HOW MANY CREDIT CARDS IS TOO MANY ?

 

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE TOO MANY CREDIT CARDS?

How many are too many? Is there a set rule or a prescribed limit? Apparently not from what I have read. But what I have found is that when I have to spend hours almost daily to monitor them, it is too many for me.

many credit cards
How many Credit Cards Should You Carry? from moneyunder30.com
HOW DID I END UP WITH SO MANY CREDIT CARDS?

When I discovered that cash reward credit cards could be a reliable way to reduce my monthly expenses, I started applying for them as often as I could. Of course, the idea was to get the largest promotional welcome bonus, the highest % of cash rewards as well as a substantial amount of available credit. Therefore for about the last three years, gathering cash reward credit cards has become a major pastime. Well, guess what? Now I have too many cards.

credit cards
From creditcard.com, One Credit Card or Many? How to Decide?
THE JOURNEY TO TOO MUCH

It has been a tremendously educational experience collecting all the cards I have. Primarily, it has helped and still helps to reduce my expenses. In addition, I have written many blog posts and several Ebooks about this. Doubtless, there will be more. But the most significant comment I can make at this time is that right now I have too many. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I have reached critical mass.

FICO score factors
There are Six Primary Credit Card factors in the major FICO® scoring system as illustrated by Credit Karma®

For most of this time, my primary concern has been focusing on the 5 or 6 FICO® credit score factors that go into building a good credit score. Certain cards have taken priority for charging purchases. Then it recently occurred to me that if I did not start using all of my cards, some could be closed for inactivity. That could affect my credit score negatively by lowering my available credit, changing the average length of time I have had cards and flagging too many closures. Low and behold, that is exactly what happened this week. One of my co-branded cards was closed without notice for inactivity.

Account-Closed
Credit Monitoring Alert from CreditSesame.com
HOW MANY CARDS DO I NEED?

I need enough cards to satisfy the FICO® score factors. Fortunately, I found a formula that I could use to determine how many cards to own, which ones to keep and those to phase out since I had surpassed critical mass. These are the factors I now consider in which cards to use:
a. the oldest aged accounts
b. those with the best credit line and lowest credit utilization ratio
c. the ones with optimal returns in my top spending categories
d. those that give me the maximum value for use with my favorite merchants, stores, airlines or hotels

straight flush credit card collection
Optimize the Credit Cards You Carry with A ‘ Straight Flush’
HOW MANY CARDS DO I WANT?

My sense is that I would like to have no more than ten at the most. For example, my ‘straight flush’ analogy illustrates most of them. Beyond that, I think that one or two travel cards are essential. Other than that, an additional card or two in the ‘straight flush’ formula would be OK too.

FICO® score 9/24/19
My FICO® score in September 2019 according to CreditJourney
CONCLUSION

I am at a new beginning. I have climbed the credit card mountain in excellent standing. Now it is time to descend the other side with equal care. Therefore future writings on this topic will involve reducing my load doing my best to maintain my great credit card standing while keeping also 6 FICO® score factors in balance.

SOURCES & RESOURCES

How Many Credit Cards Is Too Many?
How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?
Images of Many credit Cards

Improve your link text by avoiding competing links

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CREDIT CARD CRITICAL MASS

 

credit card critical mass
From Credit Karma, How Many Credit Cards Does the Average American Have?

WHAT IS CREDIT CARD CRITICAL MASS?

Credit card critical mass refers to the appropriate number and kinds of credit cards to have. How does one know what kinds to have? How many to have? When enough is enough? Then, when is how many too much, therefore, when is it time to stop collecting more or even cut back? What is the best way to cut back? This blog post will attempt to answer these questions. But keep in mind that the numbers and types of cards will vary depending upon the person, their lifestyle and needs.
 

COLLECTING CREDIT CARDS

When I started collected credit cards, I went through some very active phases. The reason for these was manifold:
a. building up my credit
b. getting promotional welcome bonuses
c. collecting cash rewards
d. establishing the best cash rewards rates
e. traveling bonuses

 

Straight flush
A straight flush similarity to an ideal collection of cash reward cards. Image from Dreamline.

