Here's Why I Review the Credit Cards in My Wallet Before the End of the Year

A woman sitting next to her dog on her couch in the sun while holding a credit card and looking something up on her laptop.

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A yearly credit card review is an excellent way to ensure your current credit cards are working for you.

Key points

  • Reviewing which cards you own and how you use your cards is beneficial.
  • You should analyze your spending and rewards earned to make sure your cards are still working for you.

The end of the year is an excellent time to review important financial matters. You can take a look at the financial decisions that you've made during the previous 12 months, outline new goals, and make sure you're organized and ready for the new year. I also like to take this time to review the credit cards in my wallet, as the cards I have now may not fit in with my plans for the upcoming year. You may want to consider implementing this practice yourself.

Check yearly fees

Most of my rewards credit cards charge an annual fee. Since I'm paying to use them, I want to ensure that I'm still getting value from each card. I also want to remind myself when my annual fee will be due. Once I check my yearly fees, I mark the dates on my calendar. That way, I won't be surprised when I see my credit card statements.

If a credit card no longer provides value, I may decide to downgrade it for a no annual fee credit card. Before I do this, I transfer the points to another card or use the points --that way, none of my hard-earned rewards go to waste.

Analyze my spending

I primarily use credit cards to make purchases because I don't want to miss out on the opportunity to earn rewards. When I do my annual credit card review, I take a look at my spending and how I've used my cards. Not all credit cards earn the same rewards, and it may be best to use one card for certain transactions if it rewards at a higher rate.

When I do my credit card review and analyze my spending, it gives me a chance to refresh my understanding of how each card earns rewards. If I've been using the wrong card for some purchases, I can make changes so I'm maximizing my reward earning potential. It's a good idea to evaluate your spending habits to ensure you're using the right cards for the right purchases.

Review each card's perks

Credit card perks can change over time. The benefits offered when you first opened the card may be outdated. Many card issuers continue to add perks to their cards to provide more value. I like to review each card's benefits each year to see if any changes have been made.

Doing this ensures I'm up to date on perks and helps me make sure that I'm utilizing my card as best as I can to maximize the value I receive. If you haven't reviewed your card perks recently, now is a good time to do so. You may be missing out on benefits.

Review rewards earned

I also use the end of the year as an opportunity to look at the rewards that I've earned with each card. If I haven't redeemed my rewards, I outline a redemption plan. This ensures I don't miss out on putting them to use when I need them most. If you let your credit card points collect without much thought, your rewards will become less valuable as you continue to pay annual fees to use your card.

As the final days of 2021 wrap up, make sure you take a little time to review the credit cards in your wallet. You may realize you're better off saying goodbye to cards you no longer use or revisiting your card strategy.

When used responsibly, credit cards can be a valuable personal finance tool. You can earn rewards and conveniently pay for purchases in person and online. Just remember that it's best to only charge what you can afford and pay your credit card balances in full each month to avoid expensive interest charges.

If you're not earning rewards on your credit card spending, you're missing out. If you want to apply for a new credit card in the new year, take a look at our top credit cards for inspiration.

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