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simplifying credit cards?
Old 01-06-2021, 05:08 AM   #1
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simplifying credit cards?

I want to simplify my life more and am looking to get down to one personal CC and Debit card perhaps. I never enjoyed CC churning and abhor a wallet filled with plastic ... more things to worry about lost/stolen and more to keep track of. I guess I feel life is getting short and I don't need to be spending hours managing accounts.

My wife and I hold joint accounts at BoA to deal with most of our bill paying and spending.

I currently have a Debit card from BoA and a Debit plus CC from my personal CU. My wife also has her set of CCs. The there are the other credit card for purchasing (Amazon, Lowes, LL Bean .....)

So, my plan is to condense to one Debit and 1 CC. I opened a Fidelty CMA so I think I will go with Fido for both cards.


Anyone else moving to minimize CCs?
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Old 01-06-2021, 05:25 AM   #2
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I think there is a benefit of having two credit cards from different companies. If a problem develops with one of them (lost or stolen card, bank issue, and so on) you will still have the other one to use.

My wife and I each carry different credit cards for this reason when we travel.

Having two doesn't mean you have to carry both of them all the time.
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Old 01-06-2021, 05:31 AM   #3
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I definitely plan to.....eventually.

Not ready to yet. I'm enjoying nice cash rewards in various categories too much.

Several of the cards are linked to travel, some of those specifically to international travel, and as long as we travel a lot, I will hang on to them. Once travel winds down significantly the need for those cards goes away. These are international cards we don't otherwise carry.

Many of our credit cards we don't carry anyway - just the ones we typically use in person, so it doesn't seem like we have that many. Several are used for various online categories.

A few cards have been closed recently by default due to lack of use and this has helped simplify. Basically all our Chase rewards cards except for one.

I have at least one more candidate that is worth dropping soon, as it is the only remaining tie I have to a certain financial institution, so I probably will drop that one sooner rather than later.

I always have at least one credit card reserved for recurring charges and nothing else. That way if a regular card gets compromised I'm not dealing with running down recurring charges to change them.

And I will always have a back-up credit card. You never know when you might get hit.

So that means at least 3 credit cards and probably 1 ATM card min.
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Old 01-06-2021, 06:14 AM   #4
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Have 5 cards including 1 for recurring charges and no plans to change it now. 3.5k in yearly rewards keeps me interested in the status quo.
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Old 01-06-2021, 06:52 AM   #5
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I think there is a benefit of having two credit cards from different companies. If a problem develops with one of them (lost or stolen card, bank issue, and so on) you will still have the other one to use.

My wife and I each carry different credit cards for this reason when we travel.

Having two doesn't mean you have to carry both of them all the time.
Agree. We have the Fido and the Costco cards. I also have the Apple Card, but we donít really use it, donít carry it and just donít see any reason to get rid of it. Between Costco and Fidelity, I think weíre doing about as good as possible to maximize rewards given our typical purchases.
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Old 01-06-2021, 06:57 AM   #6
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I have 1 VISA credit card and 1 Ally debit card in my wallet. I'm not sure but I think DW has 10 or 12 (because she can carry more in a purse?).
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Old 01-06-2021, 07:03 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by albireo13 View Post
.... Anyone else moving to minimize CCs?
Already done that... 98% of our credit card activity is on the Citi Double Cash card... 1% when charge and 1% when paid... but cash back used to pay the card doesn't get the 1% so effectively 1.98% if you use the rewards as a credit on your account or 2% if you have them send you a check or transfer to your checking account.

We have 3 other credit cards. One is a BJs card that is only used for gas at BJs and gives us 10c/gallon off. One is a Well Fargo card that I use for charges for things I do for Mom since I can just transfer money from her trust checking account to reimburse myself (I am a co-trustee of that trust account). One is a Costco credit card that I use for major purchases because it includes extended warranty coverage.
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Old 01-06-2021, 07:16 AM   #8
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+1 already did it(minimized). Getting DW to close all the shop accounts took a while. Life is much simpler with most of the charges going against one cash back card. I say most because I have a business card for those pesky business expenses, and an amex for the travel benefits and rewards that requires periodic use to claim all the benefits. All cards are set on auto-pay.
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Old 01-06-2021, 07:20 AM   #9
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DW still has a couple store credit cards... but I told her that since I alreay provide her with a credit card to use that I refuse to take any responsibility for them... if she wants to have them then she is responsible for paying them when due.
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Old 01-06-2021, 07:31 AM   #10
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I carry one credit card and one debit card with me. I keep my back-up credit card hidden in my apartment. To keep that card active, I have one small, automatic charge assigned to it each year, so I never really have to fetch the card other than when it expires (or when I rarely travel out of town for a lengthy period).

