I was watching a YouTube video the other day where Cait Flanders casually mentioned that she has two credit card accounts. I had to very quickly came to terms with the fact that I am in no way, shape, or form a member of any minimalism club when it comes to credit cards….
DO I HAVE A PROBLEM?
As you can see above, I have a ridiculous EIGHTEEN credit cards and a couple of rarely used debit cards too. I know that 18 cards is nothing compared to some people, but it’s kind of a lot when you think about downsizing a lot of your possessions and what not. I definitely do not have any intentions on filling up the rest of this card-holder. Ha. But this thing was over-flowing when I had all those 5% savings account Netspend debit cards.
I CAN’T GET THE BEST CARD AVAILABLE TODAY 🙁
So, the best card currently on the market would be the Sapphire Reserve with the unprecedented 100,000 bonus points, but I won’t be eligible for that one until after next summer, because Chase has tightened up their standards. They are basically categorically denying anybody who has opened more than five creidt card accounts int he past 2 years. And i don’t blame them. If I was running a credit card division at the bank, I’d do the same exact thing. Target customers who AREN’T just going from sign up bonus to sign up bonus, maybe you’ll land a profitable cardholder who uses it forever.
Before Chase suddenly made this operational change, we were all playing by very different rules. Unfortunately the rules changed, and when the most lucrative offer came out, I was caught with my pants down. But that’s okay. I was getting pissed off at myself, while this was all happening, but then I yelled at myself for 10 seconds and reminded myself that “it’s just money”. People > Money. I can be excited for my friends, family and fellow bloggers who are getting in on the Sapphire Reserve gravy train. If you got an email from me that was like “SIGN UP FOR THIS CARD NOW” and you didn’t already know about it, then, you’re def welcome. LOL.
MIXED ETHICS RE: CREDIT CARDS
I sort of have a love/hate relationship with credit cards. Sociologically, it’s very sad to me that the people who need access to credit the most probably aren’t going to be able to get it. Sociologically, credit cards are one of those ways that really does shift some cash from the worse-off to the better-off. A lot of the credit cards that I have have an interest rate of like 15%. I sure as hell haven’t paid anything at one of those sky high interest rates, but the only reason those of us who are taking advantage of credit get the rewards that we get is because of all the profits the banks are getting from the people who are forced to rely on ridiculously expensive credit. That makes me super sad. Someone like me who never pays interest on credit is definitely a loss leader. But, when I look at the number of signup bonuses and just regular cash back that I’ve received over the past six years, this easily adds up into thousands of dollars. And that doesn’t even include the value of the miles. This is significant money. How more passive of an income stream can you get than “spend money that you were already going to spend anyway, here’s some money back to you for doing that?”
NOT THE WHOLE STORY
The above photo only includes my open accounts though. Several have long since shredded. According to CreditKarma, I have FORTY accounts when you consider all my closed accounts which includes a couple mortgages and auto loans, but mostly, MORE CREDIT CARDS. Urban legend is that closing your credit cards will negatively effect your credit score, but I’ll let you in on a little secret, unless you are applying for a mortgage in the near future, if you already have an established history, it’s probably not a big deal. Definitely don’t pay a fee for a card you don’t need just for the history (You could try product changing to a free card). I’ve closed cards because I didn’t want to pay a fee and I’ve had cards closed on me for inactivity. I closed one card because I was so pissed off at US Bank that I applied for one and they sent me another. My credit score remains excellent and the drop is generally a minimal one that recovers fairly quickly. From my understanding, the biggest factor in your credit score is paying your accounts on time. In fact, when an account is closed, it actually will stay on your credit report for another 10 years…..so maybe ten years from now my score will drop if I have a lot of new cards and not many old cards.
DEBIT CARD USAGE AMONG MILLENNIALS / MORE POINTS FOR ME!
I’ve noticed that a lot of my peers in real life will use debit cards or cash for their purchases when we are out and about. This is something that i’m clearly out of touch with. I’m not going to theorize why someone does or does not use a certain form of payment, but In my mid-20’s, I was definitely that guy who was all “since you are paying cash, give me your cash, and I will charge it so that I can get the points.” But I also was the guy who bitched at his friends for having lower standards of tipping….I’ve long since started asking for separate checks. People > Money.
I look at the photo above, and I ask myself, do I really NEED all these cards? Well, obviously not. According to CreditKarma, I use 1% of my available credit, so clearly the odds of me maxing out these babies and going on a shopping spree are rather slim. Yet, I could spend a sentence or two on each card justifying why it made sense to apply for it at a time, but nobody cares about that, but there ARE some fun credit card origin stories.
My DISCOVER card history is a fun story. I was in college and in line for a Domino’s Pizza. I remember all of us in the dorms somehow received word that there would be free pizza At Dominos that night. The line was literally longer than $2 Teriyaki Bowl Tuesday at the local Chinese place, that can be a long ass line. What were we thinking? These days, you sign up for a credit card, you get a few hundred bucks or a lucrative number of miles. I got a Dominos Pizza! It wasn’t even a mom-and-pop wood-fired tasty thing of yummyness, it was Dominos!
It wasn’t until I was applying for a mortgage in 2009 that I noticed that I actually have this mystery DISCOVER account, so what did I do? Called up Discover, and was like “Hey, awesome person from Discover Call Center in Salt Lake City, I didn’t know I even had a discover card, but since it says I do right here on my credit report, can you maybe just send me the card?” It’s pretty cool that I have an extra four years on that Discover account for it’s actual age vs. when I started using it.
Sadly there was also a card that was applied for, near the campus of yet another college I went to, for a whopping Quiznos 6″ sandwich. If there’s anything less valuable than a Dominos pizza, it’s probably a Quiznos sandwich.
Another rather fun credit card story is when the brokerage firm Loyal 3 came out a few years ago. They actually let you buy stocks with a credit card and they didn’t charge you a fee to do it! I had to spend $5,000 in 90 days, I didn’t have any big bills coming up, so I bought $2500 of Berkshire Hathaway stock and $2500 of Coca Cola stock. It was so easy to meet that minimum spend, that I applied for another card and did the same exact thing the following month. I fortunately made a few bucks on the stocks too, but that could have just as easily gone the other way. I don’t know who coined the phrase’ “It’s better to be lucky than good!”, but that certainly applies here.
Reader – Can you top Quiznos sandwich for least lucrative credit card signup offer?