You might be wondering what is the best card to use (or get) for different categories of spending. Or you may simply be wondering what card to use for what purchase. If you spend money in any one of these categories then you might consider applying for one of the corresponding cards with that category if you don’t already have it. Often times these cards will come with annual fees but the cash back you receive from using the card will pay for itself and then some. If you are not using a credit card on your purchases you are throwing away free money. We want to help you get money back in your pocket when you have to make any purchase and these cards WILL do just that. In this article I have taken into consideration 3 things in my selections:
Value of return
Value of the current sign up bonus
Your job is to narrow down what category your needs fit into; then, either reach out to us to get a recomendation, or, if you feel confident, select one of the options from this list. Be sure to use our links! Without further ado, here are my recomendations…
Whether you have one credit card or twenty-one (yes that amount is okay) credit cards, I can guarantee you that you are missing out on rewards if you don’t have a Credit Card Strategy. Regardless of whether or not you have FOMO, you should be asking yourself what your immediate AND long-term financial needs are. For example, if you need to pay off some past debt, then you need a card with 0% APR such as the Amex EveryDay Credit Card. However, your goal should not only be to meet your immediate need but also planning ahead for your future needs such as flights or hotel nights or even extra cash. The great advantage of collecting some points or miles before you need them is so that you can use them rather than paying out of pocket with cash. This takes time and preparation and this is what a Credit Card Strategy will help you with.Putting a strategy in place and preparing for the future is all part of being able to Do Good.
Whether you have FOMO (fear of missing out) like me or not…
…YOU NEED A STRATEGY. It is always wise to have a plan and there is no difference when it comes to applying for credit cards.
If you want to be wise then here are 3 quick steps toward establishing a Credit Card Strategy
Step 1: Ask Yourself 5 Questions
An easy first step to starting your strategy is by answering these 5 simple questions:
1.) What is my immediate need?
2.) What will I need this year?
3.) Do I have a big expense coming up?
4.) Am I eligible for Chase cards now? If not, when?
5.) Is there any reason I shouldn’t get a/another credit card?
Knowing your immediate needs will help you identify your coming needs which will enable you to plan your purchases in order to meet the spend requirement for your next credit card.
Step 2: Create Your Portfolio
What is a credit card portfolio? It is a simple tool to help:
Know your credit history
Prepare for coming annual fees
Maximize referral offers
Plan for the future
Notice that if you are married or working with your friend, you can both get the same cards not only to pool your points together but also to take advantage of referral bonuses.
“Chase 5/24 Eligibility” means that you can only open a chase card if you have opened less than 5 new accounts within the past 24 months (business cards do not count).
“AMEX 5P” means that you can only hold 5 opened AMEX personal cards at any given time (5 personal cards and 5 charge cards).
The dark blue boxes show the cards you are preparing for
Step 3: Get A Coach
The number one way to reach any goal is to do it WITH someone who will keep you accountable! This is the mission of Points On Purpose – to personally coach you through your unique situation. This is what makes us different. Rather than prescribing general advice across the board to everyone, we want to connect with you personally so we can encourage you, give you tailored information, keep you safe through accountability, and ultimately help you Travel Free!
Now it is up to you to reach out – firstname.lastname@example.org
FEATURED CREDIT CARD
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is at its highest-ever sign up bonus of 60,000 points. This is not a limited time offer but it might be the best offer out there right now. On top of the $750 towards travel you will receive trip insurance, rental car insurance, purchase protection, and a lot more. If you are able to get this card I would act fast.
The number one response I hear from people who are skeptical about credit cards is, “They want you to get their card so that you will go into debt and have to pay them interest.”There are two issues to deal with here and they come from fear and shame.
Fear of going into debt is what comes from not stewarding well. There is no reason you should ever have to go into debt with a credit card unnecessarily. We will never advocate for racking up unnecessary expenses on a credit card and if you use your credit card as you would cash or a debit card then you have nothing to fear. I pay my cards off a couple times a month for three reasons:1.) So that I am aware of what I am spending 2.) It helps to improve your credit score if you keep your balance low even if the payment is not due. 3.) Many people get paid weekly which makes it easier to pay off your card each week rather than a big amount all at once, down the road.
Shame from being in debt is real. Three weeks ago I was coaching a friend with his credit journey and he was telling me about all the improvements he has made since we started working together. Then he said this, “It has been so encouraging for me to have your help with this because it is something many people struggle with, but nobody talks about.” Listen, this is exactly why we use this blog – to connect with you personally and walk alongside you, so that together we can Do Good, Steward Well, & Travel Free!That means free of fear and shame too!
“The good news is that I have been freed from an incredible amount of debt and so can you.”
IF YOU are in one of these two places of fear or shame, please send us a message so we can get in the pit with you!
#2. INTEREST (the reason they want you to apply)
It may help to know that credit card companies don’t make all of their money through the interest you pay when you go into debt. Credit card companies are not trying to deceitfully lure you into a trap of paying them interest, because they make vast amounts of money in ways that don’t even effect you. One of the main ways they make profit is from stores that allow you to pay with a credit card. For example – Kohls pays American Express a portion of their sale every time anyone swipes an American Express credit card. This is why many cards come with a big cash bonus for you if you spend a certain amount within a given period of time. Card companies want you to swipe their card rather than another banks card because they receive a portion of the retailers sale when you do so.
#3. TOO MANY CARDS HURT YOUR CREDIT SCORE
The statement that, “too many credit cards is bad for your credit score” is actually opposite of the truth. The more accounts you have, the better your score is. When you apply for several cards in a short period of time it may lower your score a few points for a short time but your score will increase quickly as you have added more accounts.
#4. CARRYING A BALANCE HELPS YOUR CREDIT SCORE
FALSE. You should never carry a balance if you don’t have to. As long as you are using your cards as normal (for everyday purchases) then there isn’t any reason to leave a balance on your card even if it has 0% APR.
#5. LINE OF CREDIT IS THE AMOUNT YOU CAN SPEND
FALSE. Just because your credit card says you can spend up to $4,000 does not mean you should spend that all at once. In fact, you should never really spend much more than half of your credit limit at a time. This means that if your line of credit is $4,000 then you shouldn’t spend more than $2,000 – $2,500 before you pay off the balance (even if the balance isn’t due until later). Once you pay it off you are free to spend on the card again. If you have a low credit limit and need to spend more on your card, think of applying for another card if it makes sense for you. Or you can call the bank and ask for an increase in your line of credit.
#6. CLOSE OR DOWNGRADE UNUSED CARDS
When should I close an account?
It is not always true that you should close a card that you are no longer using but, if you hold a card with an annual fee that you aren’t getting value out of then it could be better to close the card rather than downgrading.
When should I downgrade an account?
If you have a card that you aren’t using, it can help your length of credit history to keep it even if you never use it. Moreover, if you downgrade an account rather than closing it, then there is a possibility that the downgraded card will show up as a new account on your credit profile.
If you’re considering doing one of these two things but don’t know which option is better for your situation, just ask us in the “comments” section or send us an email.
#7. CREDIT CARDS WILL HURT YOU
Credit cards can’t hurt you unless you use them incorrectly rather than as tools to help yourself. It is like saying that drinking water will harm you. Water actually helps you unless you drink too much of it.
So jump in! Stay informed! And don’t be afraid to give it a try!