Why You Shouldn't Be Too Loyal to Your Credit Card Company

by Lyle Daly | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on Sept. 25, 2020

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Woman with credit card in her hand using cellphone while reclining on sofa.

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You could miss out on great offers if you're too attached to your credit card.

When was the last time you checked out the latest credit card offers? If you haven't bothered in months or even years, it may be time to rethink your approach.

Consumers often stop paying attention to what credit cards are available once they've found a card or cards they like. Sometimes they don't see the point of continuing to shop around for new cards, and other times they get attached to their current cards. Regardless of the reason, it's a credit card mistake far too many people make.

Here's why you should review the top credit card offers regularly and always be open to the idea of change.

To ensure you're using the right credit card

Credit card companies constantly change their offers. Your current credit card may have been the best option for you when you got it, but that doesn't mean it still is now.

Other credit cards could have gotten better. Perhaps they have bigger bonuses, higher rewards rates, or special limited-time offers (which have been extra popular during the COVID-19 pandemic). There might be new, recently released credit cards with lots of valuable benefits. Or, it may be that your current credit card simply isn't as valuable as it used to be, especially if the card issuer has raised the annual fee.

Take advantage of introductory offers

Introductory offers are another reason why it can pay off to shop around for new credit cards. You'll find two popular types of introductory offers:

  • Sign-up bonuses: Earn a large amount of cash back or rewards points after completing the bonus requirements. Most bonuses require you to spend a certain amount on purchases within a specific timeframe.
  • 0% intro APRs: Pay no interest on purchases, balance transfers, or both until the end of the introductory period.

Since introductory offers are a way for credit card companies to get new cardholders, these are often a source of high-value offers. The biggest sign-up bonuses can be worth hundreds of dollars, and some can add up to $1,000 or more. And if you need to finance any expenses or refinance debt, you can save quite a bit of money on interest with 0% intro APR offers.

Offers like these are rarely available to existing cardholders. You can only take advantage when you open a new credit card.

It's easy to switch credit cards

Let's say you find a credit card you like more than the one you currently have and you want to switch.

All you need to do is apply for the new card. Once you're approved, you can decide what to do with your old credit card. The simplest option is to keep your old card open, assuming it doesn't have an annual fee. If it does have an annual fee, then you can either downgrade it to a no-annual-fee alternative or cancel it.

There's nothing difficult about switching to a new credit card, and there's not much of a downside, either. Your credit application may temporarily dent your credit score slightly -- and a newer card will lower the average age of your credit accounts. But those aren't big factors in calculating your credit score, so they won't have a significant impact.

Staying up to date with your credit cards

A smart approach when it comes to credit cards is to check out what's available every three to six months. It doesn't need to take a long time, and you don't need to apply for a new card. It's just about knowing what card offers are on the market so you can apply if you find one that you really like.

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