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This is a money making tip for the 50/50 Challenge.

It’s Time to Look for an Alternative Credit Card

This week I had a problem with my credit card and I decided that it’s time to switch to a new one. I’ll have to wait until after we work this refinancing the house plan, but after being frustrated with how they process payments, I figure I can do better.

Send a Payment In, Wait 2 Weeks?


Need a Bail Out? Transfer Your Credit Card Balance

The problem was regarding some payments sent out to my credit card. Back in September I had to call them because I noticed my payment hadn’t gone through. I was told that it takes up to 5 business days to process my payment.

Taking their (slow) timing into account, I scheduled a payment (from our joint checking) to make my minimum due since it was just before my paycheck. That was processed in 24 hours. Fantastic.

Payday came a couple days later and I sent it another payment. I wanted to pay the balance. This bigger payment sent on 11/4 didn’t show up for a couple of weeks.

When I asked the representative about why it took so long I was told that it now takes 7-10 business days to process. I find it hard to believe and wanted to see what has changed to cause payments to be delayed this long.

Looking Around

In case you’re upset with your current credit card, I wanted to share a few tips on finding the right card for you as well as mention a couple of options.

Finding the Right Credit Card

Before going out to pick a card, it’s to ask yourself a few things about how you plan on using it. Not all cards are equal and even if one has some great benefits, if it doesn’t your financial lifestyle, it’s not the right card for you.

  • You must ask yourself if you plan on paying off the balance every month or if you are going to let it carry over (perhaps a balance transfer so you can pay debt down faster).  If you plan on paying it off, it may be better to go with a rewards card that has a slightly higher interest rate.  Since you are paying it off in full every month, you won’t have to worry about how high or low the APR is.
  • Ask yourself what will benefit you most. If you like to travel, you will want to apply for a card that offers some type of reward travel points.  If you would rather have money back in your pocket, you may want to search for a card that offers cash back or rebates toward certain purchases.

For us, I’d like a card with cash back rewards for things we already make purchases on. We plan on paying the balance on it every month and we’d like to use it to book our vacations to earn more rewards. If we can get a bonus for signing up that would be great.

Possible Contenders

Right now there are a few choice out there with the credit cards.

  • Chase Freedom® MasterCard – $200 Bonus Cash Back + 0% Intro APR: To get the $200 bonus we’d have to charge at least $500 during the first 3 months from opening the account. This would be possible if we move some of our bills over to the card and pay the card off at the end of the month. It also has 1% cash back on everything with no cap and it offers 5% cash back on select categories throughout the year.
  • True Earnings® Card from Costco and American Express: We’re Costco members so I noticed this right away when I started looking around. You get 3% cash back on gasoline purchases, 2% cash back on travel and restaurants, and 1% cash back on the rest.
  • Discover® More Card:An other cash back card that offers a bonus (Discover’s bonus $150) if you spend at least $1,000 during the first 90 days of opening the account. It has 5% on select categories that rotate throughout the year and it’s 1% for the rest.

They’re all good cards that offer a lot of the same specials. I’m leaning more towards the Chase card because of the bonus. I have friends with the TrueEarnings card that swears by it and another buddy that loves her Discover card.

Thoughts on Switching Credit Cards

How many of you use a rewards or cash back credit cards? How happy are you with the customer service you’re getting? Are there any other good deals out there on credit cards?

Photo Credit: Robert Scoble

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About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

9 comments comments closed

  1. My wife and I each have a Citi Dividends to get 1% cash back (more on certain rotating categories). There are probably other cards out there that pay more, but the hassle of switching and chasing deals isn’t worth it to us.

  2. With family across the country we use an airline card. Only one airline serves our little town, so it’s American Airlines for us. That’s not a recommendation of the card, by the way….

  3. I am looking at new one as well – I’ve got a large purchase to make, and I’d like to get some points or something for it, so I’m considering the chase saphirre.

  4. I love my Discover card (member over 25 years) and pay it in full every month.

    BTW, the 7 to 10 day lag time in processing your payment if it came via electronic payment from your checking, is beyond absurd! I would take them to task with this one . . . sounds like a deliberate back door attempt to gain interest. I’d let them know that you have a reader base that will be VERY interested to know what card it is . . .

  5. I think one of the most important issues for me is timing. When’s a good time given the financial issues I’m facing.

  6. I use the Chase Freedom card for most of my general purchases right now, just to get the 1% back on everything as well as the 5% in bonus categories.

    I’m on the fence about the rotating 5% bonus categories that so many issuers have going right now. It’s nice to earn 5% back and the categories usually correspond with where you might be spending the most money at that time of the year, but I would rather just be able to earn 5% back in the same categories that I want throughout the year. I guess you can get that on gas, travel, and restaurants with the True Earnings Costco card and some others, but at a lesser cash rebate rate than 5%.

    I haven’t had any issues as far as customer service goes with Chase, but then again, I really haven’t needed their assistance, so I haven’t put them to the test.

  7. I got an American Express Premier Rewards card & they gave me 75,000 pts after making $500 in purchases in the first 3 mos. The 75,000 pts transferred to $750 in gift cards. I ordered a bunch for Christmas & still have about 17,500 (enough for $175) left.