How do you keep track of all your cards?

For just about anything you want to get off your chest about credit cards.
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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:51 pm

kcm7 wrote:Love the ideas of having designated cards for certain purchases


It is helpful. Such a system ensures I use every card (except PRG) at least once each month. While I do have to track changing 5% categories, I don't have to worry about the chance that a card will be closed due to inactivity.

Most everyday purchases have a designated card, although for unusual shopping I will check to see if there are any special Discover or Amex offers.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when


Brad Bishop
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Postby Brad Bishop » Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:17 am

First, I keep it simple. I have one of each: Visa, MC, and Discover. I currently have two Amex, one fee free with a really low interest rate from my bank and the Delta SkyMiles Gold card which I signed up for about 4 months ago and, unless I use it for free bags in the next year where it pays for itself, it'll be on the chopping block. It has an annual fee of $95 and an interest rate of 15+%.

Mainly, the Delta card is out of the picture.

So that leaves:
- Cash - day to day this is what I use even for such things as gas (I use pump starter cards and then go in an pay when done)
- Discover - my general purpose card and online card; If I forget to stop by the ATM, then I'll use this.
- Visa - it's the backup to my Discover. If some place or site doesn't take Discover then I'll use this.
- American Express - I use this for travel. Rental cars, hotels, airlines, etc. I travel a few times a year for leisure. Once in a while for business.
- MasterCard - this is my backup card that I normally don't expose. If something happens and I can't use the Visa because it's been compromised, then I'll use this.

Cash is the biggest part of this. I can look in my wallet and see how much left I have for the time period and keep an eye on it. My goal is to have just one of these (Disc, Visa, MC, Amex) to pay in a month. Sometimes it pops up to 2 or 3, but that's about it. I don't want to juggle them and most of the time pay off the balance in full.

I use the credit cards to make purchases easier. It's easier to buy from Amazon using a credit card than it is to try to figure out how to get them cash. Same with reserving an airline or what have you.

Having a bunch of credit cards and then trying to pay minimum or just over minimums on them each month sucks. It's a juggling nightmare. This way I keep it limited to, mainly, one card and one payment - simple.

Brad Bishop
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Postby Brad Bishop » Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:51 am

Oh, one other thing I do to make this all simpler: I don't let bills stack up and have "bill paying day". As soon as I get a notification of a bill, I just pay it. That way I don't have to keep up with anything and remember, "Oh, it's nearly the 30th.. I need to pay x, y, and Z.. A & B can wait until.."

I don't want to think like that. Just pay it and be done with it so there's nothing to remember.

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Postby Vattené » Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:14 am

I do that too just so I don't have to worry about another bill. I do put any bill on a credit card I can, though, for the cash back (this works for phone, internet, and utility - can't pay my electric bill with a credit card without a "convenience fee"). I also wait and pay off as much as much as I can of the current month's transactions on a credit card just before the statement cuts for utilization purposes.
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FICO-8:
EX - 809 (11/16) | TU - 803 (11/16)
Primary Cards:
American Express EveryDay - $20,000 (10/14)
Discover it - $23,000 (2/14)
AU on Barclay Sallie Mae - $10,000 (8/15)
plus several store accounts of varying usefulness now

takeshi
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Postby takeshi » Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:24 am

kcm7 wrote:I have two credit cards now, and I'm thinking of getting third to take advantage of grocery rewards (I already have travel and dining covered). I used to have a third card, and I found it stressful to keep track of them all, even with autopay set up because I was constantly checking my credit utilization to make sure it didn't get too high and making multiple payments per month if necessary. And checking my purchases to make sure no fraud was going on.

So how do all of you with WAY more than three cards do it? What are your organizational methods?

Spreadsheet for crude budgeting and tracking expenditures as well as monitoring utilization.. Mint for analytics. You also just have to determine where your limit is with number of cards. For some it's just a few. For others it can be a larger number.

thom02099 wrote:Assignment. Having a card and using it solely for one purpose, ie, one card for cell phone, one for house utilities, one for gas, one for groceries, one for travel, etc. How one assigns is up to you, and the cards you have.

I guess I do this as well but it's not for tracking purposes. It's just to maximize rewards.

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Postby Brad Bishop » Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:41 am

I used to bill everything to a credit card and then just pay that one bill each month.

I stopped because the reality was, I'm not really looking at what I'm spending when I do that and I tend to spend more that way.

