Chase Visa - an Amazon card, used mostly there.

Costco American Express - Costco. This card will get canceled next year when Costco goes to Visa.

Target Red Card - I love their 5% discount.

Also, somewhat regularly, my husband uses his Sears, Menards, and Walmart credit cards.
The key to success - Save early, save often, invest well.

mindboggling
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by mindboggling » Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:53 pm

I have and use two: an Amex Blue cash-back card mostly, and a Visa card through my credit union for a backup. Pay them off monthly.

Steve
In broken mathematics, We estimate our prize, --Emily Dickinson

madbrain
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by madbrain » Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:15 pm

Mainly 2 .
FIA Amex 2% cashback.
For merchants that don't take Amex, FIA VISA 1.5 % cashback.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Actually Use?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:57 pm

Five. All are used monthly, though one card is down to only one regular charge per month.

Each card has a specific set of vendor categories for which it is used.

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