Saturday, May 08, 2021

How many credit cards should you keep?

by TERRI DICKERSON/ CDA Press Consumer Gal
| March 11, 2021 1:00 AM

As consumers we need to think about how to best manage our credit, which includes determining the optimal number of credits cards we should hold.

At a minimum it's smart to consider holding at least two credit cards but probably not more than four.

Why two? Because if a credit card company decides they do not want you as a customer and close your account, you still have another card as a backup. Also, credit companies can cut back on your limit. In that case, it's good to have a backup.

If you have two credit cards, make sure they're not from the same issuer. For consumers who may have additional cards, many base their choice on the type of rewards that the cards offer.

For example, several cards offer travel rewards but since many of us have cut back on travel, cash back reward cards or those with a lower APR are becoming more attractive.

Also, keep in mind that rewards credit cards make sense as long as the APR isn’t higher than the rewards. To make sure the rewards outweigh the costs, try to pay off your balances in full every month. Otherwise, interest charges can eat into the benefits gained from the rewards program.

Finally, if you have multiple cards, you need to use them or you may lose them. Your card issuer may cancel your account for inactivity. To avoid the account being closed, try to use your cards at least once every six months or put a small recurring charge on the card.

So to recap, keep at least two cards from two different credit card providers but not more than four major credit cards unless you can manage them properly.

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New twist on Social Security scam

While I have written about Social Security scams on several occasions, I read of a new twist on the old theme that I think is worth sharing.

Scammers have now created fake versions of the ID badges used by Social Security administration employees and they're sharing a picture of their badge to the potential victims. Reports of this new approach refer to the images being texted. Since scammers are adept at spoofing phone numbers, don't assume it's a safe transaction because you see the Social Security Department’s phone number on your caller ID.

As with any contact you did not initiate, don't click on any email links or reveal any personal information if you answer your phone. If you aren’t sure what you're being told or if it sounds suspicious, hang up and call the entity yourself and seek verification.

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Keep your car windows clean

I recently ran across some information regarding auto windows that I thought was worth sharing. We're all focused on keeping our windshields clean but it is equally, if not more, important to keep your side windows clean.

Each time you retract a side window, some of the dirt on the window falls down inside the door. Over time, that may affect the motors and switches, leading to expensive repairs. Since the driver’s window gets used the most, focus on keeping it clean.

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Remember: I’m on your side.

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If you have encountered a consumer issue that you have questions about or think our readers should know about, please send me an email at or call me at 208-274-4458. As The CDA Press Consumer Gal, I’m here to help. I’m a copywriter working with businesses on marketing strategy, a columnist, a veterans advocate and a consumer advocate living in Coeur d’Alene.