As I read the Penny Hoarder posts and note the "wins" with credit card perks like cash back and the "losses" if carrying long term credit card debt, I've become curious this morning about how many credit cards PHs have open.

 

I only have 2, but thinking about adding an airline card.

If plan A fails, remember there are 25 more letters in the alphabet. --Chris Guillebeau

Original Post

Too many to list in this post!

I have signed up for quite a few and taken advantage of their sign up bonuses.

For the most part, they are all paid off but the ones that aren't are still under a certain "no interest" period promotion.

Airline cards can be a great way to save some money on travel. For example, last year my wife got the AA card and to meet the spend requirement, we just put our rent on it for a month and then paid it off right away.

Doing this gave us 60,000 AA points which actually ended up getting us round trip tickets from Chicago to Honolulu, Hawaii which we used to finish off our 50 State trip we started last September.

 

Of course, you do have to be very careful or credit cards can end up costing you more than the benefit, but if you handle them correctly, they can actually be really useful!

MattMakesMoney posted:

27. 

I never carry a balance. I use them for the sign up bonuses.

Faves: 

-amex blue cash preferred

-alliant credit union visa

Wow, MattMakesMoney! Are you constantly needing to transfer balances to get those sign up bonuses?  There must be an art and system to your plan!

Would you mind sharing why you like your faves?

I have 2 cc's and 1 debit card. The main cc is paid off each month and it gives a decent cash back yearly, this is through Sam's Club (MC), it is based on a travel and dining out, gas, and other purchases. The other is a Visa which gives points that can be applied for cruises.

We have two credit cards. Sam's Club Mastercard for cashback rewards and a Kohl's store card because you have to use their card to take advantage of the 30% off sale and Kohl's Cash. I pay them off each month. (Kohl's is not monthly, just occasionally.)

Most credit experts say about 3 credit cards, of course paying off the statement balance each month- at a minimum.  Thats exactly how many I have open, 3. It's true, there are great point deals out there.  However, playing the points game can open you up to a lot of temptation and debt. That seems to be the opposite of what the Penny Hoarder group is about.  Am I wrong?

Also- A great all-around credit card is the Chase Sapphire if you don't spend a lot of money in any one specific expense category, like airline miles.

I'm sad to say that I have 19 (6 store cards and 13 regular credit cards). I try to keep my usage under 30%, but since I lost a good portion of my income in September, I've had to rely on them for some stuff. Luckily, that money should be coming back next week so will be able to pay them back down (plus I am using my tax return to pay off 4 of them in full). It's a battle, but it is what it is. They are all getting locked away very soon,

Jeremy,

Congratulations!  You recognize the issue and you are working at it...thats really important!  Great use of your return money, get the debt down.  Keep chipping away, diligently, and before you know it, you will be debt free.  But close almost all of them out once you get them paid off.

More than I need, I'm embarrassed to say. They do have rewards (AMEX, Capital One, Discover). No store or gas cards though. I told myself "no" to single-use cards many years ago. It's good when I get rewards but I just turn them into payment credits. Would love to get to a point where I've paid them all off and can look at things like using points for travel. 

Occasionally I do get baited by the store card, the usual offer up front at the register and it will only take a minute to apply, only to get a percentage off initially. Then the card comes home and sits in the drawer forever or until the letter comes and says the card is cancelled because of no charges on it for a lengthy period. The bill gets paid on-time because it is a massive amount of interest associated with these "deals". Then I feel stupid for falling for something that is a once in a lifetime offer from a rarely shopped at store.

I forgot about store cards and I do have one......Target for the 5% discount on purchases and free shipping online. I was a bit upset with them a couple of years ago when they turned my store card into a Master Card, hit the roof actually!  You could opt out, which I did, but I was furious they made the change and then I had to OPT OUT to be able to keep it just a store card. They actually sent the Master Card to me in the mail and I was totally confused and it panicked me because I thought maybe someone else had ordered the card in my name until I read the accompanying letter, which I had to do twice to find that tiny small print that said I could opt out by calling an 800 number.

I recently froze my credit with the "big 3" credit bureaus, which should avoid a weak moment at the register to sign up for a store card. 

MINTJULEP,  I also have a Target card also that gives me 5% off my purchase. But when they asked if I wanted their credit card to get the discount, I told them no. Then, they told me I could make it a debit card from my checking account, so that's how I do it. 

REDCATCEC,  I don't feel stupid when I open that new card...I don't do it very often. I get a percentage off of a big purchase and then as you say, pay the bill when it comes in, sit the card in the drawer NEVER to be used until you get that letter and then I smile because I know the next time I go in that store, I can sign up for another card if I have a big purchase! Dollars saved!!

I have 3 credit cards.  One for online purchases, one for any health related needs, and one for travel.  When I had to buy a new stove - that went on health related because if I can't cook, I don't eat healthy.  The travel card may have clothes purchased for a trip.  The online store is mostly my Amazon purchases and does have a balance that I am working to pay off.  The balance was from the time when it was my only card.  Having three cards lets me really focus on what is essential and what can be delayed in being purchased.

EKUHLENS,  I don't know what card you are using for Amazon, but they have an Amazon store card that is only for Amazon purchases and you get 5% off your purchases that can be used as soon as they post or you can save them up for a big purchase. Five percent is pretty good since it is off of Amazon's usually low prices, but I would still check the prices because sometimes you're better off purchasing elsewhere.

