The last time I did this was back in June of 2007 and I thought that with just having eliminated two credit card balances recently, it might be a good time to go back and see how the landscape has changed.
This is a list of my open credit card accounts as of January 2008:
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: $24200 (up $2000 since last update)
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 — though in the near future I plan to use this card for personal expenses as it’s the only card I have with a “rewards” program.
Credit Limit: $8500 (up $1700 since last update)
Rate: 0% until April 2008, then
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: $27400 (up $4600 since last update)
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: $15400 (up $1400 since last update)
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 think it’s funny how each month I get correspondence from the banks notifying me of credit limit increases as an attempt to lure me back into using their card. Hasn’t worked yet — though some of the included promotional teaser rates are attractive enough to get me to read the fine print.
My total credit limit has increased $6000 to a total of $108400 over the last 6 months. In theory, it’s comforting to know that if push came to shove, I could charge 6 figures. That’d be crazy though.
At some point, I’d like to sit down and figure out how much it actually cost us to finance the siding project using credit cards though. At the time, it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but now that it’s nearly paid for, it may have actually worked out to be a pretty good move for us (compared to alternatives like a home equity loan) in the long run.