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Topic Review

posted on 11-21-2018 at 01:17 PM

A month later and the planning stage is over with. Here's an update on everything:

I went with Discover over Citizens Access for my online savings account because the ease of use and ability to also have a checking account outweighed the 0.3% additional APY that Citizens was offering. And a happy surprise: Discover's APY increased from 1.95% to 2.05% just a few days after I signed up. I also registered and linked a Discover checking account and can now access all of my Discover accounts from one app. How convenient!

The Discover it card is also linked in the app. 5% cash back on rotating categories throughout the year. This quarter is Amazon and wholesale stores, which means discounted Christmas gifts! 1% cash back on everything else, which is typical. The signup bonus, however, states that Discover will double your cash back at the end of your first account year. So those 5% categories are earning me 10% and the 1% is earning me 2% in the long run. For this reason, I'm putting off getting a flat 2% cash back card (the two I've looked at are Citi Double Cash and Blispay) until after my first year with Discover.

Also got the Uber Visa, and not for Uber, which I don't use. 4% cash back on restaurants and dining, including fast food. My fiancÚ and I like to dine out once a week, so this should generate a pretty good return over time. It also gives 3% cash back on hotels and airfare. I don't do very much significant traveling, but when something comes up, this will be the card to use for it. The signup bonus states that you'll receive a $100 cash deposit after spending $500 on the card within 90 days of opening it. There are a few things I need to get for the house, so this is doable.

I decided against the Bank of America Cash Rewards card and went with the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus for my gas purchases. A whole 5% cash back! My stepdad was a marine, so I was able to register with USAA and get this card.

And Amazon has a rewards Visa that offers a $50 bonus credit after being accepted. I'm doing that later today. Going to use the $50 for Christmas gifts and barely ever use the actual Amazon credit card (only for the rare non-Christmas Amazon purchase that I may make once or twice a year, which earns 3% cash back). I recommend this to anyone who hasn't already taken advantage of it. Free money! Update: Just applied for this. Automatic approval and automatic $50 gift card credited to my account. Nice!

That should hold me over for the time being.

[Edited on 11-22-2018 by Matte]


posted on 11-2-2018 at 07:09 AM

First off, good for you for starting a foundation of good credit. You sound like a smart dude... a hell of a lot more than I was at 26. Right now, I have the Discover It, AmEx Blue and Chase Freedom Unlimited.

All great cards, in my opinion. If you really want to use a card to double as a debit card sort of thing, I highly recommend the Amex Blue-- in addition to a pretty good rewards system, they recently added a feature where you can pay individual purchases after you make them; rather than paying a lump sum for everything each month, you can chip away at your balance, if you so choose. Also, in addition to the standard rewards, they often add other rewards you can opt into {spend $300 at this hotel chain, get $75 back... that sort of thing}. You just have to remember to check the app/website every so often, as these sorts of rewards aren't automatic without choosing to particpate in them.

The Discover It card does indeed have a 5% quarterly rotation rewards program, but it's the same deal. You have to remember to opt into it. Nothing more difficult than a few clicks of a button though, so no big deal, just don't forget to do it. The quarterly rewards are pretty standard fare-- for example, Jan-Mar will be 5% back at Restaurants, Apr-June will be 5% back at Gas stations and Hotels, etc. Things like that. Other than that, every purchase will get you 1% back.

Chase Freedom Unlimited is a pretty great one, as it's simply 1.5% back on every purchase no matter what. That's it. No other gimmicks involved, and you can go on their site and check out what you can redeem it on, deals going on, etc.

People get crazy with these rewards systems though, man... there's all sorts of sites of people with like, twelve credit cards who obsessively stack different cards from the same bank (Chase, for example) and combine points, and do crazy biz with them to squeeze every rewards point they can from any purchase they make in their life. I don't mess around with any of that junk, personally.