THE CASH REWARDS SWEET SPOT

At one point in my credit card collecting, I realized that I had achieved a cash rewards credit card sweet spot. I compare this to a straight flush in the card game of poker. The blog post, A Two-Pronged Credit Card Rating System (Part 2 – June 2019) goes into detail about this. The straight cash rewards flush looks like this collection of credit cards:
6% for US supermarkets
5% for purchases at many cobranded store cards
4% for dining out
3% for gas
2% for health care services and items
1.5% for all purchases

 

REACHING CRITICAL MASS

In the collecting cards phase, I saw only the small picture. At the time I applied for a card, I found it a necessity. After a few years, I accomplished all of my above goals and then some. Not only did I reach my credit card critical mass but in retrospect, I surpassed it. How did I know that I had done this? That was easy to answer. I knew because the number of cards I had to deal with had become unmanageable.

Credit Card critical mass
Store Credit Cards image from rewardscreditcards.org

 

SURPASSING CRITICAL MASS

As the owner of many credit cards, I was forced to see the big picture and began to ask myself these questions:
a. how many cards did I really need?
b. what categories did I spend the most in?
c. with that in mind, which cards did I use most often?
d. which cards was I leaving dormant?
e. why was I having trouble keeping track of my card purchases when it came time to do my monthly accounting?
f. how could I make things more manageable?
g. when was enough, enough?
h. how could I safely cut back on the number of cards I had?

 

THE CREDIT CARD CRITICAL MASS FORMULA

Fortunately I found a formula I could use to determine about how many cards to own, which ones to keep and those to phase out since I had surpassed critical mass. These are the factors I now consider in which cards to use:
a. the oldest aged accounts
b. those with the best credit line and lowest credit utilization ratio
c. the ones with optimal returns in my top spending categories
d. those that give me the maximum value for use with my favorite merchants, stores, airlines. or hotels

credit-card-critical-mass
Credit Card Cash Reward Categories are similar to traffic signals, go, caution, turn at your own risk. This image is from Pixabay.

 

PHASE OUT RATHER THAN CLOSE CARDS

It is best not to close cards. Instead, let them phase out by letting them be dormant. Make sure that any card that has fees stays open only if it is useful by the above standards. Otherwise, close it to avoid any future fees if it is going to be dormant.
 

IN CONCLUSION

It is beneficial to have both network and co-branded cards when they have value. But it is wisest not to gather more cards than are really necessary. It can become a real nuisance to have too many cards to care for. On the other hand, it is great to have just enough to be helpful and profitable.

 

SOURCES & RESOURCES

1. Is 20 Cards Too Many To Own: How to Streamline Your Wallet
2. How Many Cards Is Too Many?
3. How to Cancel A Credit Card
4. How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?
5. How Many Credit Cards Does the Average American Have?
6. Network and Co-Branded Cards

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5 Different Types of Credit Cards

 

5 CREDIT CARD TYPES

5 credit card types
There are 5 Credit Card Types, image from Mortgagefit.com
According to Mortgagefit.com administrator’s blog, there are 5 credit card types. The image to the left illustrates them. They include:

5. co-branded credit

4. store credit

3. charge credit

2. general credit

1. secured credit

 

In addition, the following describes what they are. This is also according to their blog administrator. Keep in mind that the blog post is from 2011.

five credit card types
There are five types of credit cards according to Mortgagefit.com

 

5 TYPES OF CREDIT CARDS REDUCED TO THEIR ESSENTIAL 2 PLUS

In my opinion, the administrator’s blog post uses generic definitions. By today’s standards, they are not technical or simple. In addition, the post is dated. As a result, it is not exactly accurate by today’s standards. Therefore, I have attempted to clarify the types of credit cards that exist. In my blog post series written about credit cards, these are the types of credit cards:
1. network
2. co-branded
3. secured and unsecured

In my blog post, Different Types of Credit Cards And Their Best Uses, Part One – July 2019, network and co-branded are explained. Part Two in that series reviews network and co-branded cards as well as explores secure versus unsecured cards. To compare accurately, I want to explain each type individually, mine versus the Mortgagefit.com definitions.

#5.Co-branded

There is some agreement of terms between mine and Mortgagefit.com. #5.co-branded: #Co-branded credit cards: These cards are the same as general credit cards. But these cards have a “special relationship” with a particular organization or retailer. So, if you purchase goods/items from those particular organization or retailers, then you will be able to extra rewards and benefits. However, these cards can be used in other stores as well. A good example of such a card is Amazon.com credit card.”

#1.Secured Cards

“People who have a bad credit history or no credit history at all can take help of these secured cards. These secured cards are similar to that of general credit cards. However, in case of these cards, you must make a fully refundable deposit, either by cash or by sending a check. This deposited amount is considered as your credit line. As a result of this deposit, all the secured cards offer guaranteed approval.” This standard seems to work about the same today. So this card’s name and description are still solid. Here’s one card in both blog post comparisons.

