5 of the biggest mistakes you can make with multiple credit cards

It’s not good for everyone, but I’m a fan of using multiple credit cards. Different cards have different benefits, such as big bonuses for new cardholders and additional rewards in certain spending categories. By getting multiple cards, you can enjoy the benefits you love.

However, when you have more than one card, things can go wrong. Here are the mistakes to avoid so that all those credit cards don’t end up costing you.

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1. Missing payments

Every credit card you have means another bill to follow. This can be tricky, especially if your card expiration dates are spread throughout the month. If you have credit card payments owed over several days, it’s easy for any of them to slip away.

Late payment fees can be expensive, so here are some easy ways to make sure you never miss a credit card payment:

  • Configure automatic payments. This is the best way to avoid missed payments, as long as you still have enough money in your bank account to cover all the credit card bills.
  • Create monthly payment reminders on your phone or computer.
  • If you can, get the same payment due date on all of your credit cards. Many card issuers allow you to choose when your card expires.

2. Paying too much annual fees

Annual fee credit cards tend to offer more benefits, so they can be great value for money. But the annual fee is usually only worth it if you use the card often. It’s more difficult when you have multiple cards that you use regularly.

For most people, it doesn’t make sense to pay an annual fee on more than one or two credit cards. If you have cards with an annual fee, compare how much value you get from them and how much they cost you. Depending on what you find, you may want to downgrade a credit card to an alternative with no annual fee.

3. Not spending enough for a bonus

Sign up bonuses are one of the best reasons to open multiple credit cards. A sign-up bonus is an offer available to new cardholders. For example, a card can offer 80,000 points for spending $ 4,000 in three months. Offers like these can be extremely valuable as they allow you to quickly earn lots of rewards.

These offers almost always have spending requirements, as in the example above. And if you don’t meet the spending requirement, you miss out on the bonus rewards.

Keep track of how much you are spending, so that doesn’t happen to you. Many card issuers offer bonus trackers online. Even if it isn’t, you can contact the card issuer to see how much you’ve spent on a bonus.

Also be careful not to open multiple credit cards at the same time. You don’t want to have problems earning bonuses because you are juggling spending requirements.

4. Using the wrong card for a purchase

Many rewards credit cards earn different amounts depending on the type of purchase you make. One card could earn 4% on meals and 1% on other purchases, while another could earn 3% on groceries and 1% on your other purchases. If you mix up who’s who, you get less back on your expenses.

This is a simple example, but it can be much more complicated – some cards have multiple bonus categories, so there is more to remember when choosing a card at checkout.

It can be helpful to keep a note on your phone with your credit cards and their bonus categories.

5. Spend more than usual

One of the biggest risks with credit cards is that they make spending easier. If your card’s credit limit is high enough, you can buy whatever you want, regardless of whether you actually have the money in your bank account or whether the purchase is within your budget.

The temptation to spend too much money can get worse when you have more credit cards and more credit available.

Keeping a budget is a great way to keep your spending under control. Set a limit on how much you can spend each month so you don’t rely on your credit limits. If this has been difficult for you in the past, there are several useful budgeting apps that can help.

You can earn using multiple credit cards, but there is a learning curve. If you plan to add more cards to your wallet, remember to take it slow and avoid costly mistakes.

About Scott Conley

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