Credit Cards

There are lots of reasons why you might want a credit card, this site primarily focuses on credit card rewards. If you’re reading this site then it’s assumed that you will always pay your credit card bill on time and and in full to avoid late payment fees and the high interest rates that credit cards charge. If you can do that then credit cards can be extremely lucrative. A lot (but not all) credit cards offer a rewards program these days, but the difference between the best and worse cards is huge.

Generally there are two main types of credit card bonuses:

  • Sign up bonuses. These are a one time reward you receive for signing up for a card and meeting a minimum spend requirement (e.g spend $1,000 within your first three months of being a card member and receive a sign up bonus of $200).
  • On going spend/category bonuses. These reward you every time you spend one dollar, in some cases you’ll earn the same rate on all purchases but some cards offer spending bonuses for specific categories (e.g earn 1% cash back on all purchases and 3% cash back on grocery store purchases)

Sign up bonuses are typically the most lucrative and you can earn enough from a single sign up bonus for a round trip flight or multiple nights at a hotel. That being said if you spend a lot of money in a specific category it might make sense to get a card that earns at a high rate in that category. Or if you just spend a lot of money in general then you could get a card that earns at a high rate on all purchases. It’s important to remember that you still want to be able to pay your card off in full every month to avoid any interest charges otherwise any rewards you earn are quickly counteracted. It’s also a good idea to remember that some cards also come with annual fees.

The Doctor of Credit Difference

Unlike other sites we take putting our readers first seriously. One of the ways we do this is by not using credit card affiliate links, this means we don’t have any incentive to suggest one credit card or the other and will always share the best deals with our readers.

Helpful Resources

If you’re just getting started in the credit card rewards hobby or your a seasoned veteran then chances are we have some useful information for you.

General Information

Sign Up Bonuses

We keep a few pages regularly updated that you’ll find useful if you chase sign up bonuses.

Ongoing Spend

If you spend a lot of money in a specific category, then these posts will show you what the best card is for each category:

Questions?

Do you have any questions? If so feel free to ask them in the comments and I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible, although you’re probably find that most questions have already been answered on the site (using the search bar is your friend). If you like credit card rewards then chances are you will probably like bank account bonuses and high interest savings accounts as well, so be sure to check out those sections on our website.


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I’m a housewife. I had an average credit score (~650) until a month back and from last month a pretty good score (~750) after getting added as an authorized user in my spouse’s cards. I never worked in USA, and therefore no income from employment. However I have checking and savings account where I and my spouse are joint account holders. I never had a credit card, but now I’m planning to apply for a chase freedom card. I’m wondering if I’ll be eligible for a regular CC. If yes, what should I be putting as ‘Gross Annual Income’ and ‘Source of Income’ in the online application.

Yes, you can absolutely, Just put your spouse income+yours (X+0) as income. There was a law that was passed in 2013 (?) to exactly allow this so stay at home folks can get credit cards. Checkout this link for details what to input in the CC application page. http://millionmilesecrets.com/2014/01/09/stay-at-home-partners-can-get-credit-cards-again/

i am a retiree who resides outside the u.s. and neglected my credit for a while anyway i maintain a saving, 2 checking accounts,a secured credit card at Bank America and a unsecured cc at Premier Bank both banks are paid on time and my average credit is 690 I intend to return to the U S so I apply to Chase Bank in addition my income is approximately $60000.00 annually . What I am scared of is if I am denied my score will drop and I am trying to build my score for over a year , do you have any suggestions

Cos based on your situation here is my suggestion.
1. increase your secured with BOA to over $5,000 if you have the means.
2. go to capital one site and see if you are prequalified for one their cards
even if you apply for chase and get denied it only takes of 2-3 points off which isn’t big beal.

I’d love to sign up for credit cards through your affiliate links, but don’t see any. Hope you will get them online soon.

Baaarbara Brown
Baaarbara Brown

I have a BPchase Visa card. Why can I no longer view my statements on my computer?

A B White-Covington
A B White-Covington

I have a BP Chase Credit card. I have paid my bill on line always. I wish to continue to pay on line but I am unable to determine what the procedure is. Please advise.

Contact Synchrony Bank. They are the current issuer of BP credit card product. Chase is no longer the issuer of this product.

JUANITA M SPRAGUE
JUANITA M SPRAGUE

I WOULD LIKE TO GET AN AMERITRADE CREDIIT CARD.

My wife and I have a pretty simple goal– to earn a “free” travel for our family of four once a year. So far, we have obtained a Target Prepaid card and an Ink Plus, but I wouldn’t say we’re that successful in utilizing these cards. To be honest, just trying to get purchase GCs from Staples & Office Depots and load them on our Redbird has been stressful (so we can pay our high monthly mortgage).