But I find #4.store credit, #3.charge credit, and #2.general credit somewhat confusing. Therefore, I wish to simplify them to be more accurate by today’s standards. Otherwise, they should be eliminated.

#4.store credit, #3.charge credit, and #2.general credit

“General Credit Cards: A very common type of credit card is the general credit cards. Such credit cards don’t require any kind of security deposit and can be used in most stores/shopping malls or to make any kind of purchases.” This seems to describe both network and co-branded cards.

#Charge Cards: These cards are very similar to general credit cards. However, the major difference lies in that fact that unlike general credit cards, you will have to pay your total balance in full every month.” What does this remind you of by today’s standards? The only one, in my opinion, is what is called a store credit card. I find them to be minor players in the credit card count either way. I still find them confusing.

#Store Cards: These cards are similar to that of credit cards. However, these cards can only be used to buy goods at the store that has given you the card. Macy’s Credit Card is a good example of a store card.” These sound like store cards that are not backed by any banks. Therefore, I would combine charge cards and store cards into one kind of credit card. That reduces the number to four kinds of kinds from 5. In addition, I am still confused by charge cards today. I have about five of them. The only reason I got them is for the 5% discount when I charge merchandise in their stores.

CONCLUSION: A FINAL TALLY


What then is really the number of types of credit cards? Let’s look at each category.
1. Secured cards are definitely relevant today especially with people starting out to establish credit. But since they are offered by large banks, and can be upgraded, I do not give them their own category. Total of 0.
2. Somewhere in-store card, charge card, and a general credit card are what we call, the network and co-branding cards. They are unsecured cards and do not need their own category. Total of 2.
3. Charge cards are fazing out overshadowed by the above cards. In my opinion, they rate a total of 0.

It seems to me that one can not argue that there really are no more than two major types of credit cards as I presented in my recent blog posts, Different Types of Credit Cards And Their Best Uses, Part One – July 2019 and Credit Card Differences And The Best Uses of Each Type, Part Two – July 2019.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Please go to the comment box and share your thoughts with the world
 

COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS
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This is only a SAMPLE of the comment box that can be found and filled in at the bottom of this page as well as each blog post page.

Readers are welcome to comment on this blog post by scrolling down to the VERY bottom of the page. That is where you will find the comment form where the words ‘start the discussion’ are. Questions are also welcome. But it is best to contact me for Q&A on The Credit Card Maven Facebook Page.

SOURCES & RESOURCES

5 Different Types of Credit Cards

Different Types of Credit Cards And Their Best Uses, Part One – July 2019

two types of credit cards-network and co-branded

secured and unsecured cards

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Credit Card Differences And The Best Uses of Each Type, Part Two – July 2019

 

PART TWO, CREDIT CARD DIFFERENCES

In Part Two, I explore two areas of focus in Credit Card differences. They are network versus co-branded credit cards in addition to secured versus unsecured credit cards.

THE FIRST FOCUS AREA OF CREDIT CARD DIFFERENCES: NETWORK VERSUS CO-BRANDED CARDS

I will answer Credit Card differences in Part Two of Different Types of CreditCards and Their Best Uses. The first question I will answer is, ‘Why get network cards’? Then, ‘Why get store co-branded cards’? And finally, ‘What is the difference’?

NETWORK CREDIT CARDS

Referring back to Part One, it was explained that there are four types of major network credit cards, AMERICAN EXPRESS, DISCOVER, VISA, and MASTERCARD. Purchases can be charged just about anywhere with these cards. But there are no interest-free payment plans available.

credit card differences
There are four major credit card types or networks: American Express, Discover Cards, VISA, and MasterCard. Image from Cardrates.com

 

COBRANDED CREDIT CARDS

In contrast, co-branded credit cards offer interest-free payment plans. This is what makes them an essential part of credit card differences. The banks that these cards cobrand with are rarely major banks. That is because their primary purpose is cobranding not checking, savings, etc.

credit card differences
Co-branded credit cards from The EXtravel.com
cobranded credit card
Here is an example of special interest free financing with Shop Your Way (Sears/Kmart) cobranded by Citibank

 

CONCLUSION TO NETWORK VERSUS COBRANDED CREDIT CARDS

Thus a prudent mix of both types of cards is the optimal way to benefiting from credit card differences, the best percentages of cash rewards available combined with interest-free, overtime purchase payments. The blog post A Two-Pronged Credit Card Rating System (Part 2 – June 2019) reviews the reason to get a straight flush scenario with the major network cards.