Really, your best bet is just to go on a site like Nerd Wallet and find out what kind of rewards card would be best for you. It'll tell you what is best for all the spending you do. No sense in getting a travel points card, if you don't do much travelling... stuff like that. I'm sure you've already done your research, so I don't mean to talk down to you or anything like that.

I will say this, though-- I'm 38, and there are still months where I look at the credit card statement and think, "how the FUCK did we spend so much this month?" And it isn't even like we pissed money away on frivolous crap-- it's a month's worth of gasoline and trips to the supermarket/Target/etc.

I bring up my age there, because when I was 22, I got two cards-- one with a limit of $3,500, another with a limit of $2,000. I also had a new girlfriend at the time. I'm sure you all can see where this is going. It took a LONG time to build my credit back up to something respectable, and them even longer to build it back up to something good. Just be smart about things. No matter how wise you are with your spending, it's still INCREDIBLY tempting to say, "well, I'll just use it for gas this *one* time, it's only $30." Trust me, those little purchases will pile up fast before you know it. Even more so when you go out to dinner, or wanna treat yourself to that one little thing... which turns into two little things, and then five, six, ten, and so on. Just be mindful about it, and you'll be ok.

[Edited on 11-2-2018 by punkerhardcore]


posted on 11-1-2018 at 09:17 PM

My credit union (BECU) is physical, with multiple branches in Washington State, but I can pretty much everything I need to do online. They require that you work/live in Washington State. Their checking account is 4% for the first $500 and .05% for every amount over $500. Their savings account is 6% for the first $500 and .1% for every amount over. I also did my car loan through the credit union as well.

[Edited on 11-1-2018 by salmonjunkie]


posted on 10-31-2018 at 09:56 PM

I assume the American Express Blue Cash does not give 3% for Walmart grocery purchases? I do my grocery shopping at Walmart, so I looked around for a good card to use for that and every card that rewarded "grocery" or "supermarkets" or "department stores" did not include Walmart.

That Costco card sounds like a good one. I have a card on my radar that gives 3% back on gas (and one that gives 5% but I have to wait until I'm a little better off to apply for that one). I also plan to get an Uber Visa card that gives 4% on dining/restaurants and 3% on hotels/airfare (just getting it for those rewards; I don't even use Uber). I don't travel enough to get a card specifically for travel.

Funny you mention Discover first in your suggestions; the first card I'm going to apply for is the Discover it card that you're talking about. Rotating 5% categories every quarter, and they'll double any cash back you get for the first year, which means that bonus categories are netting 10% and everything else is 2%.

Other cards on my list are the Uber Visa that I mentioned, Bank of America Cash Rewards (3% on gas), and the Citi Double Cash card (2% on everything; 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off).

Out of curiosity, is your credit union physical or online? What interest rates are you getting on your accounts there?

[Edited on 10-31-2018 by Matte]


posted on 10-31-2018 at 03:54 PM

I've been playing this credit card game for a long time. I've had periods of time where I lived off of them, and transferred balances to 0% limited time interest cards, etc. I've gotten multiple cards to try to maximize rewards and what not. On the one hand, I have excellent credit. On the other hand, I've had many times in my life where I've had to do some complicated maneuvering and juggling to minimize my interest rates and lower my debt.

#1 - stick with a budget.
#2 - don't spend more than you have/earn
#3 - keep a savings account, add to it every month (or every paycheck). Occasionally when you have a big purchase you have to take care of, you'll need to dip in to it to make pay off the credit card that month.
#4 - try as hard as you can to completely pay off your credit card debt every month

Here's what I use currently and why:

American Express Blue Cash - 3% back for grocery stores. I only use this at grocery stores, and that's it.

Costco Citibank Visa - 4% back at gas stations, 3% at restaurants, 2% at Costco. I spend a lot of money at Costco over the years - for bulk shit, tires, appliances. The return back for gas is really nice, and better than what you generally get for a gas station-specific card.

