There are advantages and disadvantages to sticking with a single card.
- Different credit cards offer different benefits.
- While loading all your expenses onto a single card might make it easier to track your spending, you might also miss out on a number of benefits.
Some people have a policy of charging all their expenses to one credit card. Other consumers can use up to 10 different cards, or more, at any given time. If the idea of having to juggle multiple balances seems overwhelming, you may want to stick to using a single credit card. But is that the best move?
The advantage of a credit card wallet
What’s the best reason to limit yourself to just one credit card? You’ll find it easier to track your spending and stay on top of your monthly payments.
Let’s say you charge everything from cable to gas to groceries on the same credit card week after week. If you want to make sure you don’t overspend, you can simply log into your account and see what your balance looks like. You won’t have to add that balance to other balances.
Plus, if you’re only using a single credit card, you can put your payment due date on your calendar and avoid running into a situation where you fall behind on your payments. If you decide to use six or seven credit cards at once, you will have to manage six or seven payment due dates.
The downside of a credit card wallet
Sticking with just one credit card may seem like an easy fix. But by doing so, you could miss out on rewarding benefits.
Let’s say you have a credit card that gives you extra cash back for gas and groceries, but doesn’t come with travel perks like free checked bags on airlines. Those are money-saving perks you shouldn’t give up so quickly, especially if you tend to travel a lot.
Also, different credit cards come with different categories of rotating rewards. So let’s say your card offers extra cash back at department stores and restaurants at certain times of the year, but no bonus for hardware stores. If you’re a new homeowner and expect to do a lot of work on your property this year, it might be worth finding a credit card that has a period during which purchases at the hardware store result in an additional refund.
Finally, perhaps you shop frequently at the same retailer. If you get a credit card from that retailer, you can get access to special discounts, like 30% off purchases during promotional periods. If you limit yourself to just one credit card, it’s unlikely you’ll get store-specific benefits.
What is the correct call?
If you’ve had trouble managing multiple credit card accounts in the past, limiting yourself to a single credit card might be a good option. And if the credit card in question offers a lot of benefits, you may not be missing out on much.
On the other hand, sticking with just one credit card could mean missing out on money-saving benefits. It’s worth considering expanding your credit card collection, even if you choose to go slowly.
If you’re used to using just one credit card, you don’t have to go from that to a fat wallet. But going from one credit card to two or three may not be such a bad thing.
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