Taking the First Step to Simplicity

Last night when I called American Express to dispute the seemingly never ending charges on my Costco card from Netherlands (yes, it came again and AMEX only told me to be [more] patient after 8 weeks of investigation), I took the first step toward simplifying our finance by asking AMEX to close one of my accounts.

After reviewing our financial status early this week, I realized, as many comments suggested as well, I have way too many credit cards. Though I don’t really worry about the impact of a large number of credit cards on my credit score (it was 769 last time I checked it), having too many non-active cards only makes managing them difficult. So I thought it’s time to reduce the numbers.

The card that I asked AMEX to close is a Platinum Cash Rebate card that I opened in 2001 (you can’t even find this card on AMEX website any more). At that time, it paid a little over 1% on rebates and it was quite a good offer back then. But now 1% rebate is almost a standard for cash reward cards and there are plenty cards offer more generous cashbacks. I used the card for only about a year, then abandoned it later after switching to other cards for better deals. Apparently, there’s no convincing reason for me to keep the card open, except that it’s much older than a few cards I want to keep.

After closing the Cash Rebate card and moving the credit line to the Costco card, I still have two AMEX cards: the other one being an Optima Platinum card. Though I currently don’t use this card, I plan to keep it just in case for whatever reason I don’t want the Costco card (mainly the concern of the unauthorized charge from Netherlands).

Besides the AMEX Cash Rebate card that I just closed, there are a few I am considering to get rid of:

  • Chase Cash Rewards Card
  • Chase Sony Card
  • Citi Dividend Card
  • Bank of America Card
  • Discover Miles Card

Since for the last two I still have balance transfers with them, I will have to wait till November to close the cards.

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This post was written by Sun You can find out more about Sun and his activities on Facebook , or follow him on Twitter .

5 Responses to “Taking the First Step to Simplicity”

  1. Q |  Apr 27, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    One thing in your favor, at least from my experience, is that American Express seems to be the most helpful when you’re disputing a charge. I had to dispute a $700 charge when I had a shifty NYC camera outfit send my a new Nikon D50 made for the Japanese market. I wasn’t about to accept gray market stuff, so I returned it, but they told me my credit would not be forthcoming for a month. So I sent it back and disputed the charge immediately. AMEX was all over it.

  2. Tomaste |  Apr 27, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    When I had one unauthorized charge on my discover card, Discover took immediate action, canceled my cards, and overnighted me new ones.

    I bet if you suggested the same idea to the management of your Costco card, it would solve your problems.

  3. Moneymonk |  Apr 27, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    Also if you are paying an annual fee on the cards you are not using, That should give you another reason to close the accounts.

  4. Finance Guide 101 |  Apr 28, 2007 at 4:57 am

    Hello Sun,

    So you finally decided to get rid of Chase Cash Rewards Card…I commented on that post…anyway all the best…


  5. Sun |  Apr 28, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    Q: As for the customer service, I have no problem with AMEX as every time I called them about the charge, I got immediate reimbursement. I am only not very happy with the time they took to clear the issue. There are suggestion that I probably should talk with a manager instead of a CSR to speed it up. That may be the way to handle it if nothing happens in two weeks.

    MM: No, I don’t use any card that carries an annual fee. There are plenty of no-fee cards out there.

    I actually don’t actively using any of those Chase cards, except the Amazon card which I only use at Amazon.com. So there aren’t lot of incentives to keep the card. The only thing that kind of bothers me is the Rewards card may be the oldest Chase card I have. But I think I am willing to cut it loose.