Both of us have excellent FICO scores (800+). Anyway, can you outline a simple strategy for us? We are thinking of getting a couple of SWA cards so we can begin to make an attempt at the companion passes, but unsure of the timing. We also came across your article on the BofA’s TravelRewards card… Would this card lower the stress of maximizing our spending? Finally, since our biggest spending is our mortgage, we really like to utilize “Plastiq” (especially now there’s a promotion going on)…but it sounds like we need an Amex or a MasterCard, which we don’t have… So another headache is trying to figure out what Amex/MasterCard to get. Anyway, it seems a bit overwhelming, and we really need a strategy.

Can you help?

my credit score (fico) fluctuates between 720-780.
I applied for two credit cards 4 months back and just applied for two more. How many credit cards is too many in a 3 month period/ 1 year period.

William,
How long after cancelling a card would you recommend waiting to reapply if you are within the timeframe of not receiving the bonus in the last 24 months?

Thanks!

Any time after the required 24 mos…. Sometimes they’ll let you keep your existing card [ Chase in particular ], and give you a new acct. no questions asked, and sometimes they have you cancel it, but ALWAYS be sure to get any accrued Cash Back if available BEFORE you cancel. I good CSR will go along with that and help you with it, or you can just take care of it first and then apply while holding on to old card. If they turn you down [ no ‘hard pull’ at that point, per Chase CSR, so no harm no foul in that regard ] cancel and call them up and try again. IF you get to keep the old card, which I have been able to on a couple occasions with Freedom and INK, even thou I don’t use them it adds to my ‘credit limit’ which can be a double edged sword of course, but so far has been of benefit to my Credit Score since it reduces ‘utilization’ and can increase ‘credit age’ depending on how they figure that.

If not aware of how each of the various factors affect your CS, go to Credit.com or CreditKarma.com, or check here on Dr Credit so you’ll know how your actions are considered percentage wise. FWIW I’ve done several apps that added to hard pulls, had CS go down a few [ 15-20 ] pts. and before ya know it it’s right back up where it was. This is of course determined as to the ‘free’ CSes, not the REAL FICO, but it’s all relative and you’ll learn to know where you stand after a while monitoring it.

My credit score used to be good, in the 750 range. But since this summer, when I borrowed money from a line of credit and also got 3/4 new credit cards for the signup bonus, which also coincided with my student loan becoming due and added to my credit history, the score has dropped to 680, and a new card application was refused because “high utilization”. I start to realize it’s time I did something to improve my credit profile now. I never carry balance on the credit cards, but the student loan is on a monthly installment payment plan. Line of credit is outstanding but will be paid back. Another thing I want to do is to get rid of 3 cards I won’t use often and will start charging annual fees. 2 are Amex charge cards and one is a bank issued VISA. Should I simply cancel them, or should I just convert them to non-annual fee cards to keep the accounts? All of them are less than 1 year old. Which method will be better for my credit score?

Thanks doc!

Best to keep active, but down graded to avoid annual fees. The number of cards still in effect will increase your available credit line and ‘credit age’ and since not using them they won’t contribute to your ‘utilization’, in fact will reduce the percentage since they’ll increase the denominator of the equation. Whatever you do, any acct. you close in good standing, DO NOT have removed from your credit record as it adds to your ‘good history’.

Also, in order to keep the CCs happy with hyou and not have them close them out on account of not using them, albeit some don’t seem to care as I have some that have gone for a couple years w/ no charges before they sent notice of closing them if I didn’t t use them by a drop dead date, which I did to keep them in force.

Jes a suggest… and as always YMMV…

Steve

Is this the right time to apply for both Personal and Business SW cards to get the Companion pass?

Any SW CC Deals/promotional offer going on currently?

Hi,

I have a FICO score of about 760. Since this past summer, I have gotten the SW Air Visa, SPG Visa, and Chase Saphire Visa. I would like to add the Amex everyday card and the Chase Freedom card next. Also, at some point, may add the Chas Hyatt, IHG, and perhaps a Barclay or Capital One card.

What advice can you give on which cards best to apply for first and how many I could(should) ralistically get at one time?

If you haven’t gotten 5 cards yet, do the Freedom first because they won’t approve someone who has 5 recent cards. https://www.doctorofcredit.com/chase-credit-card-churning-the-new-reality/

You may also find this post helpful http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2015/12/08/when-to-apply-for-the-best-credit-card-offers/

Thanks

Credit Score: 690, 735, 730
I would like to open 3 credit cards from different banks.
Chase, Amex and Barclay.
It’s almost 90 days. Do you think it is wise to open them at the same time on the same day?
I am able to cover all the minimum spending.

I applied for citigold checking 12-19-15 for the for the 50k thank you points offer, they said no. Yesterday 4-26-16 they sent me an email saying I am approved ,and to expect paperwork in 7 days . Any chance they will include the points offer at this late date?

Those were erroneous emails. I got 6 of them. IT glitch, I think.

Have you ever seen an Alaska Air offer that waives the annual fee?

Just a FYI. I applied for and received the Barclay Cash Forward Mastercard with a generous limit.
When I applied I got the screen that said 7-10 days notice. After that screen I received a phone call immediately from Barclay. They just wanted to ask me some questions, Home address, Birth date, etc. He put me on hold and came back and told me I was approved. Never had that happen before.

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