 

credit-card-differences
A straight flush compared to a winning hand of cash reward cards. Image from Dreamline.

 

THE SECOND FOCUS AREA IN CREDIT CARDS: SECURED VERSUS UNSECURED CARDS

The above questions about network versus cobranded cards will be followed by an explanation of the difference between secured versus unsecured credit cards. On top of that, information about more cobranding banks that were mentioned in the last post will be discussed. Links will be provided in the SOURCES & RESOURCES area, as well.

 
Quoted from 5 Types of Credit Cards, “People who have a bad credit history or no credit history at all can take help of these secured cards. These secured cards are similar to that of general credit cards. However, in case of these cards, you must make a fully refundable deposit, either by cash or by sending a check. This deposited amount is considered as your credit line. As a result of this deposit, all the secured cards offer guaranteed approval.”

Quoted from the ‘General Credit Cards’ section from the same post, “General Credit Cards: A very common type of credit card is the general credit card. Such credit cards don’t require any kind of security deposit and can be used in most stores/shopping malls or to make any kind of purchases.” This definition would include what we call an unsecured, network credit card or co-branded card.

 

IN CONCLUSION

As stated earlier, there are really only two kinds of cashback credit cards, network and cobranded. In fact, the secured or unsecured featured is really just a qualification. But it is not its own category as the post 5 Different Types of Credit Cards states.

 

COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS
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This is only a SAMPLE of the comment box that can be found and filled in at the bottom of this page as well as each blog post page.

Readers are welcome to comment on this blog post by scrolling down to the VERY bottom of the page. That is where you will find the comment form with the words ‘start the discussion’. Questions are also welcome. But it is best to contact me for Q&A on The Credit Card Maven Facebook Page.

 

SOURCES & RESOURCES

Synchrony Business

What Are Co-branded Credit Cards from The EXTraveler

5 Different Types of Credit Cards

Co-branded credit cards from Wallet Hub

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Different Types of Credit Cards And Their Best Uses, Part One – July 2019

 

THERE ARE TWO MAJOR TYPES OF CREDIT CARDS

credit cards from image Wikipedia
credit cards from Wikipedia
FIRST TYPE: NETWORK CARDS

There are two overall credit card types, network, and cobranded retail store cards. Within these types, there are four network types of cards AMEX, Discover, VISA, and MASTERCARD as well as hundreds of cobranded retail store cards.

This can lead to a great deal of confusion in choosing what to apply for and obtain. Therefore, the goal of this post is to untangle the confusion by identifying the types, networks as well as cobranded ones that exist to distinguish and choose between them. This way, one will have the advantage of applying for and using the best cards while avoiding problematic or less valuable ones.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Besides this post’s specific information, one can find the recently published blog post series on ‘A Credit Card Rating System’. For additional reading, it is filled with information about my helpful Credit Card Rating System in a five-part series.

 

cash-rewards--card-system
The traffic signal is the primary visual for this blog series. This image is from Pixabay.
A CREDIT CARD RATING SYSTEM BLOG SERIES
A Credit Card Rating System Introduction

The Rating System Used for Cash Back Credit Cards (Series Part 2 – June 2019)

Excellent Cash Reward Cards (Part 3 – June 2019)

Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (Part 4 – June 2019)

Risky Cash Reward Credit Cards (Part 5-June 2019)

 

 

CREDIT NETWORK CARDS

To begin with, there are four networks or ‘major’ Credit Cards. In fact, they are the pillars of the credit card world. Specifically, the first two listed have no bank affiliations. Within them, Discover has the most international acceptance. Then the second two partner with large banks. These cards networks are:

1. AMERICAN EXPRESS (AMEX)

2. DISCOVER

3. MASTERCARD

4. VISA

credit card types
There are four major credit card types or networks: American Express, Discover Cards, VISA, and MasterCard. Image from Cardrates.com

 

SECOND TYPE: CO-BRANDED STORE CREDIT CARDS

Store Credit Cards
Store Credit Cards image from rewardscreditcards.org
Next are the store credit cards. There is a significant difference between them and the major network credit cards category. That is their tendency to be backed by smaller banks and their primary function which is to provide no-interest payment plans for making large purchases (hundreds to thousands of dollars) at major retail stores.

