30 year old looking for first real CC for me + wife

Discuss the Visa & MasterCard payment networks as well as cards that operate through them.
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:07 am
Location: United States

30 year old looking for first real CC for me + wife

Postby OUGrad05 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:27 am

Ok guys/gals. Lot's of information and lot's of data to come.

  • I have had a couple of various store charge cards (mostly Best Buy) over my life. Haven't had one for years. So let me give you a brief rundown on my credit history...
  • First loan, age 17 dad co-signed for a 1,000 loan so I could make some car repairs. 12 month pay back, paid back in 6 mos.
  • Next was a car loan at 19 where I borrowed roughly 4,500 dollars on a 42 month loan. Paid it off in 15 months.
  • I got a Best Buy card somewhere around 19 (can't remember, but I worked there). Bought a laptop, paid it off in six months or so. Cancelled the card...
  • Applied for a "Structure" card about the same time, never got the card, never charged anything on it. It wound up "closed due to inactivity" after a few years.
  • Bought another car when I was 21, financed 4,200 for 36 months paid it off in about a year.
  • Bought our first house at 23, sold the house at 26.
  • Bought another car at 24, financed 11,000 for 60 months, paid it off in 16 months.
  • Bought another house at 26, still live there 40 months later. Home will be paid off April of this year (which is a reason for the cc's I'll explain more below).
  • Bought another car in 2009, paid the loan off within 60 days as soon as the old one sold. Did the same thing in 2010, paid it off with the first payment. (Didn't want mys avings dropping below X amount in both cases even though I had the money to pay for it. Waited for old car to sell and paid it off).
  • We refi'd our house in Feb09 and when I checked my score it ranged from a low of 796 to a high of 810 depending on which company it was.
  • My wife's ranged from a low of 804 to a high of 820.
  • We have excellent credit and are both looking for the best card for us. This is both of our first actual credit cards, not a department store card. We will have our home paid for in April and we need something to put our bills on and keep our FICO score active. As stupid as I feel it is, the FICO score seems essential to so many things from home/car insurance rates to new employment, etc.
Additionally, I believe there are some benefits to having a CC like the buffer between when I buy something and when it actually hits my bank account. This is becoming more important to me as we get older. IF something were to happen and a number got stolen it is far easier if it has never come out of your account...as opposed to having the bank or CU put the money back into your account.

We are wanting 1 credit card each, they can be the same or different, we don't really care. The number of options is quite overwhelming and sometimes confusing. Customer service is VERY important, I also want the service to be in the US. Purchase protection and extended warranty is also important.

I would prefer something with trip type rewards, we don't travel a lot but we will likely begin taking more short trips (as opposed to our yearly trip to Maui) in the near future since we just had our first baby and plan to have one more. This will put a damper on big expensive vacations until the kiddos are old enough to travel. Trips to Denver, Vegas, Yellowstone etc will all be in the cards the next few years.

We like traveling but don't do a lot of it. I do want a travel rewards card as does she. Cash back is also ok but would prefer travel rewards.

I plan to use the card to pay all our bills (except daycare, for some reason they only take discover or debit cards from Visa or Mastercard, go figure). I also plan to use the card for all purchases throughout the month. I generally eat out for lunch everyday...

My wife will be using her card for general purposes and groceries, however, we buy our groceries from Wal Mart Supercenter, Super Target and a local grocery store. It is my understanding "Grocery" purchases are not considered groceries if you buy them from Wal Mart Supercenter or Super Target. We do, however, spend 500ish/mo in groceries or grocery type expenses. But it seems most of that would only be at 1 point per dollar spent?

I think Amex Blue Cash and Chase Sapphire sound appealing to me. They don't have a lot of red tape, they don't have a lot confusing things like "rotating categories" which I think is stupid. I would assume the Chase Sapphire is classified as a "Visa"?

Are places like the Chase rewards mall any good? Do they charge retail for all the items listed or do you get actual competitive pricing on items like TV's or camera's? Do they have sales or discounts? (Home theater is one of my hobbies and I am likely snagging a new tv in the next 12 to 15 months. Time to retire the Pioneer Plasma and get something bigger :) ).

My income is 120k/yr, could be a bit more depending on how good bonuses are. My wife's income is roughly 30k/yr.

Again we both need our own card. Any thoughts, suggestions and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

If I've left off some important info, just ask and I can provide the info...

Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:07 am
Location: United States

Postby OUGrad05 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:21 pm

I should add, we're also considering the "Freedom" card. Perhaps one of us needs Freedom and the other "Sapphire"?

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Postby spartan3 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:24 pm

I am in a similar financial and family situation to you. My wife and I use the Sapphire Card as our primary card. We run nearly all our expenses through the Sapphire. I've had some form of Chase card since they took over Bank One and recently converted to the Sapphire Card. I like the Visa Signature benefits that come along with the Sapphire. Having someone answer immediately when you call customer service is amazing. Plus, Chase has been very reasonably is raising my credit limit any time I've requested. If you apply for a Sapphire I suggest you get the preferred to get the sign-up bonus and then convert the card to a "regular" Sapphire before you have to pay the yearly fee.

We use an Amex Premier Rewards Gold as our secondary card since we shop quite a bit at Costco. I am a big fan of the Amex website. However, I would urge you not to get an Amex as your primary card. Initially I tried to do this and I can't tell you the number of times I was told "sorry we don't take Amex." If you are going to get an Amex I would go for the Cash everyday card. We are probably going to switch to this once Amex runs a decent sign-up bonus. Unless you travel a ton it is not worth paying the annual fee.

Good luck on your decision.

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