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your flexible friend: share the detail of your credit cards

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BarclaycardI posted the other day about a wonderful credit card offer that I’m not going to be taking up. I’ll spoil the joke by telling you the punchline - it had a typical APR of 183%.

What about the credit cards that I do have though? I’m not really doing very well on the *making as much money as possible* front. I’ve got 4 5 credit cards:

  1. my oldest credit card - a Barclaycard this has an interest rate of about 17.9% and no rewards but it is a gold card. I never use this because I can’t get them to set up autopayment in full properly and I’m prone to forgetting bills
  2. the credit card was using all the time - a Marbles card, this is my primary expenses card, I pay off the balance in full and in theory I claim back the money from work in time. This also has no rewards
  3. random credit card that had an offer on (1) - there was some free voucher from Amazon on this Amazon branded card.
  4. random credit card that had an offer on (2) -I have 11,000 Sony points from applying for a Sonycard
  5. new hybrid credit card (ish) - I nearly forgot about this one from Egg, this does have 1% cashback and you can use it sort of like a debit card, pre-loading it with money, which is how I’m using it in the hope that I’ll spend less cash

In addition to all these credit cards, I’ve got 2 debit cards (for historic reasons, I have 3 current [checking] accounts).

I’m not really using credit cards efficiently. I think the solution that I’d like is:

  1. hybrid card - the new system is working well so far
  2. credit card with cashback - for work expenses only
  3. oldest credit card - just to ensure a nice long credit history

One other important thing is that I need to remortgage in about 18 months when the interest rate resets (this is normal practice in the UK) so I need to ensure that my credit rating is a good as possible this time next year.
My financial restructuring in the new year requires me to:

  1. use these bloomin’ Sony points
  2. close 2 credit cards - Amazon and Sony
  3. apply for a new credit card with cashback - maybe from Capital One
  4. close a 3rd credit card - Marbles

I’m not the only one thinking about getting the best type of credit card, rocketc reckons that if you’re not getting cashback, you’re losing money. Looks like I’ll really have to sort mine out in the New Year.

Does anyone else have a large or unusual collection of credit (or debit) cards?

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21 comments for “your flexible friend: share the detail of your credit cards”

  1. How often do you refinance? I hope I never have to do it again. . . I’m sure I will, but I can’t imagine going through that process on a regular basis.

    Posted by rocketc | December 19, 2007, 2:07 pm
  2. I have two credit cards. One is from my bank with a zero balance, and the other was a no transfer fee, no interest for a year card. I plan to have that one paid off by September, when the interest kicks in. :)

    Posted by Lynnae @ beingfrugal.net | December 19, 2007, 2:20 pm
  3. My main credit cards are a Halifax One (0%) and an Egg Money (which has good cashback, but really I only used it for stoozing). Main problem is that I’ve got a load of old credit cards which i’ve not cancelled. This has meant that I’m really credit-worthy and has meant I’m offered much higher credit limits than I’m comfortable with (my Halifax card has a £10k limit; combined, my credit line on cards exceeds my mortgage). I echo your concern that perversely, you need to maintain excess credit (keeping dormant accounts) to maintain your credit profile!

    Posted by Pippin | December 19, 2007, 3:15 pm
  4. @Pippin:
    I originally was going to use the Egg Money card for stoozing, and then I remembered that I’m rubbish at doing really organised things like that, so I’m just using it for the cashback.
    I don’t like my credit limit being too high either.

    I plan to remortgage every 2-3 years - the longest I’d consider taking a fixed rate deal is probably 5 years. Over here, the most competitive market is in short-term fixes, so to save money you should be refinancing as soon as the fixed rate deal ends.

    Posted by plonkee | December 19, 2007, 5:03 pm
  5. I have a USAA Mastercard that pays less than 1% cash back since I spend so little. The interest rate is very reasonable for a college student with limited credit history, but that doesn’t matter since I’ve never paid interest and don’t intend to start. The customer service by phone is fantastic so they probably have a customer for life.

    I have one debit card that I carry that is from with my checking account, and an ATM card associated with my online savings account that I keep locked up.

    This probably makes me sound like a confused Yank, but what’s stoozing?

    Posted by E.C. | December 19, 2007, 6:55 pm
  6. Stoozing is my “word of the year”. It is the Brit term for credit card arbitrage - using credit card balance transfers to earn interest in a bank account.

