3 Life Changes That Could Warrant a New Credit Card

by Maurie Backman | Published on Nov. 16, 2021

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If these situations apply to you, a new card may be in order.

Key points

  • Some consumers keep the same credit cards for years.
  • Certain life changes, like buying a home, may prompt you to seek out a new credit card rather than rely on your old ones.

It's not unheard of for consumers to find a credit card they like and use that card for many years. Or you might have a couple of go-to credit cards you split your purchases between.

Holding the same credit cards for years could work to your advantage. For one thing, the longer you remain an account holder, the more leeway you might get from your credit card companies, such as when you want a credit limit increase. Also, holding the same credit card for many years could help your credit score, because the length of your credit history is one factor that's taken into account when calculating that number.

But there may come a point in life when it pays to get a new credit card. That doesn't necessarily mean you need to ditch your old credit cards, but rather, you may want to introduce another card into your personal rotation. Here are some life events that may inspire an application.

1. Buying a home

Buying a home doesn't just mean having to pay a mortgage. It also means taking on a host of expenses. There may be a better credit card out there than the ones you have to help you pay for them.

Say you do a lot of home maintenance and repairs yourself now that you're a homeowner. If you find a credit card that offers bonus reward points on hardware store purchases, whether throughout the year or during specific periods, it could pay to sign up.

2. Having a baby

Once you have kids, a number of your everyday expenses could increase. You might start hitting the supermarket several times a week to stock up on diapers. And then, as your children get older, you'll need extra supplies and food.

It could pay to apply for a credit card that offers generous cash back on grocery store purchases once you introduce a child into the mix. If you're going to be spending that extra money, you might as well get rewarded for it.

3. Going from remote work to commuting

Many people have been working remotely due to the pandemic, but there are some people who have worked from home for a really long time. If you're one of them, but you're taking a new job that does require you to report to an office, it's a good time to consider a new credit card. If you find one that offers a lot of cash back on gas fill-ups, you can help offset the cost of having to get in the car and drive.

Relying on the same credit cards for years isn't necessarily a bad thing. But as life changes, it pays to see if there are credit cards out there that work better given your circumstances.

That said, don't rush to close a long-standing credit card just because you've recently gotten a new one. As long as those long-standing cards aren't charging you an annual fee, there's no harm in keeping them around. Quite the contrary -- retaining those cards could help keep your credit score in good shape, making it easier to qualify for a new credit card the next time you want one.

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