Change Your Socks And Credit Cards
It’s a good habit to change your socks regularly. They’ll last longer and carry you further. It can be a good thing to change your credit cards once in a while as well.
Just a couple months ago, one of my credit card numbers was just stolen, again. This marks the fourth time in two years.
That’s a sharp contrast to the one theft I experienced in the prior three and a half decades that I’ve been carrying credit cards.
I guess part of the situation is that I use my cards ALL the time. It’s a matter of convenience – and now my card numbers are in hundreds of websites and in thousands of POS systems all over the country. This last theft was just a matter of time – it’s certainty was near 100%. I used a business credit card about 20 times on a trip to Chicago in May. Four times I used it in taxi cabs. One of those times the fellow had to put the number in manually. (Funny thing – although all four of those taxis had meters, not a single one of them used the meter. That used to be against the law.)
Two of the drivers rang the sale through Square, and the other two something else. I’m pretty certain at least one of those guys nabbed my card number.
So now I’ve come to the conclusion lately that I don’t want to hold any credit card more than two years – for several reasons;
First – I use them a lot and the chance of theft of the number is quite high.
Second – It’s very hard to kill certain subscriptions that bill on credit cards.
Some credit card companies have a nasty habit of letting merchants charge your card even with an old address, or an expired card number. They even let merchants charge cards that have been discontinued – Chase.com, who manages Marriott Visa cards, allowed a charge to come through over a month after I had terminated the card – and then they tried to bill me. When I cancelled the card in the first place, I had gone to the trouble to call Chase to verify that no more charges would be put on it, and they confirmed that the card was cancelled, killed, dead. But then they let a charge go through. So much for their level of commitment to the cardholder. I don’t care whether the fine print allows that – it’s a shitty way to treat the customer. When the card account is closed, just decline the sale.
Unfortunately, Chase manages the card programs for many branded cards, including two others that I carry in my wallet. Next credit card I get, I will be looking for a new relationship.
One area where Paypal shines out, and companies like Master, Visa, Chase, Amex do not – is in managing subscriptions. Every subscription I am signed up for in Paypal is available to me in one place!! I can see it in a list. Not so with the credit card companies. With today’s technology, it is certainly something the credit card companies could offer – if they could take time off from counting their money. It is also a benefit of the subscriptions I sign up for with my iPhone – they are relatively easy to find and un-subscribe.
Part two – not feeling the love
The other main reason for changing your cards regularly is to get more LOVE . I’m talking about the kind of love we get when we sign up for a new credit card with an airline – deals of 50,000 miles are common. I used a deal like that to take my kid to a national park this summer. I don’t feel much love from companies when I’ve had their card for a long time, and have charged many, many purchases on them.
American Express has been in my wallet continuously since 1982 – but this year I dropped my Platinum card. Main reason? I didn’t feel it was worth $495 – I managed to use only about $100 worth of benefits from Amex this year, and not for lack of trying, let me assure you. Also, there is a very heavy magazine that Amex sends out called Destinations. I’ve been trying to stop that subscription for years. Even wrote to American Express executives about it – which stopped it for a year. There is nothing in the magazine I can afford and secondly, it weighs about three pounds per issue. It’s huge.
I hate lugging it from the mailbox to the recycling bin. Despite calling, writing, pleading for removal – and even submitting a request to their unsubscribe system , I could not escape it. Maybe it sounds silly, ditching a credit card over the fee, and the vendors refusal to stop filling my little mailbox with unwanted material, but it was very annoying to me. I still have another American Express card but Amex is getting far fewer transactions from me than ever before.
YOU and I ares the ones who are spending the money, paying the bills, and making these card companies wealthy. If we aren’t feeling loved then lets get some new credit cards … and some new socks!
By Craig Aberle
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Image source: Clker.com by Ann Wong