EXPLANATION OF CO-BRANDED CARDS

Here’s an explanation of why cobranded cards are so valuable to have as part of the ideal mix of the two major types of credit cards.

best store credit cards
The Benefits of Co-Branded Cards in Your Pocket from an unknown source

 

BEST STORE CREDIT CARDS

What banks do these cards cobrand with? Let’s take a look. This section actually has a list of of some of them as well as the bank affiliations they have.

best store credit cards
Best Store Credit Cards according to WalletHub.com

Best Retail Store CC
Best Retail Store Credit Cards and the banks that cobrand them. Enlargment of above image

 

BANKS THAT COBRAND THE BEST STORE CREDIT CARDS

According to WalletHub.com, this is a list of the banks that cobrand the best store credit cards.
Amazon.com Store Card-Synchrony Bank
Costco Anywhere-Citibank
Target-TD Bank
TJX Store Card-Synchrony Bank
Kohl’s Credit Card-Capital One
Fingerhut Credit Account-WebBank

 

MORE ABOUT THE BANKS THAT COBRAND STORE CREDIT CARDS

Synchrony Bank Cards
Many stores are cobranded by Synchrony Bank to offer a huge variety of choices
Synchrony Bank

Synchrony Bank specializes in cobranded credit cards. Offering cards that are tailored to particular customers, they have credit cards for store brands, gas stations and more.

“Most are offered with no annual fee and some have excellent rewards available. Synchrony Bank credit cards can be a good choice if you’d like to earn and redeem rewards with a particular brand.” From Synchrony Cards report by US News

 

Although the following also cobranded with the top retail banks, they will not be gone into in detail at this point. With one exception, Comenity bank which cobrands with 91 retailers will be explored in detail after the list of the other four top cobranding banks.
Citibank
TD Bank
Capital One
WebBank

Comenity Bank
Comenity Bank
91 Comenity Bank partners with retail credit cards from UpgradedPoints.com
Comenity Bank cogrand
Comenity Bank cobrands with many store credit cards with fleible benefits, quote from upgradedpoints.com

 

WHAT’S NEXT IN PART TWO

The following issues will be explored in Part Two of this topic, Different Types of Credit Cards And Their Best Uses. Why get network cards? Why get store brand cards? Secured versus unsecured credit cards.

 

COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS
comment box sample only

This is only a SAMPLE of the comment box that can be found and filled in at the bottom of this page as well as each blog post page.


Readers are welcome to comment on this blog post by scrolling down to the VERY bottom of the page. That is where you will find the comment form where the words ‘start the discussion’ are. Questions are also welcome. But it is best to contact me for Q&A on The Credit Card Maven Facebook Page.

 

SOURCES & RESOURCES

Types of Credit Cards from Card Rates

International Credit Card Acceptance from Nerd Wallet

2019’s Best Store Credit Cards

Top Store Credit Cards

Synchrony bank sponsored Credit Cards from USNews.com

Comenity Bank Store Credit Cards

The 10 Worst Store Credit Cards

From thebalance.com, store credit cards are different from credit cards

What Co-branded Cards Are

Credit Card Issuers versus Networks from Credit Card Insider

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Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (Part 4 – June 2019)

 
Mixed cash rewards are the category of cards that most cash reward cards fit into. Therefore, this blog post will offer much details about this category. Unlike Green Go cards that have excellent ratings, these mixed benefit cards can have many pros and cons. Because of this, I refer to them as yellow light cards. Their mix of offerings can make it very difficult to decide whether to go or to stop from securing one.

CASH REWARD CREDIT CARD RATINGS

mixed-cash-reward-benefits
To make this easier to understand, the rating system for Cash Reward Credit Cards is similar to how traffic signals control vehicular movement. Image is from Pixabay.

In order to make the most of mixed cash reward credit cards, one should first compile a list of the pros and cons of the cards being considered. I recommend applying for only one card at a time. Let me explain how the mixed category works.

THREE CASH REWARD CARDS BENEFIT CATEGORIES

As described in previous posts in this series, Cash Reward credit cards can be divided into three types of benefit categories. This is similar to how a traffic signal directs vehicular activity. Both the GREENLIGHT and REDLIGHT signal are fairly straight forward in their comment. The former directs one to GO while the latter clear indicates STOP.

But the middle or mixed category does neither clearly. In fact, it leaves the decision up to the driver. That person must make a judgment call on their own. In spite of this, a judgment call does not have to be made blindly.
 


