A number of PF blogs lately have been posting the question, “How many credit cards do you carry?” or “How many is too many?” I’m not sure there’s a correct answer to either question, but it made me think about how many I still have now that I’m more in tune with where my money goes.
This is a list of my open credit card accounts as of June 2007:
Bank of America Business MasterCard — Originally an MBNA account before they were bought out by Bank of America, I opened this account in March of 2005 when I started to divide my personal and business expenses and keep track of them separately. Turned out to be a great move as it was shortly there after I realized how much money I was bleeding on business expenses. This is currently the only card I carry, but I rarely pull it out.
Credit Limit: $22000
CitiBank AT&T Universal MasterCard — I opened this account in April of 2007 utilizing a 0% for 12 months offer. I wrote a $6000 check to myself, which I originally dropped into my ING Direct savings account to jump on the “arbitrage” bandwagon. Shortly afterwards, I pulled the money out to finance the siding project. As the original plan was to make money on this card, I do not carry it in my wallet.
Credit Limit: $6800
Rate: 0% until April 2008, then 13.81%
Chase Bank Visa Card — This was one of my first credit cards. I opened the account in 1998 and it was one of the cards that I ran up a considerable balance on before I got my act together. The highest it ever went was $12905 and that was in October of 2005. By August of 2006, I’d eliminated the balance, but continued to use the card for gas and the occasional purchase. Balance was always paid in full each month. In June of 2007, I took advantage of a 4.9% for the life of the balance offer to fund the siding project. As a result, I no longer carry the card for expenses.
Credit Limit: $19200
Bank of America NHL MasterCard — Another of my original credit cards originally opened through MBNA in 1997 for a free t-shirt. This is also another card that I ran up a 5-figure balance on. In May of 2004, it topped out at $10915. By November of 2005, I had wiped the balance out. Now I have my internet service provider automatically bill to this card each month, and like clockwork, I pay back the $42.95 automatically on the same day using an autopay set up from the MBNA days. I do not carry this card and have not carried a balance since November of 2005.
Credit Limit: $22800
Bank of America Platinum Plus Visa Card — Originally opened in March of 2005 as a failed plan to use balance transfers to consolidate balances at a lower rate. At first I transferred $5000 to this card. Evidently, not having learned my lesson the first time, I transferred another $5000 to this card in March of 2006. Luckily the rate was only 6.25% for both transfers. I wiped out the balance, which topped out at $6925 in March of 2006, in January of 2007. I do not carry this card and don’t ever plan to use it again.
Credit Limit: $14000
Bank of America GoldOption Loan — This was a loan for $10000 I took out in December of 2002 to, again, consolidate a few balances and put some much needed cash in my hands. At the time, it was LendingTree.com that found me the loan at 9.9%, and when the big check made out to me came in the mail, it was from MBNA. After a couple years of paying it down in regular $226 intervals, MBNA sent me a credit card attached to the account and started treating it like a credit card. With each month, the rate would rise another half percent or so. Not cool. I made my final payment in March of 2005 when the rate had climbed to 13.24%. I do not carry this card and don’t plan to ever use this line of credit.
Credit Limit: $13700
I guess I didn’t realize how many I still had even though I only carry one. I also didn’t really know, deep down, how much credit was actually available to me. Kinda scary, really.
Thank heavens I didn’t dig the hole any deeper than I did, around $26k, before figuring that I’d better start to climb back out.