Tips on using multiple cards

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Judemik
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Tips on using multiple cards

Postby Judemik » Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:45 pm

I use credit cards only to shop online or for paying gas. But, I know some people who are using multiple cards and getting a lot of reward points. The idea of using multiple cards really scares me. I think if not used well, it can tangle things and choke us.
I read a blog on using multiple credit cards. (northwoodmortgage.com/mortage-questions/multiple-credit-cards-good-bad/ ) They have listed some tempting perks of using cards from different banks. And importantly, if used right, it can help increase my credit ratings which is required to secure a loan or a mortgage.
Now I think I should start using multiple cards because sooner or later I would need a loan to buy a house and I need to increase my credit ratings. I can manage if I use the cards wisely. But, I need some suggestions from who are using multiple cards. What other benefits does it have?

Thanks!


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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: Tips on using multiple cards

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:10 am

Judemik wrote:I use credit cards only to shop online or for paying gas. But, I know some people who are using multiple cards and getting a lot of reward points. The idea of using multiple cards really scares me. I think if not used well, it can tangle things and choke us.
I read a blog on using multiple credit cards. (northwoodmortgage.com/mortage-questions/multiple-credit-cards-good-bad/ ) They have listed some tempting perks of using cards from different banks. And importantly, if used right, it can help increase my credit ratings which is required to secure a loan or a mortgage.
Now I think I should start using multiple cards because sooner or later I would need a loan to buy a house and I need to increase my credit ratings. I can manage if I use the cards wisely. But, I need some suggestions from who are using multiple cards. What other benefits does it have?

Thanks!

I have 13 cards, and certainly don't try to maximize my rewards with all of them. I mentally keep them in categories:

Pure rewards: For when I don't need any special benefits, and just want to maximize rewards. I don't need an extended warranty on groceries or a haircut, for example.
Transaction-linked benefits: Price matching, extended warranties, travel insurance, etc.
Transaction-independent perks: Lounge access, hotel status, etc.
Other: The cards offers occasional reward promotions that are useful, but apart from that I don't really use them, and mostly keep them for history.
Keeping indefinitely: IHG, SchwabPlat, CSP, Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE, Hyatt
May close or PC: Prestige, Arrival, BrooksBros
AA Platinum converting into Costco

Might add: Proper business card, CSR, Ritz, Delta Gold, First Tech
Letting new accounts cool off since May

Kevin86475391
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Re: Tips on using multiple cards

Postby Kevin86475391 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 4:13 pm

I exclusively use cash back cards (I'm not interesting in any travel points because I don't and don't want to travel). So for me, I do just maximize the percentage I'm getting back. I have a couple of rotating 5% cards that I'll use first for 5% if it's in category spending and I haven't hit the quarterly cap. Then I have a cards that always get a fixed 3% or 2% on certain categories that I'll use if I can't get 5% on these things. Then finally I have some 2% everything cards that I'll use in lieu of the other two options. Last, I have 1 card with subpar .5-1% rewards that I use if I'm feeling iffy about a merchant or site, and I don't keep it in my wallet with my other cards, so it's sort of an 'emergency' card if I lose my wallet or get robbed or something.

Beyond the reward maximizing, my favorite reason for using multiple cards is that I very much like to put different types of expenses on different cards. I just naturally like to categorize my expenses this way and I find it very helpful for quickly seeing at a glance how much I've been spending on a given category. So while I might be getting 2% regardless, I'll put one type of expense on card A, another type on card B, and a third type on card C - and yeah the rewards come out the same either way, but I greatly prefer dividing it up like this and restricting certain expenses to certain cards. That's just my personal preference though, and it's the exact opposite of the 'simplicity' model a lot of other people seem to prefer. I actually prefer to do something similar with my deposit accounts and save/invest for different things/ways based on the account. I just naturally dislike all my assets and expenses lumped together in one or two accounts.

There can be benefits to lumping everything together such as potentially qualifying for better rates on asset accounts or concentrating rewards on credit accounts...but for me personally these benefits rarely outweigh my natural preferences.

Another general advantage of using multiple cards is of course that different cards offer different benefits. Of course it's best to pay your CC bills in full every month to avoid interest, but if you're not able to, you might benefit from having a low fixed rate card. Alternatively you may want to get some of the extended warranty protections CarefulBuilder mentioned, or price-rewind benefits. You may want a card that offers good balance transfer options. You may want a card that offers certain perks like VIP access to lounges, concierge service, trip cancellation insurance, car rental insurance waivers, etc. But all of these are different perks and benefits and you probably won't be able to get them all on the same card. So if a mixture of these benefits are important to you, it makes sense to have the options in place and use them as needed.

There's also the benefit of having other fallback options if you experience fraud on one account, or forget to activate a new card, or accidentally leave it at a restaurant or bar or something. If you have multiple cards it's no big deal to just grab another and then work on resolving the bigger issue. These things have all happened to me personally and I've really appreciated not having it actually interfere with my life and spending.

A less compelling IMO but still potentially valid reason is network acceptance. Most merchants take all major credit cards, but you still find places that won't take Amex or won't take Discover, and very very rarely but still sometimes places that won't take MC or Visa. If you can just use a different card from a different network, this isn't a problem.

rockyrock
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Re: Tips on using multiple cards

Postby rockyrock » Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:12 am

I have several cards but use only two for everyday purchases, both are cash back. Right now I'm also using Discover for Amazon and my Green Card to keep business purchases separated. I used to use more but I got tired of paying so many different bills each month.