    Posted by rocketc | December 19, 2007, 7:09 pm
  7. I’ve got an Egg Money credit card - been pretty happy with it, but need to transfer the balance to a 0% card - just been offered a Nationwide card with 10 months 0% on balance transfers, with a 2.5% fee - seems like quite a good deal, just need to get around to applying for it.

    Posted by Rob Lewis | December 19, 2007, 9:10 pm
  8. Between my Hubby and I, we have 5 credit cards, two citibank rewards cards, one capital one no hassle platinum, one american express with world points rewards, a gm mastercard to earn cash back on vehicles and we have our 2 debit cards that we use all the time. We rarely use our credit cards and when we do, we pay the balance in full. The real reason we keep them all is to maintain that good credit history(so kudos to you for keeping your cards forever, it is a good idea!)
    Take Care

    Posted by LJ | December 19, 2007, 9:15 pm
  9. I’ve never had one. Capital One is desperate for my business, however. Glad my parents have a shredder (they still get the solicitations) because it’s insane. I kinda wish that I had one because I’ve always been pretty responsible with money and much more scared of spending than likely to run up a balance. Maybe I’ll do that after I get some other parts of my finances straightened out.

    Posted by Mrs. Micah | December 19, 2007, 9:19 pm
  10. In general, if you aren’t stoozing or paying off a credit card, I think you should be looking at having a cashback card. Now if only I could practice what I preach.

    @Mrs. Micah:
    I couldn’t imagine living without a credit card, especially whilst I’m travelling - it’s like my financial security blanket. You can add to that reason the minor detail that I don’t need to cashflow my employer if I can let the credit card company do it.

    Posted by plonkee | December 19, 2007, 10:14 pm
  11. I use the BP Visa card (I think it is Cap One) and I get 5% on gas purchases from BP and 2% on services and 1% on everything else. (I think that is correct, I don’t keep up with what gets 1% and what gets 2%).

    As a result, I get $25 BP Gift Cards from time to time. Easy to use, I gotta buy gas and I’m saving ~$0.15 per gallon on gas when I buy.

    I got burned on a Providian Air Points card which used to be GREAT ($500 airline ticket for 20,000 point - 2.5%!) but WAMU bought it out and destroyed the rewards program. What was frustrating was that they were able to devalue my already earned points.

    Made me realize that saving points for a long time on a card is a gamble. I just cash in my gift cards when they become available and use the card to buy gas with.

    Posted by Tom Steele | December 19, 2007, 10:29 pm
  12. Points just aren’t as good as deal as cash. It always tends to take too long to accumulate enough to make it worth while. As you rightly point out Tom, the reward scheme usually gets pulled before you can take full advantage.

    Posted by plonkee | December 19, 2007, 10:43 pm
  13. We have 89 cards.

    Posted by My Dollar Plan | December 20, 2007, 4:29 am
  14. I’m in agreeance with you - I need the cards and feel it is a safety blanket if I need to use it. I have 30 days to pay it off if I’ve used it before getting charged - and I really like free things, like free trips when I use it enough for skymiles. :)

    Posted by hank | December 20, 2007, 6:09 am
  15. @My Dollar Plan:
    89 cards is quite a lot really - I guess that you’re stoozing them

    I like free things too.

    Posted by plonkee | December 20, 2007, 8:13 am
  16. I have a huge number of credit cards… A bit of a history of 0% on them. Now those good days are over I have a stack and don’t know what to do with them. I have thought about cancelling a few, but I am not sure what effect that would have on my credit rating.

    Posted by Llama for brains | December 26, 2007, 10:08 pm
  17. Interesting stuff here

    Posted by John Masters | December 31, 2007, 1:50 am
  18. I was researching the same thing when I saw this.. I can not agree more - but I am still going to look for a better source

    Posted by Applying For Student Loans | December 31, 2007, 10:43 am
  19. I have a hotel rewards, frequent flyer card, 529 card for my son, a chase flexible rewards and a cashback card.
    Know what the limits are for rewards earning per year. When I max the rewards for one year, I switch to another card

    Posted by Credit Card Reviews | January 11, 2008, 5:06 pm
  20. Ok you have alot of credit cards, dont for get when you look to remortgage, if you use a mortgage broker make sure they are whole of market and not working from a restricted pannel of say 20 lenders.

    Posted by Remortgage | August 28, 2008, 10:40 am

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