While on a recent business trip, I witnessed something that made my jaw drop. I was standing at the hotel registration desk when I heard someone say “See, this is why I don’t need any more cards.” I turned to look and saw an older woman showing her pocketbook to two kids – possibly her grandchildren?
Anyway, I just got a quick look, but a conservative estimate would be that she was carrying at least thirty credit cards, though I’m pretty sure it was more. I was shocked. Who could possibly need (or want) that many credit cards? Sure, there might have been an ATM card or some debit cards mixed in, but still. Wow.
As for me, I regularly carry three credit cards:
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Citi Simplicity® Card
My primary cards are the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, backed up by the Citi Simplicity® Card MasterCard in case I run into a merchant that doesn’t accept American Express. Keeping at least one MasterCard account open is handy, because Sam’s Club doesn’t accept Visa (or American Express).
I also have an Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express that I used regularly before I got the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, though I don’t carry that one around with me.
What about you?
How many credit cards do you have? What’s the breakdown between open accounts and those that you actually use? Which are your favorites, and why?
41 Responses to “How Many Credit Cards Do You Have?”
I actually can empathize, in the early ’00’s everyone was offering 10% off your purchase for merely signing up for a zero-fee credit card. So I ended up with a few of unused cards for a while, I never authorized cards. Also if she old enough, when growing up stores all had their own cards (not Visa or Master Card with store name, but truly on their own system) so my mom had a wallet full of store cards (in fact I think they only had one exchange system card which they still called a Bank of America card [which had been Visa for a while]). Thankfully I was purged by most unused accounts in the beginning of the financial crisis (I was a cheap way to decrease their liabilities on the books).
Today, I carry three cards. A Visa from my bank, a Citi Diamond Preferred MC, which I think has a mediocre rate and poor rewards program, but is great for my FICO since the account is over a decade old, and very recently I applied for AmEx blue, because the reward system was easy to figure out. Only having a few accounts makes checking on my credit report for fraud much simpler (before it was a nightmare for store Visa/MC not only where under a bank name sometimes would switch providers).
It honestly does not matter to me which of the three I use (I rarely make purchases on credit, even though all three have rewards program). Their main purpose is as a holding bucket, to avoid a sudden hit to my checking account on larger purchases, so when I’m at home I can decide how much to use savings and how much I want to use that month’s future earnings.
I do not have any credit cards because I do not spend more than I make. If I buy clothes with my debit card then it would cost me $100 bucks, but with a credit card it would cost me $100 plus $10 interest.
Zero credit cards for 6 years now and very proud of it. I don’t play the FICO game and practice self control. Not to say credit cards are evil, but I have seen too many people get into trouble with them. If you play with fire long enough you’re going to get get burned.
We have two main ones:
– Discover Escape card – $60 annual fee, 2% back on everything; used anywhere that takes Discover
– UPromise Mastercard – 1% back on everything, plus 3-10% back on certain UPromise transactions; used anywhere that doesn’t take Discover or where rewards are over 2%
Our “idle” cards:
– USAA debit card – Mostly for occasional ATM use, but has the lowest foreign transaction fee, so we use this when travelling internationally
– Home Depot store card – Victim of the 10% offer; they occasionally send us new 10% off coupons, and we’ll use the card then. Otherwise, it sits idle for long stretches
– Corporate AmEx for work expenses
And no, Dave, we don’t pay any interest, because we also spend less than we make. If you pay the balance every month, there are no interest charges.
Maybe I should clarify that I don’t pay interest. That “poor rate” is actually an incentive to ensure I make up a plan on how I’ll pay off by the due date (I’ll ALWAYS pay a little something out of future earnings until pay off, as a “pain mechanism,” so I do not deplete savings). However, I’m not so sure at this making plastic a moral agent, I still think it’s the individual behind either the debit or credit card that’s the problem (thus the cure).
Dave – Ummm, we don’t spend more than we make either. And we don’t pay interest. The credit card companies pay US through rewards programs.
Anyway, we have a total of nine. No annual fees on any of them.
Chase Ink Business – apparently anyone can get a business card, and it gives us 3% cash back on gas, restaurants, home improvement, and office supplies. 1% on everything else.
Citi Dividend World – this was my first card, back when it was 5% cash back on gas, groceries, and pharmacy. Then it went to 2%. Then it went to the 5% rotating categories thing. Also 1% on other purchases. This and the Chase Business get the bulk of our spending.