After 2008, I have not used my debit card for anything other than ATM cash withdrawals or for information purposes when dealing with a bank teller. It also acts as back-up "plastic" in case something goes wrong with my credit card while I am out and trying to use it (which has never happened).

So, I have peace of mind when I am out and peace of mind within the world of using credit cards.
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Old 01-06-2021, 07:53 AM   #11
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I did years ago. When I was traveling on business it made sense to have hotel and airline cards- especially American Airlines back when ANY miles you accumulated were credited towards Lifetime Gold status. (I made it and still get the use of Priority lines where they exist, and free checked bags.)

At one point I realized I was spending over $400/year in annual fees. With travel cut back and the perks of many programs deteriorating over the years, I decided to go with straight cash back. I've got a Fidelity Visa for most things and a Costco Visa for travel, gas and restaurants, where they pay a higher % cash back.

I froze my credit after a major data breach and found that some make it a real PITA to unlock your credit when applying for a new card. I'd scrupulously recorded all the PINs, passwords, etc. when I froze credit but one agency wanted me to snail-mail them copies of my driver's license and something else. It will probably be a long time before I feel like going through major BS to get a new card.
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:23 AM   #12
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I think there is a benefit of having two credit cards from different companies. If a problem develops with one of them (lost or stolen card, bank issue, and so on) you will still have the other one to use.

My wife and I each carry different credit cards for this reason when we travel.

Having two doesn't mean you have to carry both of them all the time.
We also keep 2 debit cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees. Last time when we were in Europe, I tried using one to withdraw Euro more than daily limits and got locked out. Luckily I had another one to use.
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:38 AM   #13
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I use one credit card. I have a back up one at home that is only used once a year to keep it open. I don't like credit cards so I just use one mainly. I want something easy to keep track of.
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:55 AM   #14
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I'm almost to the point of scaling back on the travel rewards hobby, but not quite. I did go ahead and get the Fidelity card that will be my main card later in life when I don't want to mess with the game.
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Old 01-06-2021, 09:01 AM   #15
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Just one main visa credit card and one debit (that is really only used for ATM). DW has a couple of store cards to get the store promotional benefits, but they are not used that much.


I do find it a lot easier to just have the one main card to use and keep tabs on.
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Old 01-06-2021, 10:19 AM   #16
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No one card has everything I want. Certainly "need" a CC and a debit (for foreign ATM), but there are features and benefits, mostly surrounding travel, but also kickbacks, that one card doesn't win in all categories.

I did simplify but not by elimination, but through organization.

I have a spreadsheet with all the details I need to feel comfortable and confident in which card to use in various situations. Also, I label my cards so at a glance know "the deal" with each card. Also, I don't have them all in my wallet ... I only carry the one I'm going to be using and maybe one backup.
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Old 01-06-2021, 11:36 AM   #17
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If I wanted to simplify to the minimum, I'd only carry cash.

However, I give up some simplification for ease of life.

I have reduced my CC number to about 5, no need for special travel cards at this time.

My BOA card gives me 5.25% for online shopping all the time, so that one is heavily used these days
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Old 01-06-2021, 11:51 AM   #18
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Long time members here probably remember that for years I did not have a credit card, by choice. (I was still shell-shocked by the financial Armageddon of my 1998 divorce and to me, credit cards were anathema.) I have always had a debit Mastercard that my bank issues to all of their customers for ATM access and other debit transactions, but back then I had no credit cards. For years many here tried to persuade me to get one.

Back in 2014 I read FIREd's description of his Amazon Visa credit card and the rewards he was getting, and it sounded like a good fit to my spending habits. So, in a "wild and crazy moment", on impulse, I got that one. It is paid off in full every month automatically, since I set it up that way, and there are no fees.

I like my Amazon credit card, and the ease of getting rewards when I buy things on Amazon. I have no intention of applying for any others because I prefer the simplicity of having only one (or zero). I know that most others disagree and that's fine.
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Old 01-06-2021, 12:08 PM   #19
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Do you use your Amazon VISA credit card to pay recurring bills?
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Old 01-06-2021, 12:15 PM   #20
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Yup. Like others: DW and I have one credit card each from different issuers and one debit card each from different issuers. No FTFs on any, rebated ATM fees on the debit cards.

Irresponsibly low interest in chasing rebates, I guess. My card is 1% cash back. I don't know what DW's card does.

I often (gasp!) used cash until this COVID thing came along. Now I avoid it as a potential carrier. Probably unnecessary but it takes zero effort.
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