Earn more rewards and incur less debt with this quick guide.
Having a credit card is like having a whiny kid. You have to keep track of its progress, attend to its special needs, and, ultimately, make it earn rewards. You can’t just leave it alone to fend for itself. Having multiple credit cards, therefore, is—well, you get the picture.
But having kids, no matter how taxing, is never a bad thing, and so is having multiple credit cards. You just have to know use your smarts to manage them all well. It’s not easy, but it’s not rocket science either.
Here are a few tips on how to effortlessly own and handle multiple credit cards.
1. Get an exclusive reason for opening each credit card.
These days, there’s a wide array of credit cards at your beck and call. They’re all made to meet different needs and lifestyles. Getting multiple credit cards makes sense only if they have different key features. For instance, get a motoring credit card for gas and repairs while keeping another credit card for your everyday expenses. This way, you get the most out of the perks each card offers as well.
2. Try to align your cards’ due dates.
Monitoring all the bills can prove to be a headache. This gives you the danger of missing due dates and incurring huge interests and penalties. Keep track of the dates and integrate them in your monthly calendar. Furthermore, you may ask your credit card providers to move your due dates a day or two after payday to give leeway to possible delays in payment.
3. Use the right card for each purchase.
Learn to match each credit card with the type of purchase. For example, all your gas expenses go to your motoring credit card for rebates and points, while big-ticket items are billed on your top-tier credit card for maximum point earnings. Create a list of all the perks you can earn from each credit card and create a handy guide to using the right card for the right occasion.
4. Never let your credit cards go inactive.
Some people own multiple credit cards for contingency in case they max out their primary credit card. While this may be a bad reason to own a credit card—and cutting it abruptly is not an option since it can hurt your credit score—you really need to use all your cards every now and then. Credit card companies either lower your credit limit or ultimately close down your inactive accounts. Never allow yourself to reach that point.
5. When all else fails, cut the card.
Sometimes, it’s much easier to accept defeat than to continue mismanaging usage of your credit cards. In that case, don’t forget these two things when terminating your credit card: 1) Redeem your points first since they’re only good as long as your account is active; 2) Ask your issuer to see if they can transfer your points to one of your credit cards (provided they’re issued by the same bank). Keep in mind that prematurely terminating your account can hurt your credit score, but it is way better than getting a huge penalty on top of credit score dip when you accrue debt. —Dino Mari Testa