Alaska Rewards BofA Visa - I use this for everything that is not a grocery store, gas, eating out, or if I buy something not from Costco. This one has a $75 annual fee, but it's worth it for me because I get a companion fare ticket for $99 every year and a free checked bag for every flight through Alaska. Since I live in Seattle, I fly with Alaska most often, and at least twice a year. I usually rack up enough miles where one of those flights a year is paid with by miles.

As far as cards I'd suggest:
Discover card is great for building credit because of its high credit limits. They have a decent rewards system as well, but it's one of those where every 3 months, it maximizes with different types of purchases. If you're in to that kind of thing, great, but for the most part, you should try to keep it simple. Their online checking and savings account is decent as well and I have them, but don't use them. I prefer my credit union's checking and savings accounts because of their better interest rates.

Also, if you already have Amazon Prime, and do a lot of shopping with Amazon, the Amazon Prime credit card has a 5% back reward for any purchase on Amazon. What's cool about that is you can use those rewards on future Amazon purchases, and it's very easy to use. (You can also use Discover cash back on Amazon purchases as well).

The only store card I use is Target's, because it's 5% off every Target purchase on the spot. In general, store cards suck, because they have really high interest rates.

[Edited on 10-31-2018 by salmonjunkie]


posted on 10-31-2018 at 11:55 AM

On a similar topic, does anyone here have an online savings account? I looked into the interest that regular banks are paying out and saw an upper limit of around 0.05% which is kind of pathetic when compared to online banks offering an average of around 2%. That's a $245 difference in one year if you have $10k in the accounts.

I'm planning to make up my mind in a few days on which online bank I go with; it's mostly between Discover and Citizens Acess (leaning towards Citizens Access). Discover offers 1.95% APY, has stellar reviews and an app, and offers a checking account that you can link up for banking simplicity (and lets you use most ATMs at no charge). Citizens Access offers 2.25% APY with pretty good reviews but no app and no checking account options, so I'd have to link my current checking account from my local bank. I'm still weighing the pros and cons of each...


posted on 10-26-2018 at 03:52 AM

I like my air miles card I've got; it costs me a bit each year but I get like 1 mile for every $10 I spend plus there's a bunch of travel, trip cancellation, rental car, and travel medical insurance and other features packed into... I generally travel each year so the cost/benefit of having this with the airmile rewards works out nicely for me as what I pay for the card is less than what I'd pay for travel insurance.

But yeah; they definitely like to keep upping the limit; someone got a hold of my card number a decade back before chips and pins and all that on credit cards, and while the credit card company was awesome to deal with* as a general rule I try to keep my card limit lower as generally speaking if I need to raise it before going on a trip it usually only takes a phone call.

*The conversation with the guy at the CC company was funny; he was like let's look over these charges...

Him: Walmart
Me: Like $90 bucks... yeah that's me
Him: Comic books
Me: Yup
Him: Oh... I've got it, I see this all the time... I know this website.
Me: Oh? I've never paid for a website
Him: Oh look they bought a computer too then immediately went out and signed up for this website... it's porn.
Me: So..... this guy pretty much took my card number and bought a computer then signed up for a bunch of porn websites.
Him: Yup, happens ALL the time... this is probably the thing we see the most.


posted on 10-26-2018 at 12:24 AM

You used tater tot's ashes to make meth to pay for tranny hookers? That's sad man.

Not having a wife with a horse face sad, or waking your wife up at 3 am to cry sad...more like Virgil sitting all by himself sad.


posted on 10-25-2018 at 08:30 PM

Originally posted by williamssl
you can't use credit cards to purchase meth or tranny hookers

Can confirm.


posted on 10-24-2018 at 10:11 PM

Originally posted by Paddlefoot
they come across like they're "rewarding" you for good behaviour when in reality they're trying to entice you into a trap for you to make a huge purchase that will take time to pay off so they can score that goddamn ridiculous profit in interest off of you

I was briefed on this by my parents in relation to the rewards and I stressed that I will be treating any cards I get the same as I treat my debit card. I plan to only buy what my bank account can afford and I plan to pay off every card every month. Yes, of course a plan is only a plan and any number of things could go wrong, but I've always been pretty good with money and if a real emergency does spring up, I know I have my family to help me out if I can't afford it at the time. In the mean time, I'll be using these credit cards properly and building my credit to the point where I can weigh my options on an "emergency use" credit card. One of those low interest, "keep locked away only to be used if I'm about to die or I'm stranded in the desert" type of cards.

