3 Signs Your Credit Cards Aren't Working for You

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on May 8, 2021

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Here's how to know when your credit cards aren't serving your needs.

A lot of us use credit cards on a regular basis. But how well are your cards really working for you? If these factors apply to you, it may be time to add some new cards into your personal mix.

1. You're not racking up many reward points

The great thing about using credit cards is that you get an opportunity to accumulate rewards based on your regular purchases. But if you're not racking up much in the way of rewards, it could be that you've got the wrong mix of credit cards. Maybe you spend a lot of money on groceries, but your credit cards don't offer bonus points for supermarket purchases. In that case, you'd be wise to find a rewards credit card that does.

2. You keep missing out on bonus points

It's common for credit cards to offer revolving bonus categories where you score extra points for making specific purchases at certain times. For example, you may have a credit card that gives extra cash back on department store purchases during the first quarter of the year, and extra cash back on restaurant meals during the second quarter. If you find that you can't capitalize on these bonus opportunities, then it could be that your cards' reward programs just don't align with your spending habits. In that case, it might make sense to get a cash back credit card or a rewards card that's a better fit for your spending habits.

3. You qualify for better credit card offers

Maybe your credit cards' reward programs are decent. But if you keep seeing better offers than what you have, and your credit score is strong, then it could pay to apply for a new card -- and use it regularly instead of another card you have.

What to do with your old credit cards

If you come to the realization that your current credit cards just aren't meeting your needs, then a smart bet is to do some research and find different ones that work better. But what should you do with your old cards once those replacements come in?

If you're not paying an annual fee for those old cards, then don't rush to cancel them -- especially if those accounts have been open for many years. The length of your credit history is an important factor that goes into calculating your credit score, so it can be beneficial to hang onto an old card even if it doesn't get much use. But there's no sense in paying an annual fee for a card that doesn't help you much, so if you find a better fit, dump any cards that are charging you just to have an account.

A big reason to use credit cards is to get rewarded for the purchases you make. If that's not happening with your current cards, don't hesitate to seek out better offers that let you rack up cash back and enjoy other perks that improve your financial picture.

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