GREEN LIGHT credit card cash reward cards detailed in the blog post Excellent Cash Reward Credit Cards (June 2019)

YELLOW LIGHT cash reward cards and qualities are detailed in this blog post, Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (June 2019)

RED LIGHT means to seriously consider avoiding a particular cash reward card with overwhelming drawbacks.


mixed-cash-rewards-benefits
The yellow ‘caution’ light traffic signal from Pixaday images.
YELLOW LIGHT CASH REWARD CARDS

So far, all the credit cards mentioned in this series have no annual fees. But cards that do have annual fees can pay substantially more rewards, like the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express®. For the privilege of the much higher cash reward levels, there is an annual fee of $95. Coincidently, there is also a signup bonus of $250. Right there, the annual fee is offset. For the most part, I prefer not to get cards with annual fees. Somehow, money needs to be made available to pay the fee each year.

MAKING A JUDGMENT CALL

This works well for people with savings. But it may not be practical for Former Middle-Class people who barely make ends meet on a monthly basis to allow for this. Saving up $95 for the annual fee tends to be a luxury reserved for the Middle Class. But, in spite of my limited funds, I made a judgment call and went for a card with an annual fee. My thinking was as follows.

Normally, I get 3% cashback for groceries. Figuring charges of around $400/month for groceries at 3% gives me a return of $12/month. That becomes $24/month at 6%. Over a year, I make an additional expense reduction of $120. That pays for the annual fee of $95. In addition, the promotional signup bonus is $250. This is clearly a win-win situation. I just have to make sure I have the annual fee put aside each year. Another point in its favor is that the total of necessary charges. It is $1000 in 3 months. That is the same as many other cards with fewer benefits.

mixed-cash-reward-cards
The Blue Cash Preferred Cash Rewards Credit Card can be an excellent choice for grocery shopping and gas. But you need to pay a $95 annual fee. Recommended by Best Cash Back Credit Cards (June 2019)

 

MAKE THE BEST FIT FOR A GIVEN CATEGORY

Also, check the fit as described in the third post poker analogy. Does it fit into the % flush or straight flush? Does it have the most benefits for type category you want a card in? Refer back to Blog Post 3as a helpful example. Also refer to the example below.

HOME IMPROVEMENT CARDS

If you are looking to form an ongoing credit card charging relationship with a home improvement superstore, controversy reign on which store and credit card are best. Lowe’s seems to outrank The Home Depot. Also see the review of the Barclaycard in the Sources & Resources Section at the end of this post.

 

[caption id="attachment_19475" align="alignleft" width="703"]Mixed cahs reard cards At first glance, a great deal. But read the fine print.

MORE CONSIDERATIONS

Green Go cards are clearly transparent in what makes them excellent considerations for cash reward cards. Yellow mixed consideration cards are not as straight forward. Then, the pros and cons need to be weighed more carefully to decide if one in this category is a good choice. Consider the amount of a promotional bonus they pay. Know the % of return and any limitations regarding that. See which side of the scale they tip to, more pros or more cons.

Check the fine print. That means the not obvious, hidden qualities of the card. As a matter of fact, these can result in more negative than positive qualities. For example, the Barclaycard account sounds good at first glance. But it does have one major drawback. I know of no other card with this drawback. Surprisingly it does not pay cash rewards until $50 worth has been accumulated. So beware of such fine print. In addition, Some other cards charge no annual fee for the first year but do charge one after that.

 

CONCLUSION

The final post in this series will focus on the qualities and kinds of cards that are in the RED signal area. They should be avoided or pursued with the utmost caution. Because they are risky, sometimes that makes them plain unsuitable in my opinion. In addition, the risk is like making a right turn on red when you’re not sure there was a sign indicating that it is okay to do so. Or you make the turn without looking so see if a card is coming from your left. Beware Risky Cash Reward Cards

Here are the links to this five-part series about my Credit Card Rating System:
Introduction to A Credit Card Rating System
The Rating System Used for Cash Back Credit Cards (Series Part 2 – June 2019)
Excellent Cash Reward Cards (Part 3 – June 2019)
Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (Part 4 – June 2019)
Risky Cash Reward Credit Cards (Part 5-June 2019)

Please note: I am not a certified financial planner or professional advisor. These blog posts about the use of credit cards are based on my own experience which I freely share. But I can take no legal or financial responsibility for the results you may have in attempting to follow my system. But I do wish you the best and welcome your comments and questions at the VERY end of this post. You will have reached the end because you can not scroll down any further. As well, you will have reached the comment form.