Your advice is basically "don't do it" and to stay away from credit cards, and I will take this advice as a warning to be very careful and attentive when using and managing any cards I get so they don't backfire. If you'd like to tell your story of how you learned the hard way (or the story behind your hatred of banks), I'd like to hear it.


posted on 10-24-2018 at 09:16 PM

That was righteous, Pad


posted on 10-24-2018 at 05:52 PM


- keep using cash and debit as much as you can because it pisses the banks off that you're not using a credit card
- get a credit card with a $500 max limit then NEVER USE IT just to piss the banks off even more
- when they raise your credit card limit without you asking them to do so call in and make them drop it back down to the limit YOU want, not what they, because it pisses them off; they come across like they're "rewarding" you for good behaviour when in reality they're trying to entice you into a trap for you to make a huge purchase that will take time to pay off so they can score that goddamn ridiculous profit in interest off of you
- maybe keep something like a $500 prepaid card with you for emergencies, or a couple of them in case you're travelling; if they're lost or stolen then whoever finds them has only the limit of the card to steal from you instead of going hog-wild with the full limit of the credit card the bank gave you

Don't know you personally or what sort of financial discipline you're capable of but I've never met anyone yet who managed to keep multiple cards specifically for one-purpose-only each. Once you use one card for a different purpose than you got it for, because of an emergency or a "what the fuck, it's just a small thing I'm buying, won't do it again" that usually opens the floodgates and the plan of keeping them separate is out the window. It's just the way it is. If you have that discipline to keep them separated then great, it's just that the vast majority of people don't and usually end up in some sort of trouble with their cards sooner or later.

PS: Bias readily admitted here. I hate the banks with all of my heart and soul. I figure if it makes the banks happy then it's bad for the customer to be doing, hence my advice on doing the exact opposite of what the banks "advise" you to do because it pisses them off if you don't fall for their game. Just something I've learned the hard way in my time.

[Edited on 10/24/2018 by Paddlefoot]


posted on 10-24-2018 at 05:15 PM

Originally posted by Matte
The idea of getting "free money" for spending on things that I'd spend on regardless excites me, even if it's just five or ten bucks at the end of the year.

By no means speaking from experience nor have I done any internet research on this, but I'm pretty confident nonetheless that you can't use credit cards to purchase meth or tranny hookers, and I'm otherwise not sure then what exactly you're spending money on then.


posted on 10-24-2018 at 04:58 PM

I'm a little late to the game of credit cards (and credit in general; I'm 26 and my credit only goes back two years). I've used a basic Capital One credit card for the past six months or so and am preparing to apply for my first "rewards" credit card soon. The idea of getting "free money" for spending on things that I'd spend on regardless excites me, even if it's just five or ten bucks at the end of the year.

I've done a little research and have a small list of cards I'd like to think about getting over time, based on their rewards percentages and requirements. I've also stumbled upon places like r/churning on Reddit where people take this idea to the extreme. I don't have the resources or desire to do what these people do, but I can see myself using three or four different cards to maximize my returns (one for dining, one for gas, one for general purpose, etc.). Note: I use and plan to continue using credit cards the same way I used my debit card previously, meaning I'm looking at the card as a way to spend the money that I have in my account and not as a way to buy things I can't afford.

Does anyone here use different cards for different purchases? Have a favorite card with good return rates or nice rewards? Stories about how your cards have treated you? Suggestions on cards to look at in the future?

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