We each have a personal Chase card as well, for minor spending and buying each other birthday/christmas presents. Mine is a rotating rewards category card as well. It was originally a Providian card, who got bought out by WaMu, who got bought out by Chase.
Bank of America Platinum – no rewards, doesn’t get used much, but if we were ever in a situation where we needed to carry a balance it’s our lowest rate card, so we keep it around (not in the wallet though).
Royal Caribbean Credit Card – we like cruises. And we get 2-3% in rewards paying for our vacations. Just redeemed a voucher for $150 in onboard credit on our cruise this fall.
Old Navy – My favorite clothing store. 5% rewards.
We also have a Newegg card and an Amazon card, but those are relics of 0% financing offers and haven’t been used in at least 2 years. Also kept in a safe place at home rather than in the wallet.
I don’t even really think of my debit card as a debit card, but as an ATM card. Used only for getting cash, or buying a small purchase at a pharmacy and getting cash back since Bank of America is really only ‘Bank of 49 States’ so we have no ATMs when we visit friends in West Virginia.
I definitely have more cards than I should, and mostly it’s a matter of not closing them even though I don’t use them now. For actual use, I have a Chase Freedom MC and a Capital One Visa.
Besides that, I have another Chase Freedom Visa that many many years ago, started life as an Chase ebay Visa (with kickbacks on ebay purchases). And there’s another Chase cc that years ago started as a Starbucks cc, which ultimately meant free coffee. And there’s another Chase amazon cc that does nothing but sit attached to my amazon account so that someday, after I use all my free SwagBucks amazon credits, then my charges will go to that cc and get me a 3% kickback on amazon purchases.
Since I’ve read that closing cc accounts, especially old accounts, can cause hits to one’s credit report, I just leave them all open and unused. If I were to get one of those charming letters that I’ll have to pay for nonuse, then I’ll close them.
I have 10 cards, but use only a handful (essentially the first 4). The reason I have so many is churning for miles/points. The breakdown (and what I use them for, or don’t, is as follows):
Amex BlueCash – 5% cash back on gas, grocery, drugstore purchases after $6500 spend (so ends up usually around 3-3.5%)
Citi Forward Visa – 5 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on restaurants, books (Amazon still counts as such), movies, and music. As ThankYou has redemptions with Macys, Saks, etc at 1-to-1, it is essentially 5% cash back.
Amex Fidelity – 2% cash back on everything.
Chase Freedom Visa – 5% cash back on rotating categories (currently: home improvement, lawn/garden, home furnishings).
Amex Starwood Preferred – used to be my main card prior to the above. Have been able to churn in the past (esp. with business cards), so will likely get rid of if fee is not waived when year is up.
Amex Platinum – just go for the bonus points which converted to miles. Essentially cost me $450 for 75000 miles plus silver status. Will get rid of when year is up.
Chase OnePass MasterCard – got for the sign-up miles, will get rid of if fee not waived when year is up (plus, with Continental and United merger, will likely get another sign-up deal for a United branded card).
Citi Driver’s Edge MasterCard – this converted to a Preferred ThankYou MasterCard in March so once I spend my rebates will likely close it (assuming I can transfer its high credit limit to my other Citi cards).
Citi American Airlines Visa – another card I got for the miles with the low spend. Will cancel after the fee-free year is up to potentially churn.
Chase Sapphire Visa – yet another card I got for the points which converted to miles. Will likely cancel after the fee-free year is up and churn, but like the Amex Platinum, it does not have foreign transaction fees so a nice side-perk.
Chase Freedom rewards VISA card, rotating 5% rewards categories. I use this for larger purchases and whatever the rewards category is for the quarter. I just opened this account and it carries a balance on the intro rate.
Rewards checking VISA debit card from a local bank. I have to make 15 purchases with this card per month to qualify for a 3% interest rate on my main checking account. I use this for smaller purchases, saving the larger ones for the rewards card until I reach my 15 transactions.
AMEX Blue(not Cash) mediocre rewards, this card is being phased out but will remain open for average account age purposes on my FICO score.
Health savings debit card. I use this for smaller HSA compliant purchases in order to save the hassle of reimbursing myself. Larger purchases are done on the rewards card and reimbursed.