 

SOURCES RESOURCES

Compare Cards: Best Cards for Cash Back

Nerd Wallet | Credit Cards Market Place

How Cash Back Credit Cards Work

Credit Cards for Home Improvement

Barclaycard CashForward World Mastercard

Best Credit Cards For Gas

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Excellent Cash Reward Cards (Part 3-June 2019)

 
This post, excellent cash reward cards is the third in this series. By now readers most likely understand that in order to choose excellent cash reward cards including the excellent benefits they offer, it is key to have a reliable cash reward credit card rating system. Then one can best evaluate the quality of any card being considered.
 

A CASH REWARD CREDIT CARD RATING SYSTEM

excellent-cash-rewards-cards
My system for rating Cash Reward Credit Cards has two parts. First there is the similarity to how traffic signals regulate traffic.

TO REVIEW IN GENERAL

As a rule, cash reward credit cards offer all kinds of cash benefits as compensation for making purchases with them. In order to make the most of cash reward credit card choices, you need to know a card’s pros and cons.

As a matter of fact, excellent cash reward cards tend not to have much of anything in the way of drawbacks. In other words, you want to pick a card that bats as close to 1000 as possible. That is the purpose of an excellent cash rewards card.

With this in mind, once you know what to look for and what to avoid, then you’ll have the tools necessary to plan for the best card with the most benefits. In other words, an excellent rated card. Let’s look at this more closely.

 

 

GREEN LIGHT CREDIT CARD CASH REWARD CARDS
cash-rewards-considerations
Green light adapted from a Pixaday image.

Greenlight cash reward credit cards offer these types of benefits:
1. good to excellent percentages on cash rewards (3-5%)
2. $150-$200 promotional bonus for opening an account and even more on cards with annual fees
3. cash rewards are available in any amount at any time
4. rewards redemption is possible by a variety of methods
5. choose from several categories for top rewards rate
6. payment date and statement closing dates can be changes

cash-reward-considerations
The Bank of America® 2019 Top Rated Cash Reward Credit Card Mastercard is a ‘green light’ card. Specifically, it has a 5-star rating from CompareCards® by Lending Tree

 

 

 

 

 

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards MasterCard

excellent-cash-rewards-cards
Green light adapted from a Pixaday image.
One cash rewards credit card that provides all of the qualities listed below is the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Mastercard. In fact, it has been rated No. 1 in Cash Reward Credit Cards for 2019 repeatedly on websites like comparecards.com.

The benefits include:
a. $200 promotional signup bonus
b. 3% reward in a specific categories
c. user can choose which category gets 3% from several options
d. cash rewards accumulated are available in any amount at any time
e. no annual fee

 

 

 

 

excellent-cash-rewards-benefits
Another top rated card is the Capital One® Quicksilver Card which also has an excellent rating of 4 1/2-stars from NerdWallet.com.
Capital One® Cash Rewards Quicksilver MasterCard

excellent-cash-rewards-cards
Green light adapted from a Pixaday image.
Also a highly rated cash rewards credit card is the Capital One® Quicksilver Card. It’s only possible drawback is the 1.5 percentage rate on cash rewards. But that is still better than getting only 1%. Besides, rewards are available at any time. As a result, the following benefits clearly outweigh the drawbacks on some other cards with a higher % rate.

The benefits include:
a. $150 promotional signup bonus
b. 1.5% everywhere, on everything
c. redeem any amount of rewards at any time
d. no annual fee ever

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

There’s more to come. Here are the links to all five posts in this series about my Credit Card Rating System:
Introduction to A Credit Card Rating System
The Rating System Used for Cash Back Credit Cards (Series Part 2 – June 2019)
Excellent Cash Reward Cards (Part 3 – June 2019)
Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (Part 4 – June 2019)
Risky Cash Reward Credit Cards (Part 5-June 2019)

Please note: I am not a certified financial planner or professional advisor. These blog posts about the use of credit cards are based on my own experience which I freely share. But I can take no legal or financial responsibility for the results you may have in attempting to follow my system. But I do wish you the best and welcome your comments and questions at the VERY end of this post. You will have reached the end because you can not scroll down any further. As well, you will have reached the comment form.

