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Had to Switch to a New Credit Card

My husband and I use credit cards.  Sorry if that offends your sensibilities, but we use them like cash and pay them off every month.  We are not the norm and we know, but cash just falls out of our wallets like water.  We can’t even tell you exactly where it all went.  We have credit card charges staring us in the face all month so we know exactly how “bad” we’ve been.  We’ve never missed a payment or paid a cent of interest (*knock on wood*).  Okay, so now that all of the justifying is taken care of, lol, here is the actual post.

Our Main Cards

We try to stick to just two credit cards at a time – a Discover and a Visa of some sort.  Those cards have been the Discover It (we just recently switched from a basic Discover account and love it), and we have been using a Pentagon Federal Credit Union Visa.

But PenFed sent me a letter saying that they were going to start charging us a $25 annual fee.  Crystal doesn’t do credit card fees.  A credit card company gets 3-6% anytime it is swiped – there is no dang reason to charge you to use them.

I looked at travel rewards cards, but the only way to really take advantage of them is to churn credit cards a bit, and that seems very time consuming to me even though I know it works like a charm.  I just rather not have our credit pinged over and over right now since we may be buying another rent house next year or the one after OR refinancing our house if rates spontaneously drop again.

Our New Credit Card – Chase Freedom Visa

All of that said, I found a Visa that seems a lot like our Discover card – the Chase Freedom Visa:

  • 1% cash back on everything (same as Discover It)
  • 5% cash back on rotating categories that change every 3 months (same as Discover It)
  • PLUS an extra 10% bonus at the end of each calendar year since we have a Chase checking account
  • You can use your cash back rewards as cash or to buy discounted gift cards (like a $50 Starbucks gift card for $45 or a $50 Bath and Body Works card for $40…this keeps our friends in Starbucks as little gifts and keeps us in nice hand soap)

Still a Discover Fan

Even though that extra 10% is very tempting, I still think our Discover It will be our primary use credit card and the Visa will be for anybody that doesn’t take Discover.  It’s hard not to be loyal to Discover – they have seen me through 3 online card thefts and even reimbursed me for my first smart phone when it was stolen in 2011 thanks to a built in insurance policy for using Discover to buy your stuff.  So we’ll stick with what works, but I am much happier with this Chase Visa than I was with the Penfed one.

Heck, the Penfed customer service rep even seemed a bit annoyed with me when I called to cancel.  Instead of trying to keep my business, she said “You want to cancel instead of using one of our services to keep the card free?”  Why yes, I rather cancel than take out an unnecessary loan.  Airhead.

So, are you a credit card person or a cash person?  What works best for you?

If you are interested in signing up for Discover It
and receiving a $50 Cashback bonus with your first purchase within 3 months:

APPLY HERE

Please note that you have to apply through that link above or another referral link specifically to receive this $50 bonus!
You can also email me and I can send you your own link.

Savings Account Offer

You can also check out the going savings rates like below by clicking here!

Amex with a great interest rate:

Amex

Rate (0.85%) – Apply Now

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10 comments to Had to Switch to a New Credit Card

  • Stinks PenFed did that to you. Did you ask if they’d just waive the fee? Sometimes they do that! Chase Freedom is a great card though, and you should have got a $100 sign up bonus if you spend enough in the first couple months. Nothing like free money!

  • Good to hear you’ve changed provider due to credit card fees.

    If you stick with places that try to introduce annual fees it just encourages them.

    I’ve moved bank accounts and credit cards a few times because they wanted to charge an annual fee.

  • I’m a little of both. Since I waited SO LONG to even start building credit I only have one credit card and it’s a secured, very low limit one. I use it sparingly as I’ve done tons of research on how to best increase your credit score and it has ZERO rewards so what’s the point? Lol. Once I have enough credit to get a rewards card I will definitely be using that for all my normal expenses and paying it off each month. I mean, who doesn’t want free stuff?!!

  • I am similar with credit cards except I actually use them as Debit cards for the most part. Meaning I almost always have a credit balance (send them extra money) and pay them down. Yeah… crazy, I know.

    I use the Fidelity Investment Rewards Amex – 2% cash back on everything. I also use the Amex Premier Blue or something like that, which gives 3% on gas and department stores and 6% on Groceries. I think both of them have annual fees (I haven’t double checked in a bit). But it’s more than made up for by the extra rewards (I do the math usually twice a year to make sure it’s better for my spending).

    I also have a visa w/ the same type of rewards and no fee – 1% and rotating bonus categories.

  • I have used Chase Freedom as my ONLY credit card for years. I think you made a great choice. I use my card for just about everything I buy, including many monthly bills (I should add tat I pay the card off in full each month, too), and get hundreds back each year in rebates. I just apply it to my card each month.

  • Good thing you’ve decided to change credit card providers, no use staying with one if you can find another one that won’t charge you credit card fees.

  • Mel

    I wish I had the self-control to use credit cards appropriately and reap the rewards. My biggest issue is emotional spending, which is made much easier when I know I can ‘pay it back later’. No matter how much I tell myself that’s dumb, it always happens that way. We have a friend who married a Kiwi and they use their credit card for everything so they can use air miles to see family in New Zealand as often as possible. For some people, it just works. Some day, I hope to be this cool!

  • Since we don’t carry a balance and never will again, I try to use credit cards to pay for every expense that takes them. We do churn, and I’ve gotten thousands of dollars worth of free travel. It is a hassle sometimes, but once you start to get stuff free it doesn’t matter. We also just got approved for a mortgage for a rental property. We decided not to move forward with that at this point, but if you have an awesome credit score and pay everything off every month, I don’t even think churning does much to your ability to get credit if you need it. Plus, I am terrible at saving receipts, so at least the cards give me a record to track spending.

  • @Lance, I thought about asking them to waive the fee, but then I decided that I rather switch anyway. I didn’t want the hassle of asking every year – plus, the Chase Freedom Visa has a better rewards program. :-) And yes, we put the $2200 anesthesiologist charge on the Chase Visa the day after we activated it, lol, so there is our $100 cash back bonus right there. :-)

    @Stuart, yeah, they’re just greedy sometimes…

    @Christine, good plan!

    @a terrible husband, I never thought about prepaying for my credit card. I think I prefer to wait until the statement is ready for me to check.

    @Denise, cool beans! How does the 10% back work each year? Is it on all purchases like it implies? Or is it just an extra 10% of the rewards you earned?

    @Beat the 9 to 5, true.

    @Mel, at least you know you have a problem and don’t use them! Jason at Live Real Now is another super cool person that just spends more with credit cards, so he doesn’t use them. It’s only not cool if you try to use them despite knowing your faults and then spend more than you should. :-)

    @Kim, if I ever need a plane ticket that costs more than $1000, I may churn. So far, I can pay for all of my $200-$300 flights (all 2 of them a year) with the cash back rewards from my cards if I wanted to. Good to know that it doesn’t hurt your credit though! I think you mentioned that before (I have a mental note for some reason). :-) And yeah, I like using them as record keepers too. :-)

  • Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long)
    so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say,
    I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but
    I’m still new to everything. Do you have any suggestions for novice blog
    writers? I’d really appreciate it.