Commerce Bank VISA card. no fee balance transfer card from last year. This account will be closed in a couple months. I do not carry this card.
I am still playing the intro offer game, but now it’s to earn interest rather than to bridge my cash-flow. My credit score is very good and still rising. I need to keep it maintained so that I can invest in farmland near my family farming operation in the next 5-10 years.
My husband has 2 VISA cards,
1 that he uses regularly
and 1 that I convinced him to keep open, just in case the financial system goes bust and the banks are closed?!! (Ok, that probably makes no sense at all.. but anxiety makes for funny decisions!?!)
I have 4 VISA cards
LLBean VISA (for the LLbean free shipping, but now they offer that to everyone… with 24% interest and a zero balance … I probably should treat that card like a grenade. )
Columbia Bank VISA … used regularly
and 2 Bank of America VISA cards… one I’ve had over 20 years.
Regarding the playing with fire and getting burned… after paying off our balances every month on credit cards for over 20 years, last summer something happened?! and we ended up with $10,000 in credit card debt in just about 6 months. We’re paying it off now but it is hard to get it down and we make good money. Hopefully by July 1 it will all be paid off.
Amazing, I probably would not have believed it … that it could ever happen to us.
I’m considering going to Dave Ramsey’s approach with cash …. it may help us trim some spending that we are doing that we don’t really care about anyway.
My favorite show lately is “Til Debt to us Part” … cool ideas about budgeting with cash in jars.
People spend alot less money on the show when they have to pay with cash versus credit. I think that is what we need to do. We just haven’t taken the plunge yet.
I have two credit cards that I always pay in full and are used pretty evenly.
Capital One card gets 1.25 per $1, plus lots of bonus points when you shop at what seems like a gazillion stores and retailers.
Amex Starwood Perferred, which gets points that can be used for Starwood Hotels or flights. (I love to travel.)
I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a Southwest Airlines card from Visa, but can’t seem to pull the trigger. It would make sense for me because I always fly Southwest, but I’m not sure I really want three cards.
2% back FIA Visa-My go-to card for most purchases (plus a current 5% back on restaurants for me)
AMEX Blue Cash- 5% on gas, groceries, drugstore purchases
Target Red Card-5% off of Target purchases
Chase Freedom- 5% rotating
Discover More- 5% rotating
USAA Platinum Rewards-just keep it around because
Chase Saphire Preferred- Got a $250 reward for signing up
3 debit cards for various checking accounts which I use almost exclusively at the bank.
So I average about 3% back with this system. Not bad at all.
Bank of America Rewards — I could not believe it when I got the application last winter, but we get 5% back on ALL purchases for 12 months. Almost everything goes on this. Our rewards are basically making a car payment for us until next year. Awesome!
Discover — Had it since 1990. Still use it for Sam’s Club purchases.
Debit Card through our local bank (VISA) — Have to use it for 10 credit card transactions for the free account, ATM fee waiving, and 2.2% interest on our account.
Have a couple old ones in the desk drawer that aren’t used nor activated. There is one Discover Business card I try to cancel periodically and they give me $20 to use it for another month.
I use three cards. I sort of stumbled upon my new favorite card a few years ago and it turned out to be a card I had for years but always kept at home and only used if I bought something that I thought I would probably have to return anyway. I also always had a thing for Visa until I realized how much better MasterCard’s card products are. Glad to say that my main card is a MasterCard, specifically the Lufthansa Miles and More Card from Barclay Bank. The only way I would love this card even more is if they offered also a cash reward instead of airline miles and if they offered MS Money downloadable transaction files. But here is why I LOVE the card. One Free companion airline ticket per year, NO (let me repeat) NO foreign currency transaction fees (great for overseas Amazon orders and when I am anywhere but the US), Frequent Flyer Miles no longer expire, one Mile for every one Dollar spent, $59 annual fee (which I received back many, many times over through the offers at MasterCard Market Place), it is a WORLD Card and thus comes with all the MasterCard World Cardmember Benefits (MC Assist, enhanced Market Place etc http://world.mastercard.com/), they also have great balance transfer offers for existing card member if that is your thing, and I have only seen one bank (Citibank) been able to beat Barclays that way.
My 2nd card is Partners First Visa Card. 1% Cashback from the first Dollar on.
