In order to talk about what I think good credit card management should look like, I think it’s only fair that I share what cards I currently carry with me. Why would anyone bother listening to what I have to say otherwise?
There are 5 cards sitting in my wallet:
- BankAmericard Visa Platinum Plus
This is the oldest card in my wallet. It was originally a student card, but BoA converted it once I graduated. It offers no rewards, has a credit line of $2,500 (which I increased from its original $800 when I was still in school), and has an interest rate of 14.24%. I haven’t used the card since then, but there’s no annual fee so it only helps my overall credit utilization and length of credit history to keep it. This card isn’t available for application, it only exists as upgrades to other cards. A comparable card is the BankAmericard Visa.
2. The Limited Store Card
I actually keep this card behind my BoA Platinum Plus card. I signed up for it on a whim in grad school because I was making a very large purchase on business clothes I thought I needed. It has no annual fee and a $1,000 credit line. It’s managed by Comenity, and I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to manage my account online. So, a week after opening it, I went back to the store, paid it off in cash, and tucked it away. It still exists for the same reason I keep my BoA Platinum Plus card, and honestly, at this point it’s more of a hassle to cancel it than to keep it.
3. BankAmericard Cash Rewards
This was my first rewards card, so it’s one of my oldest accounts. It’s got 3% cash back on gas, 2% on groceries, and 1% on everything else. Since moving to New York I don’t spend much on gas anymore, so really I just use this card for grocery trips. It’s got no annual fee, a $5,000 credit line, and a 17.24% interest rate. I pay this (and all my other cards) off in full every month, so I don’t pay much attention to interest rates, to be honest. But I know that some people do, so hopefully, that information is useful to some.
4. Chase Sapphire Preferred
I love this card. Initially, I thought I would get rid of it after the first year of owning it (because it has a hefty annual fee), but somehow I’m now into my third year of sapphire ownership. It has a $12,000 credit line, a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), and 16.24% interest rate. With its 2% rewards on travel and dining, this card was great for my old job, and I was racking up points like crazy. Since moving, this card has definitely been less worth it. I actually attempted to cancel it a few weeks ago and was offered a $60 statement credit to keep it (I don’t think that’s very common, for anyone trying to replicate the experience). That reduces my annual fee to $35, which is worth it to me. Guess I’m keeping it another year! Excluding the 40,000 points signup bonus I got when I opened the card, I’ve made over $1,000 in rewards points with this card, and that just blows my mind.
5. Chase Freedom
This one is brand new to the wallet! I actually did the math and figured out that I would get more cash back with the Chase Freedom card than I would with the new Freedom Unlimited card, since I’m comfortable with switching up the cards I use for purchases. I’m all about maximizing those credit card benefits. This one has no annual fee, an $8,000 credit line and a 14.24% interest rate. Originally I was going to get rid of the Sapphire Preferred and make this my main card, but since I’m keeping the Sapphire Preferred I’ll just being using this card for the 5% categories.
Other cards that I have had (and canceled): Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select and Chase United. These were cards I definitely got for the large upfront signup bonuses, but there was no way I was going to pay for the annual fee of multiple cards – that just goes against my principles.
Now that I’ve got more no annual fee cards to help my length of credit history, I’m definitely going to start looking more actively into cards that I can get for the sign-up bonuses and cancel after a year. There are so many blogs dedicated to this – it’s really quite impressive. Plus, done right, there are tons of benefits to be reaped, without harming my credit score at all. Many cards will offer crazy high bonuses for limited periods of time – The Points Guy is one of my top resources for this. Granted, there are a million more cards and sources I know I’m missing. What are some of the best deals I should be looking out for?