Now when I get a bill from the power company or cellular provider I can look at it and see if it's out of normal or not and then, if it is, try to figure out why (hot summer? some promotional plan ended?, etc.) and I also have a better idea of what's going out the door. I know, I could just look at the credit card bill to see the same thing but at that point my mind is going over all of it. If I just pay the bill when I get it then my mind in concentrating just on that one thing. Also, I try to limit what is auto-billed to my credit card as there are so many little charges that can easily rack up without you even thinking about them that are, individually, something you wouldn't notice but, collectively, it's a good bit of cash heading out the door and it's easy to sign up for a service, use it a few months, and then kind of fall out of it and forget about it.

I remember reading recently that AOL derives most of their profits from people having accounts that they never use being auto-billed to them (for years and years).. It just falls under the radar for most folks.

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Postby Vattené » Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:06 am

I certainly understand that, Brad. I feel comfortable doing it because my crude method with my cell phone forces me to actively stay on top of all my spending. I also only have a handful of things automatically billed so I still know what they should be.

Personally, I had that problem before I started using credit cards. I would use a debit card for everything, which was nice because everything was paid for in real time. That also allowed me the convenience of not thinking about what I was spending. We kept thousands of dollars in our checking account (it earns 1.99%). I would still log in once in a while to look over things, but I could swipe my card all day without thinking about it since I knew I had plenty of money to cover it.
-Vattené
FICO-8:
EX - 809 (11/16) | TU - 803 (11/16)
Primary Cards:
American Express EveryDay - $20,000 (10/14)
Discover it - $23,000 (2/14)
AU on Barclay Sallie Mae - $10,000 (8/15)
plus several store accounts of varying usefulness now

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otter
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Postby otter » Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:19 pm

djrez4 wrote:Mint, Personal Capital, and an Excel sheet.


I use Mint and Personal Capital as well (PC more than Mint because my Net Worth is increasingly determined more by investments than cash/debts). There are those who say using account aggregation services are risky but my thoughts are this: the odds are we are all going to be stung by fraud at some point in time... the key is catching it quickly and being able to instantly see something is amiss is best done by seeing all your accounts in one place at one time. I do manually log into each account every couple of weeks to make sure everything is okay and to make extra payments other than those done automatically.

I've thought of putting a spreadsheet together as well, but haven't had the time to get one which works well for me. As for OP's concern about utilization, I wouldn't sweat it unless you're thinking of apping especially for a house or car. If you forget to pay before the closing date and your utilization is at 50% which causes your score to tank, you can get it all back next month by getting it back to 10%. FICO has a long memory (seven years) when it comes to late payments, collections, etc but it doesn't care about last month's utilization (or even yesterday's) it only cares about today's utilization. If you are apping for a big item (car/house) you should probably get your utilization down a few months beforehand to make sure the issuer reports the new balance on your report.
In my Wallet:
  • Amex PRG NPSL[3-14, bd 91]
  • Sallie Mae MC $8000[1-14]
  • Chase Freedom $4700[1-14]
  • Discover It $2750[8-13]
  • BoA UCF Alumni Cash Rewards $5000 [3-15]
Sometimes in my Wallet:
  • GM BuyPower WEMC $5000[9-14]
  • Wells Fargo Propel 365 Amex $7000[4-14]
  • Barclaycard Arrival WEMC $7000[3-14]
  • BoA Better Balance $3000[2-15]
In my sockdrawer: Amex BCE $1000[10-13, bd 91], OCCU Duck $10000 [11-13], The Sportsman's Guide Visa $8000[8-14], Chase Slate $4000 [9-14]Delta Gold Amex $2000 [2-15 bd 91], Diners Club MC $20000 [10-14] Commerce Bank Visa $2000 [3-15] Citi Double Cash $1000 [3-15]
Total CL: $90450

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Postby popamode72 » Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:37 pm

Thanks to this topic, I've started using Mint and really like how the accounts link way faster than on CK so far. Hadn't really heard of Mint before at all quite honestly.
Macy's TLs (21k), Lowes (17k), CSP (10k), Sam's Club (10k), Nordstrom (5k), AARP (4.2k), Freedom (3k), Discover (1.5k), Quicksilver (2k), BoA (3k), Barclaycard Arrival (2.5k), Amazon Store (6k), Paypal (4.9k), Sam's Club MC (3.6k), Walmart MC (1.2k)

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:52 pm

I like to be able to see pending transactions and payments, special offers, and other things. Those really require logging on to the issuer's own website. That's why my use of Mint is limited.

Plus, since my spending is heavily categorized, keeping track of my spending is pretty easy.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when



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