3rd Card, my SunTrust Bank MasterCard Debit card, because of the new credit card reform legislation the rewards program was cancelled but I only used it as my ATM card and at places that would take debit but not credit cards.
Finally I would like to say that I had faithfully used Discover Card as my main card for 12 years. Discover was one of my favorite companies and brands. I even refused to do business with merchants that would not accept “my” card. Discover will always have a special place in my heart because they were the only issuer that would give me a credit card when I was a young adult with no credit history. After I had built up a great credit report and score I got offers from all sorts of banks, but they were not there for me when I needed them the most. After 12 years and a change that was beyond Disover’s control I could no longer keep the account because of its structure. I believe they tried to help me but it did not work out. Now I would only get one for nostalgic reasons, and given the fact that I don’t have to spend $3000 first with my Visa from Partner’s First to get a full 1% back, I would probably not use a Discover Card.
Cards that I do not carry in my wallet are:
Citibank Select Mastercard
Chase Slate Card
I recently closed my BoA WorldPoints card because of unrelated issues with BoA (and I’m never coming back!!!)
I have 2 main cards I carry in my wallet–an Orchard Bank (HSBC) Master Card that pays 2% cash back on all purchases that I use for most purchases. In case you’re wondering, I don’t believe the Orchard Bank card is offered any longer for new accoutns, and I’m surprised they haven’t reduced the % you earn–they are a bit stingy with the credit limit and don’t allow you to raise it too high. I won’t be surprised if I get a notice in the mail someday saying they reduced the cash back to 1%. I carry a Costco Amex card that I use at Costco (because that’t the only card they accept) which earns 1% cash back on anything and 3% for gas from wherever you purchase it. I also have a few cards that I don’t carry around. I have a Chase Amazon Visa that I use sometimes because it earns 3% in rewards for Amazon purchases. I also have a couple of credit union credit cards that I use occasionally because they have higher limits when I have really big purchases that I want to charge. I also have a Chase Disney Visa card that I used several years ago to take advantage of some things for a DisneyWorld trip. Disney initially offered me a credit limit of $15,000 which I could access immediately after my approval (before the card was in my hands). They were apparently hopeful that I’d lose my head, charge my whole trip right away and spend double what I had initially planned. I didn’t take the bait and have since reduced the credit limit to just $1,000. I’d close it out, but it might be helpful for future benefits on one last trip to Disney before the children are too old.
-AT&T Universal (Citibank):It’s my oldest account so I use it at Christmas and pay it with my Christmas Club savings.
-Discover Card (mine): It’s my go-to card for household expenses like cable, cell phone, etc. that can be charged, paid each month and earn cashback.
- Bank of America-Sallie Mae: Balance transfer gone bad that will be closed as soon as it’s paid off.
- Fifth-Third: It was our emergency card and, as soon as our AC/Furnace is paid off, it will be closed.
I carry hubby’s Discover Card for gas purchases only.
I also have 2 store credit cards because I get coupons for the store if I purchase on the store card.
Wow! That’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be so I must be doing better than I realized. I did have more but I’ve been closing them. I also closed my BofA WorldPoints card when I discovered that 1pt was equal to 1cent of an airline ticket. I cashed out my rewards and closed that baby … boy, did that feel GOOD!!!!!
I use one credit card. I think I have a couple others that I haven’t used in years but haven’t yet closed them out. I don’t keep them in my wallet; I keep them in a drawer in my home office. I also have a debit card. It’s a good idea to have at least two forms of payment in your wallet. Once, my husband was driving back from a business trip, and his purchase at a gas station was flagged as possibly fradulent, so the charge was denied. I got one of those automatic voice phone calls, saying to press 1 if it was legit. But by the time I got that call, my husband had already been rejected and had to use his debit card. He’d have been in trouble if that credit card was his only form of payment. (It was most annoying that this charge was rejected at all because we’ve spent money near this town before. But that’s another story.)
I have a Citibank Mastercard that is my oldest open line of credit. (Dates back to when I was in college.) Hubby is on that account now, and the few things that we charge go on this card, paid in full each month.
We have a card connected to our bank accounts, but those stay in a locked filing cabinet drawer. There was some financial advantage to having them (as opposed to closing them), but I don’t recall what it was right now…
We have an ATM/debit card, used once a week when we withdraw cash for the week at our local branch.
