In the interest of consolidating the number of bills, accounts and general financial noise in our lives, my wife and I scaled back some months ago to two credit cards. At one time we had several more opened for store accounts, gas cards, etc. I carry one of the remaining credit cards in my wallet for gas purchases only, and the other stays at home.
The credit card stored at home is our oldest account, in both our names, so we keep it open for general credit health and in case of some major emergency. We use it a couple times a year to keep it somewhat active, usually to pay a utility, and then pay it off when the bill arrives.
Out of curiosity, I surveyed Twitter followers and of those that carried at least one credit card the average number in follower’s wallets was two – often reported as “one personal, one for business.”
While I certainly don’t miss the credit cards we’ve eliminated (nor their balances), I do miss some of the rewards programs and their perks. Of course, these perks are dwindling as credit cards issuers pull back on bonuses in the currect economic environment.
Another aspect of carrying more than one card was the idea of having a backup. It was a mental block, really – just an excuse to keep more than one card in my wallet. Seriously, I couldn’t tell you more than one or two times in my entire life that my primary credit card did not work (and at least one of those times it was because I had maxed out the small limit).
Now days I carry a debit card for 90% of my purchases, and that would be a sufficient backup if my gas card failed me. Funny how we rationalize the need to have more than one credit card.
When I worked in the credit card industry I used to talk to customers who had a card for each budget category. Can you imagine having six cards in your wallet labeled – food, entertainment, gas, utilities, clothing, etc? Actually, it’s not a bad idea, but who wants to keep up with six credit card bills!
So tell us, how many credit cards do you have in your wallet? Is this number higher or lower than it was a year ago?