8 Tips For a New Credit Card | Military Money Manual Podcast Episode 87

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Spencer Reese and Jamie from militarymoneymanual.com share their top 8 tips for when they get a new credit card in the mail.

Military Money Manual Podcast Episode #87 Links

Outline of Episode:

  • Setting payment dates
  • Autopay/paperless billing
  • Spending requirements
  • Update tracking/spreadsheets
  • Change autopay on common bills
  • Add card to payment devices
  • Assess cards before the annual fee date

Military Money Manual Podcast Episode #87 Transcript

[00:00:00] Spencer: Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Military Money Manual podcast. I'm Spencer, the founder of MilitaryMoneyManual.com joined by my co host Jamie. Hey Jamie, what's up? 

Today we're talking about eight things you need to do when you get a new credit card. 

Jamie and I have gotten a lot of credit cards over the years and we've developed a very unique system.

No, it's not that unique, but these are just a couple things, important things that I like to do when I get a credit card to make sure that the rest of the credit card using experience is easy and that I'm not going to miss a payment. I think that if I wanted to give some advice to someone who is getting their first credit card, these are some of the tips I would like to give them.

[00:01:08] Jamie: Yeah, and what I love is that these tips apply whether it's your first card or your 21st card or more. I think combined, Spencer and I are over 50 between the two of us. And so it can be complex to manage that many cards, but these tips are going to be applicable whether it's your first one or your fifth one or your 25th one.

So Spencer, what are some things you do as soon as you get a new credit card?

[00:01:31] Spencer: Okay, so the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to set all my payment days to the same day of the month. So on Chase, just log in and I'll put my due date to the first of the month, which is, I think Chase releases their statements, is it three weeks prior?

And so that means that my statement is going to close on the 7th of the previous month. Let's say I was buying something in January. February 7th, the statement would close and that statement bill date would be due on March 1st. 

So that means that for all my Chase cards, I get emails just one day of the month with all my statements. And I hate when, if I forget this tip, I notice it right away because on some random day of the month, I'm going to get an email and be like, Oh, like why wasn't this email sent on the correct day when I'm supposed to receive all my emails from Chase?

And so that's what I do is I set all my cards to be due, the bill to be due on the same day of the month. So I do the same thing for American Express, Capital One, Citi. Everybody's a little bit different than when they release the statements, but I just say, Hey, I want my bill to be due on the first of the month. And then that means that the first week of the previous month is when I'm going to receive the statement. 

The other thing I like to do while I'm in there messing around with the account settings is set up paperless billing. So I am a huge fan of digital everything. The fact that you still have to fax things in this day and age blows my mind.

But quick side note, there are services, there are websites that will actually send a fax for you. You just have to upload the PDF and then they'll send the fax for you. But usually my policy is if a company ever asked me to fax anything, that is the last day of business I will ever do with that company.

I detest fax machines, although they are very secure because nobody has them anymore. So set up paperless billing. That's number two. And again, i'll get that one day of emails with all my statements coming in the mail for american express It just all stacks up in gmail and it'll be like 20 emails 20 statements and it'll all be there in one nice little folder on Gmail, and then I'll just scan the statement when I get it.

I'll make sure all the charges make sense. If there's anything that doesn't make sense, I'll usually ask my wife or ask my past self because, Hey, what was that Amazon purchase for again? And then I'll dispute any charges that don't make any sense, and then I'll pay the bill the same day I receive it or within a couple days.

But number three, I'll set up an auto pay as well to make sure that if I don't pay the statement on the day that I get the bill in the email, then I'll be covered and I won't have to worry about missing a payment and I think that's one of I know from for myself when I first got into credit cards decades ago, I was super scared about missing payments.

And so I would set reminders and stuff. But now that they have auto pay and you can pay your statement balance in full, just set up auto pay from your checking account. Make sure you leave a little bit of, extra wiggle room in there in case you do miss a statement, but I've probably only missed, there's actually only one time where I didn't pay a bill on time, and I got a late fee, and it wasn't even my account, it was my wife's account, and oh boy.

She did not like that. But fair enough, it's happened to me too. And another thing about that is I had paperless billing set up, but it wasn't to my email address. So that's another tip there is if you have a player two who's not super interested in managing their cards, you have a spouse or a partner that they're not super interested in managing their own cards, but they do enjoy taking those free first class trips and staying in all those hotels and resorts, just put in your email address and then you'll get their statements. The credit card companies don't care what email address it's going to.

[00:05:29] Jamie: So just to confirm, Spencer, I want to make sure everyone understands, if you set it to auto pay, but you pay it manually, that doesn't confuse the system and double pay or anything weird like that?