And I have a business ATM/debit card for my business.
I only have two, and one is from my senior year in college, American Express. Although I hate paying the annual fee, I like having the card, and there’s nothing like the prestige of seeing “member since 1986″ on the card to make you want to keep the card!
I have 28 Credit cards. 11% average utilization across the board. I never max or even get close to the limits. Had a bankruptcy in 2005. I am very smart about using them. I like the great discounts using the store cards occasionally. For example Kohl’s I often get 30% off my entire purchase. I have over $30,000 in credit issued. My average debt runs $2800-$3200. Eventually I want to get rid of the High Risk Prime Rate cards & Consolidate. My credit score went from 540 to currently mid 700’s.
Mastercard’s & Visa’s:
Total Visa – Limit $700
Target Visa – Limit $1000
Orchard Bank MC – Limit $300
First Premier Bank MC( 2 Cards ) Limit $750 & $700
Chevron Visa – Limit $1200
Best Buy Reward Zone MC – Limit $400
Continental Finance MC – Limit $1225
I currently have 5 credit cards
Bank of America Platinum Plus Visa – my first credit account, don’t use it anymore except to keep it active
Total Rewards Platinum Plus Visa – i use it just to keep my Harrahs rewards points from expiring
American Express Clear – paid down the balance, my second oldest card
American Express SPG Rewards – my newest, favorite, and most active card for the rewards
Citi ThankYou – just paid it off, will probably switch to a different MasterCard
I am 21, I have 4 credit cards and one debit card.
The reason why I have this amount is because the more available credit you have, the better utilization score you get, even if you only use the card once and pay it in full it shows activity on the card which is good.
Capital Rewards card: 1% back on everything 2% back on grocery and gas, also, when shopping online you receive better rewards such as 10% back depending on the website.
I use my card only to pay bills and pay them off the same week because I do not want to gain any interest.
Capital one secured card: this was my first cc i got because I just recently started working on my credit and I needed to start off somewhere, I do not use this card at all only for minor stuff no more than 5 dollars.
Kohls: I dont use the card, I used it once, interest is very high, I rather use one with rewards either way, again, I applied just to have a better utilization score
Walmart: same situation.
Hope this helped.
Btw: I have a terrific credit score!
I will def apply for more credit cards eventually so that I can increase my available credit howeevr, I am not in a rush because I dont use the ones I have now. I will def like to earn the reward points though, they really come in handy.
Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express for almost all my purchases – Can’t beat the accumulation of Delta Skymiles.
Also gives access to the Delta Sky Clubs and American Express Concierge Services.
The Annual Companion Ticket, Delta Upgrades, Free 1st bag for you and up to 9 more in your reservation and Sky Club entrance are great rewards if you take your twenty something sons and daughter-in-laws on vacation which I do at last twice yearly. Last trip alone saved $400 in baggage charges from Delta not to mention what would have been a huge bar tab at the Sky Club.
The free Car Rental Loss Damage Insurance included at no additional charge is superior to what my VISA Card offers. American Express also offers a Premium Car Rental Protection for only $24.95 per rental period, not per day that covers full sized SUV’s. These are not covered for free by my VISA or Delta Reserve Card and for family vacations we are frequently in a full size SUV. The card also gives full access to all of American Express products and services and nobody does travel like AMEX
Back up is a Bank of America Platinum Plus VISA that’s been in my wallet for 15 years at least – not great benefits but no annual fee, big credit limit and great customer service, plus VISA is accepted everywhere. It does have Auto Rental Collision Damage insurance at no additional charge but the Delta Reserve Card’s free coverage is superior.
Last Card is a GM Mastercard. Again, it’s no annual fee , a big limit and is accepted sometimes in places where my Delta Reserve from American Express isn’t. Downside is a really lousy website, not bright customer service agents and the rewards seem designed exclusively to buy GM Vehicles. I’m not sure if it offers Auto Rental Coverage at all. I’ve read that not all Mastercard accounts have this coverage. The GM Card website is the worst credit card account website I’ve ever encountered and if this card has any benefits other than GM Rewards, I can’t locate them.
I only have 4 cards and everything goes on the AMEX, zero balance on the others:
American Express Green NPSL
Navy Federal Visa $20,000 limit
Citi Forward Visa $6,500 limit
Barclaycard Visa $2,400 limit
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