Credit Cards in My Wallet
What credit cards I currently have and why I have them
The Need to Know
Credit cards can be dangerous period. Even if you do everything right by paying off credit cards early there may still be unintended consequences of having credit cards. Do you think you would spend less money if you did everything with cash? For some people it may be the case because it’s particularly hard to visualize money when it becomes numbers on a computer screen rather than the pennies and quarters collected in a piggy bank. It’s because so many people have bad habits with credit cards, that we avoid writing about them so much. If used correctly, they can have tremendous benefit which is why we stress the negatives so much but still write about the positives.
Notes About My Credit Cards
You will notice that my credit cards are all cash back-centric. This is my highest appeal for a credit card because I do not need balance transfers or care for APR percentages because I have $0 in debt, I keep credit card utilization low, and never miss a payment. You will also notice that none of these cards have an annual fee. This is solely because I have never seen a personal opportunity where the annual fee superseded the added benefit. Additionally, once having an annual fee also subjects yourself to an increase in annual fee like the Chase Sapphire recently did. Furthermore, you lock yourself into a spending habit to justify the difference. Do not let all my negative remarks fool you, I am not against annual fees, it just has not been beneficial for me yet.
First Card – Citi Double Cash Credit Card
The Citi Double Cash Credit Card is my rock, my staple credit card. It has an all encompassing 2% cash back reward which I use as my “catch-all” credit card. It is worth noting that the 2% comes with a catch, however. The card gives you 1% cash back when you make the purchase and another 1% when you pay the debt off. Additionally, you must earn $25.00 in cash back before you can redeem the points. This means there may be an opportunity cost. For instance, if there was a card that gave you 1.99% cash back immediately on the purchase, and you were able to redeem it immediately, the 0.01% may be earned or exceeded by investing it in the difference in how fast you would otherwise redeem it. Aside from this detail, it continues.
Ol’ Faithful – Capital One Quicksilver
When I was beginning to learn about credit cards, I found the Capital One Quicksilver before I found the Citi Double Cash Card. The Capital One Quicksilver, to my best knowledge, had the best cash back reward program at 1.5% cash back. The Citi Double Cash now supersedes all purchases I would make with this card, but I keep it because it is my card with the longest history which is good for my credit. I will use it now for small purchases where the 0.5% difference is hardly noticeable, if at all. Supposedly this card has a perk for international travel but this has yet to be tested. Like the Citi Double Cash Card, this one requires a sum of $25.00 before you use the rewards points.
My FAVORITE Credit Card
My absolute favorite credit card is the Chase Freedom (not the unlimited one). There are many like it, but I believe this one is the best for its category. The cash back reward is an insignificant 1% overall and an exceptional 5% on revolving categories, like gas and groceries, which is a massive portion of my overall expenses. Best of all, it has a stellar referral program which allows you to earn $50 for each friend you refer, up to $500 a year! This has changed since I first got the card because they no longer offer the referral for the Chase Freedom, but many of their other ones. My favorite feature of this card is that you can use your points from $0.01 to infinity, whenever you like. This means I can take immediate advantage of the earnings.
Bank of America Cash Rewards Card
Like the Chase Freedom, this card allows you to redeem cash back at any increment meaning that the 2% Back at groceries and wholesale clubs, 1% cash back on all else, and 3% cash back on a category of your choice works for you sooner. The Bank of America Cash Rewards card is a versatile card I got for the sign-up bonus and the 3% selected category. These selected categories are gas, dining, travel, home furnishing and improvement, online shopping, and drug stores. I do not waste my time revolving the categories, especially because there is some delay in changing them. I simply found which category was my highest spender and selected that.
Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card
Amazon has a wonderful credit card that gives 3% cash back on their website and Whole Foods, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% on all else. Considering how much of my purchases are through Amazon, this card was a no-brainer. The sign-on bonus was also a nice added feature. For those who don’t know, Amazon even has a 5% Amazon purchase credit card called the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card for Prime members. I have yet to decide if Amazon Prime and the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card are a better alternative.
BONUS - The Cards I Want
The next card I want to obtain is the Discover It Cash Back. The Discover It Cash Back is very similar to the Chase Freedom in that it has a 5% revolving category. Although it too has a referral program, it lags the Chase Freedom referral program. They are running a promotion where they will match your cash back in the first year. This is not much of a factor in my decision making but it is a nice note. After this card, I probably will not get any more cards like this because keeping up with which quarter is which category involves maintenance and time that I do not want to commit to.
The other two that I am considering is the ABOC Platinum and the PENFED Platinum credit cards. Events and conditions change so fast that I have only made a note of these other two and will reevaluate these cards (and as many others as I can find) when the time comes. I have also found a website for more ideas here.
EXTRA BONUS!!! – How to
How did I find out which credit card to get next? I used the spending history on Mint. There were multiple entries that I had to correct and some I had to adjust to match the credit card categories but I got a detailed sense of what the credit card impact would have had if I had it a year ago. For you to do the same you could export your favorite spending tracker into excel, adjust and correct the data, and find as many credit cards as you can to rank how much money they would have made you in the year. I do not adjust for any “outlier” spending because I’m sure that “outliers” will exist in the future.
Here is the credit card cash back I collected (which may not be up to date so please do your own research!)
As an associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I also would never recommend something that I, myself, would not do and can genuinely say that there is great value in these recommendations.