[00:05:39] Spencer: I've never seen that happen. I usually make my full payment several weeks before the auto pay kicks in, but I have forgotten a few times until like days before. And because of the setting, because if you do statement balance, as soon as you pay the statement balance in full, Then there's no auto pay to process and it won't go through if you're super concerned about it and you're making the payment very late.

Just let the auto pay do its thing or if you're like a week out, turn off the auto pay and just set yourself a reminder in 10 days to turn the auto pay back on. But I've never seen it where autopay interferes if you pay manually even within a couple days.

[00:06:19] Jamie: Yeah, the only thing I've ever had an issue with was when I did it like the night before the auto pay was going to kick in and so the system just didn't have time to register.

But I know with Amex for sure there's a setting where you can go in and actually pause auto pay for a month or whenever and you can set it to resume at a certain month so you could take a month off if you're going to manually pay it and you're worried about it being too close to the auto pay day and then that way if you have that buffer in your checking account, you should be okay with it. But if it is a big amount, you can set it to pause for a little bit just to be sure. 

[00:08:18] Spencer: Okay, so that's three tips right there.

So set all your payment days the same day of the month. Make sure you set up paperless billing, set up auto pay while you're in there as well. And then take a note of the spending bonus requirement and put a reminder in your calendar a month out from the final day. And if it's going to be close, then make sure that you have some kind of plan like paying your rent or your mortgage with Plastiq.com. Or prepay your taxes, especially if you have a small business or you're a 1099 contractor. Pay1040.com is a site that I've used before, but there's three authorized payment portals that if you just google IRS. Pay your taxes with a credit card. There's three services that'll pop up and you can prepay your tax with a credit card.

Even if you expect to receive a tax refund, just in case you have some extra expenses or something, you might want to prepay your taxes. And you can do that with a credit card. It's usually just under a 2% fee, so it has to be worth it for the points that you're going to receive.

But usually if it's going to be a spending bonus requirement or a welcome bonus, that's going to be thousands of dollars worth of points, so it can be worth it. 

All right, Jamie. So those are my four tips. What do you have?

[00:09:44] Jamie: So the next thing I do, in addition to the ones that you mentioned, would be to add it to my spreadsheet, whatever tracking I'm using.

Right now, I'm still playing with the app called Max Rewards, as well as Card Pointers apps. Both of those are paid apps that I'm experimenting with that seem to be pretty good so far. But I'm not sure I could pick one or the other at this point. But travel freely. Spreadsheet, whatever you're using, I update all that so my spend bonus requirements, the earning categories, the benefits like trip insurance and car rental insurance and baggage delay coverage, all those things and how many points I get at a restaurant, how many points I get at a hotel, I'll update my spreadsheet that shows all that.

The next thing I'll do is I'll go into all my common bills and change auto pay to include my new card, especially if the spend requirement is something that I need help making and I'm not just going to get it at the grocery store or with gas. So I'll go in, set auto pay for Netflix, for Spotify, for my rent, for any donations I do monthly, all those things will go to this new card to help make sure that I meet the spending bonus with no stress about it.

Number seven is I add it to Amazon and Apple Wallet on both my phone and my wife's phone. Google Pay, Apple Pay, all that. And then that way it's convenient for either of us to spend on the new card no matter where we are, because we'll have it on Amazon, we'll have it on our phones, and then I communicate with her, use this new card ending in this number for all new purchases until I tell you otherwise.

And then we'll go back to our routine category earnings after that. And then the last one I want to mention, we actually got from our friend Rob, who we've had on the podcast before. He said he likes to set a Google Calendar reminder for 11 months out to assess the card. Am I going to downgrade it? Am I going to renew it?

Am I going to cancel it? So most of you are getting free credit cards, whether you're the military member or the spouse. So it shouldn't be an issue for you in most cases, but maybe if it's a paid business card that's not waived annual fee or something like that, it's always a good reminder to check about a year out, 11 months out, set a reminder, and then you can assess if you're going to keep the card or not, especially if it is the rare case that you have to pay for one.

It really doesn't have to be complicated. There's a couple things you can do. Make sure your ducks are in a row, auto pay, set it to electronic billing. All those things we talked about. Eight great tips, easy things to do when you get a new credit card. I think that each of you, whether it's your first card or your fifth card, like I said, these will apply.

It doesn't have to be a complex credit card portfolio to apply some of these tips, and it helps simplify your life as you do get more robust in your travel hacking game as always. 

We appreciate you guys listening to the podcast. The Military Money Manual podcast is growing on Spotify and Apple podcast.

Thanks to reviews from fans like you. Thank you for sharing it with your friends at work as well. If you ever have any questions, you can reach out to us at podcast@militarymoneymanual.com or via Instagram @militarymoneymanual

We'll see you next week.

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