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Winnowing down the credit cards....a little

February 16th, 2014 at 06:12 am

I decided today it was time to cancel another credit card. Actually, I wound up cancelling two. I have a bit of a hard time canceling cards just a few months after opening them solely for the purpose of earning rewards bonuses after you hit certain spend targets. So I hang onto them for a bit longer.

I'm sure they could care less (unless all of America began treating their accounts in this way). But anyway, I do feel a little sheepish having to talk to an acct rep who will inquire as to why I want to close the acct. I usually tell them, truthfully, that I have more cards than I need and don't really use this particular one all that much. Which is true, as far as it goes.

Plus, after cancelling my Barclaycard today, I count 10 cards still remaining in my wallet! That means that any rewards points I earn will be diluted among 10 different cards and I could more quickly earn meaningful points if I was using fewer cards.

It's interesting to me that, despite being an intelligent dollars and sense person, that I get inordinately attached to certain cards, simply because of the pretty picture on certain cards that I was able to choose. This is the case for my two Capital One cards (a starfish on the beach on one and a closeup of a peacock feather on the other) as well as my World Wildlife Fund with its tiger design. I also like that a tiny portion of each dollar I spend goes to support that organization. I'm surprised that more credit card companies haven't caught on to this psychological angle or done study groups to reveal this.

I would like to cancel one of my 2 BankAmericards, but I see I have about $5 worth of points earned; every time I cancel a card, I lose those points entirely. OK, so I just cancelled a second card today, my Chase Freedom card.

I know my credit score will take a hit with these 2 cancellations, but it's temporary and since I have no need for further credit or loans anyway, I'm fine with that.

That leaves me with 8 cards. Still too many. Two of these cards have very minimal rewards programs, but I will keep them forever since they are much older than the slew of new cards I've acquired in the past 2 years. To make sure they don't get closed on me, I try to make one small purchase on each every month or so, though it's hard to keep track. I've had my USAA Visa and Amex cash card for many years.

The next card to go will probably be my Bankamericard cash rewards card, which is actually a pretty good little card. But I may wait til I can cash out those rewards.

I should be able to redeem my $150 from my new Discover It card next week. I may like low after that for a while; I'll map out when I'll be getting some big bills. (October I pay both car and homeowners insurance so that's a no-brainer for opening a new rewards card prior to that.)

After doing this for 2+ years, a $100 reward doesn't seem like all that much (!) and I'd like to hold out for larger rewards, although I'm just one person, a frugal one at that, so I'm not usually a big spender.

5 Responses to “Winnowing down the credit cards....a little”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    We need to close our cards too. I've closed a few, but there are still quite a few we need to close. Chase cards are easy to close online with a secure message. I'm not sure all banks will, I know Capital One won't. That means we both need to call to get that done.

    How quickly was your Discover Reward applied? After meeting the spending, was it rewarded on that first statement?

  2. Suzanne Says:

    Some cards can be closed online....look in their help/customer service section. Then you don't have to talk to anyone!

    Regarding losing rewards....my Capitol 1 Signature card allows you to cash out at any amount...I love that. It gives 1.5% points back, too, which is more than most.

    Suzanne

  3. PatientSaver Says:

    CCF, I met the spending target but have to wait for the statement (the 2nd month) to come due next week. I expect I'll be able to get the rewards once I pay the bill.

  4. snafu Says:

    Often if a CC is not used in a prolonged period it becomes 'dormant' and isn't automatically re-newed when it expires. I believe there will be a huge change in 2014 as the Target CC security breech revealed a serious problem. New cards will be issued with an imbedded micro chip for added security. New cards require you take action to activate so your problem would solve itself.

    We've had these imbedded cards for a couple of years...royal pain as you need yet another numerical password arrgh

  5. creditcardfree Says:

    Thanks, PS!

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