We're pretty simple folk. We have two. My husband, a total bookworm, has one he uses for work related expenses that gives him Amazon rewards. Which he spends on books.  :-D  Of course. Then one for the household with cash back on all purchases. Both carry no balances. When the kids were younger, the household card put cash back into a college fund. A little here and there helped out. Once they graduated, we switched to a regular cash back. 

We have 3 total.  We each have our own cards that pays points that never expire.  We both use the same Amazon Visa for Amazon purchases only.  The points build up for Christmas purchases.  All are paid off completely twice a month.  

dboothe posted:

MINTJULEP,  I also have a Target card also that gives me 5% off my purchase. But when they asked if I wanted their credit card to get the discount, I told them no. Then, they told me I could make it a debit card from my checking account, so that's how I do it. 

Thank you dboothe, I did not realize you could make Target a debit card! I'm going to think about that! 

First of all, the types of cards you have should reflect your spending needs. One card should offer cash-back, another card should offer flexible rewards, another card should (if you travel frequently) airline rewards, and if you travel a card that guarantees travel insurance. If you aren't a frequent traveler, you make only need one of the last two as a card to have. You also need to know what types are accepted wherever you shop, as not every type is accepted (Discover and AMEX). Plus you need to keep accounts active, as some store cards will close your account if inactive. That closing does affect your credit and getting another card does hit your credit usage when they pull a credit inquiry to open/re-open the account, which you want to limit. 

Arica posted:

I have 4 major cards, I've never seen the point of store cards....

Target gives you a 5% discount on everything you purchase, so 5% off groceries, clothes, gifts, etc. Immediate, not issued as rewards.

Best Buy, also 5% in rewards. I bought my daughter a new laptop and got $45.00 in rewards, which I used to buy an Instant Pot for $15. Amazon also offers 5% in rewards, which I apply towards my bill each month.

Store cards do have some decent benefits that most of the regular credit cards don't offer.

 

I have probably 10-12, but I only use two because of their generous rewards. The rest stay in a drawer. You need to be careful about closing a lot of accounts, especially at once. While it doesn't make much sense, if you close credit cards, it will hurt your credit score because all of a sudden, you don't have access to potential $$/debt. As long as you ALWAYS pay off the balance on time in full every month, using credit cards with good rewards is like getting free money. I rarely use cash; all those pennies in rewards added up to a couple thousand dollar last year. 

I have 2, a Mastercard and a Discover.  The Mastercard gives me points for every dollar spent.  The points are towards Bed Bath and Beyond purchases. With each statement I am sent a certificate to use at Bed, Bath Beyond.  It is so much fun to go into the store and depending on how many certificates I have, I might not have to layout any money for a purchase.  Then my discover gives cash back, which if I have a balance, I have applied to the balance, in case no balance, then I let the amount grow and sometimes I have it sent to me in a check.  It's sort of like found money.

 

 

 

mintjulep posted:
MattMakesMoney posted:

27. 

I never carry a balance. I use them for the sign up bonuses.

Faves: 

-amex blue cash preferred

-alliant credit union visa

Wow, MattMakesMoney! Are you constantly needing to transfer balances to get those sign up bonuses?  There must be an art and system to your plan!

Would you mind sharing why you like your faves?

I have never transferred a balance. I pay all of my bills but my mortgage with a credit card. I also have two kids in daycare, so it is pretty easy to get the sign up bonuses. Lately I have been trying to obtain 6 to 10 cards a year. I see it as free money. 

The amex gives you 6% back on groceries and streaming subscriptions, 3% on gas and 1% on everything else. 

Alliant gives you 2.5% back on all purchases. It used to be 3%. I use this one for everything but groceries, streaming and gas.

And before everyone complains that they both have annual fees, I have done the math. For my situation, I get more cash back even when you subtract the fees in comparison to other cards.

If you are not one for fees, I would recommend the paypal mastercard or citi double cash, as they offer 2% back with no annual fees.

Wow and thank you to those sharing the perks they get from various cards!  One of my cards I've had forever and offers NOTHING so I only use it once a year to keep that card active.........not sure it's worth it after seeing what we are missing. We pay the balances off every month.

 

I have 0. Closed my 2 credit cards last year and now solely use a debit card. It is just as safe (I checked the VISA protection information). I prefer to use cash when possible, but online orders take debit so that works out great for me. Keeps me more accountable as to how I'm spending my money vs. taking out a "loan" putting items on a credit card and then have to pay it back.  

Dear Anne, you must be checking your account that the debit card is attached to on a daily basis to feel that confident. Speaking as one who thought as you did, until my Debit card number was used to make a transaction I didn’t make from a site that I didn’t use. I had to have my bank account closed along with replacing the debit card. And had to wait without access to any funds for a three business day period ( I did get some money to hold me but I had to do this at the bank in person after calling the number on back of the card). Perhaps you weren’t effected by the last bunch of hackers between Yahoo and Equifax, etc in the last few years and you have an excellent credit monitoring service that checks for your identity in the Web.

 I don’t use my debit card for purchases in any area that has been hacked or scammed. They can get your information from the scanner that you pay with if you aren’t careful. Just be careful.

Hi Maria Rose,

That sounds like the voice of reason and experience from you! We check our cc transactions at least weekly and have caught some unauthorized charges and can  get on them quick. Our debit card is rarely used, maybe for a cash withdrawal at a bank associated with our credit union, but that is about it. 

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