SOURCES & RESOURCES
Compare Cards: Best Cards for Cash Back

Nerd Wallet | Credit Cards Market Place

Best Cash Back Credit Cards from WalletHacks.com

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A Two-Pronged Credit Card Rating System (Part 2 – June 2019)

 

A TWO-PRONGED CASH REWARD CREDIT CARD RATING SYSTEM

I’ve developed a credit card rating system that is very helpful in choosing Cash Reward Credit Cards. Specifically, the system analyses what particular cash rewards credit cards can and can’t do to help lower my monthly charged expenses at any given time.

THE TRAFFIC SIGNAL SYSTEM

cash-rewards-rating-system
My system is similar to the way a traffic signal works. The image is from Pixabay.

To start, the first part of the system is analogous to how a traffic signal operates. In other words, Cash Reward Credit Cards offer percentages of cash benefits to cardholders for charging purchases on their cards. Then, there are a variety of different qualities to benefit from.

To make the most of cash reward credit cards, become familiar with the benefits of all the cash reward credit card accounts being considered. As a refresher to the first post in this series, cash reward credit cards use can be divided into three benefits categories. For example, this is similar to a three-colored traffic signal. Thus, I have named the cash reward credit cards as reflections of the actions to take in response to traffic signal lights:

 

 

GREEN LIGHT indicates a clear go-ahead signal
YELLOW LIGHT suggests proceeding with some degree of caution
RED LIGHT urges avoiding or proceeding at one’s own risk

Study and choose carefully. As mentioned, this is because cash reward credit cards do not all have the same qualities or rates of return. In fact, they can be very different. As a result of studying each card’s personality, one will become familiar with the specific qualities. That way, a person will have an idea of how to plan for the most beneficial outcome. This means studying how best to use each card on its own. It includes observing the power of using them in combination with others.

CREDIT CARD TEAM WORK

In fact, cash reward credit cards work best as a team. Let me explain how this works. Different cards offer a different % of cashback for different categories of purchases. Thus, the ideal situation is to gather a group of the highest rate of cash return for each of the card categories that one uses most. For example, if one charges mostly for groceries and gas each month, the goal would be to acquire cards that pay the highest rate in these categories. In fact, these days that can be between 3% to 5%, and even 6%.

cash-reward-rating-system
A straight flush compared to a winning hand of cash reward cards. Image from Dreamline.

LET’S PLAY CASH REWARDS POKER

Ironically, credit card teamwork actually reminds me of a winning hand in the card game of poker. In comparing the two, one would want to come up with cards of the same suit. But each with a different card in numerical order. This is known as a straight flush. See the example above. In actuality, the only difference is that in the game of poker there are only 5 playing cards. But in my credit card system, there are ideally 6 credit cards. Therefore, a winning hand would be 6 cards with these percentages in the categories listed:

6% for US supermarkets
5% for all purchases on a store card
4% for dining out
3% for gas
2% for health care
1.5% for all purchases

Here’s a tip from James Wang of WalletHacks.com. Be certain to label credit cards with a magic marker to remind you what card to use for what category of purchase and % of the return. By doing this, you won’t forget and use the wrong card. Remember, you want to get the highest percentage of cash return out of each purchase. For that reason, this clever trick is invaluable.

CONCLUSION

Note that the next three blog posts in this series will specifically explore two things. First, each of the qualities of cash reward credit cards will be explored. Then specific cards will be analyzed. An easy way to remember the categories is Green for GO, Yellow for CAUTION, and Red for AVOID or proceed at your own risk!
Here are the links to all five posts in this series:

Introduction to A Credit Card Rating System (Series Part 1 – June 2019)
The Rating System Used for Cash Back Credit Cards (Series Part 2 – June 2019)
Excellent Cash Reward Cards (Part 3 – June 2019)
Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (Part 4 – June 2019)
Risky Cash Reward Credit Cards (Part 5-June 2019)

Please note: I am not a certified financial planner or professional advisor. These blog posts about the use of credit cards are based on my own experience which I freely share. But I can take no legal or financial responsibility for the results you may have in attempting to follow my system. But I do wish you the best and welcome your comments and questions at the VERY end of this post. You will have reached the end because you can not scroll down any further. As well, you will have reached the comment form.

 

SOURCES & RESOURCES

Credit Card Categories, Sign Up Incentives and Cash Rewards

How To Compound Cash Rewards

Nerd Wallet | Credit Cards Market Place

The Former Middle Class Ebook Series

U.S. News’ 10 Best Cash Back Credit Cards

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