I agree with what the others have stated. I add that an additional perk of using multiple cards is you build relationships with multiple issuers. These can come in handy as each issuer has it's own internal criteria for extending credit in any form. If you plan to apply for a mortgage with a certain institution, maybe you want to have a card issued by them--just make darn sure you keep a perfect payment record with them.

As always, YMMV.
American Express (2005): Green & Blue Cash Everyday
Chase: Freedom & UA Club USAA: Signature Visa & American Express
Discover it Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airlines WEMC Synchrony Sam's MC
Navy FCU Platinum Visa Citi Double Cash & AT&T Access MC

Stros05
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Re: Tips on using multiple cards

Postby Stros05 » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:29 am

I like cash back cards too. I have 4 amin ones that I use. I have had card numbers stolen. When that happens, I lose use of that card for a while. So, I like to have alternatives. I try to use one specific card for online shopping. Also, I use a different card for automatic payments. With the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, I can get cash back or travel rewards. I have redeemed both.

oldsoldier
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Re: Tips on using multiple cards

Postby oldsoldier » Fri Oct 21, 2016 11:48 am

I have my own little system that works for me. Its easy to remember and keeps most of my cards in the rotation.

Dining out: CSP/Citi Premier
Groceries : BOA Cash Rewards/AMEX
Misc: Cap One Quicksilver/AMEX
Monthly recurring charge: BOA Better Balance
Fuel: BOA Cash Reward/ Citi Premier
Amazon and Sams: Discover
Large purchases: NF Plat/AMEX
BoA Cash Rewards $13,000
Chase Sapphire Preferred $14,000
BoA Better Balance $12,000
Amex Every Day $24,000
Discover It $19,000
NFCU Cash Rewards $25,200
Barclay Arrival WMC $10,000
Cap One QuickSilver WMC $7,200
WF Cash back Visa Sig $11,000
Citi Thank You Premier $11,600

kdm31091
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Re: Tips on using multiple cards

Postby kdm31091 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:58 am

rockyrock wrote:I have several cards but use only two for everyday purchases, both are cash back. Right now I'm also using Discover for Amazon and my Green Card to keep business purchases separated. I used to use more but I got tired of paying so many different bills each month.

I agree with what the others have stated. I add that an additional perk of using multiple cards is you build relationships with multiple issuers. These can come in handy as each issuer has it's own internal criteria for extending credit in any form. If you plan to apply for a mortgage with a certain institution, maybe you want to have a card issued by them--just make darn sure you keep a perfect payment record with them.

As always, YMMV.


I'm basically in this camp. Some people really enjoy maximizing different rewards but I find it annoying having ten credit card bills to pay.

It's nice to have a relationship with several issuers, of course, but you're only going to need so many loans in your life. It's also not really 100% clear how much of a difference it makes if your profile is already very good either way. I'm not discrediting your point, just think sometimes it's the type of point people use as a crutch to apply for things they really do not need. (I don't think this applies to you, but some people on other sites definitely).

JonE
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Re: Tips on using multiple cards

Postby JonE » Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:25 am

Ultimately I'd like to have around 4-5 non-store accounts that I'd use regularly for different reasons. Already have Discover for Online Shopping including Amazon since the store card is kind of a stinker. Chase for general spending and recurring charges. Will probably convert the Freedom to an unlimited in the future to simplify. Sapphire Preferred or Reserve for dining out and travel, and maybe Amex EDP for Gas/Groceries/Department Stores. 2 points cards and 2 cash back cards. Maybe a 5th card to put emergency spending on. That's when I'd be done.
Wallet: Chase Freedom, Discover IT
Chopping Block: Synchrony
Future: TBD

thom02099
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Re: Tips on using multiple cards

Postby thom02099 » Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:31 pm

Now I think I should start using multiple cards because sooner or later I would need a loan to buy a house and I need to increase my credit ratings. I can manage if I use the cards wisely.

Why? Using multiple cards may or may not help to increase your credit rating. One can read all sorts of horror stories of folks who get in way over their heads, and others that keep encouraging that kind of behaviour. Conversely, there are folks who have just a handful of cards and are able to manage quite nicely. YOU have to decide what is best for YOU. If you decide that you want and can manage multiple cards, start slowly, get an additional card that best suits your needs at the moment. If you want to get an additional card, come up with pros and cons as to why you should get it and how it also meets your needs. For the love of everything that is holy, do not go on app sprees that are recklessly encouraged on other sites **coughcoughmyficocoughcough**

Your last sentence is the key. Using your cards wisely. You've received some excellent advice in posts above. Heed it.
Retired, and in the process of retiring cards!
EQ = 846 EX=828 TU = 836 as of 02/2016

Darrvao777
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Re: Tips on using multiple cards

Postby Darrvao777 » Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:37 pm

I agree with all the above

I used to spread my spending across a slew of cards

In the end, I found it was just easier to consolidate all my spending on one card. Easier to track for budgeting and especially for fraud.

I almost exclusively use my Amex Platinum card just because I like the service. I carry a 2% cashback Visa in case a place doesn't take Amex.
- Fidelity Visa
- Citi Double Cash
- Amazon Prime Store Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve



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