Credit cards are a useful tool for managing purchases, building credit, and reaping rewards point, cash back, or travel points. Unfortunately, the terms of credit cards change regularly, and a card which once had a great rewards program might not be as enticing as it once was.

Every year, it’s a good idea to compare cards and ditch certain ones in the bunch. While you are busy preparing for spring cleaning around your house, take the time to do the same for your finances — including your credit cards.

Do the Math

If you’re enjoying the perks or credit card rewards from using a certain card, but it’s costing you more in fees than the rewards are worth, it’s probably time to rethink using that card. Perks and rewards like travel miles always come at some cost, but if the same benefits can be had for less through other programs, ditch the card.

Change in Credit Score

When someone’s credit score drops, it’s entirely possible that a bank may change the terms of a credit card issued to them. The result is usually higher interest and annual fees. However, an uptick in one’s credit rating isn’t going to prompt the bank to upgrade the card.

If you’ve had a credit card for a long time and your credit score has improved, you may be eligible for a better offer, but you have to ask. Call the issuing bank and ask if you qualify for any better programs, or check to see if other companies have better deals.

New Offers

New credit card offers might be available that offer similar features and benefits to cards you currently carry, but may have a great introductory offer, like a low rate on balance transfers, bonus miles, or some other program to sweeten the deal. If you’re planning on going after another card, be sure to call your current bank to see if they’ll offer any incentives to keep you as a customer.

Changes in Airline Miles

With airline mergers and a difficult market, many of the airline miles rewards programs have changed. Many customers are unhappy about changes to Delta’s mileage rewards programs and are looking for other travel bonus alternatives.

Or, maybe you aren’t flying as much and rewards based on frequent flyer mileage points aren’t as interesting as cash back or shopping discount programs. If making it into a higher rewards status category with an airline mileage program isn’t realistic this year, it might be time to rethink any credit cards you’re carrying which offer miles.

Likewise, hanging on to a credit card you’re unlikely to use isn’t a great idea, since the company will eventually close an account with no activity, and paying annual fees for a card collecting dust isn’t a wise use of money or a credit line, either.

A Caveat

It’s important to remember that every time you apply for a new credit card, that information is calculated into your credit score. Too many inquiries into one’s credit history in a short period of time can have a negative effect on your credit rating, so choose carefully and don’t apply for every offer you find.

Even if you convert a credit card into another one through an existing relationship with a bank, you might get a ping on your credit report. If you know what your credit score is before applying for a card, you can call in and ask about what the minimum score, income and other factors required to get into a different program before actually submitting the application.

Related Articles
  1. Credit & Loans

    Take Control Of Your Credit Cards

    The plastic in your wallet doesn't have to hurt your finances. Learn how to manage it responsibly.
  2. Credit & Loans

    Rewards Credit Cards

    If you have a very good credit rating, you will have your choice of rewards credit cards, so pick the one you will be able to use the most.
  3. Credit & Loans

    Store Credit Cards: Do The Incentives Pay Off?

    Check out the pros and cons behind store credit cards; they might actually help you save money.
  4. Entrepreneurship

    The Pros And Cons Of Small Business Credit Cards

    Business owners have many financial tools at their disposal. Should a credit card be one of them?
  5. Credit & Loans

    5 Credit Cards For the Super Rich

    Understand the difference between an average credit card and an elite credit card for the wealthy. Learn about the top five credit cards for the super rich.
  6. Budgeting

    Key Questions to Ask Before Moving in Together

    Moving in together is a big step. Here are some key financial questions to ask your partner before you make the move.
  7. Credit & Loans

    Explaining Equated Monthly Installments

    An equated monthly installment is a fixed payment a borrower makes to a lender on the same date of each month.
  8. Credit & Loans

    Your Credit Score: More Important Than You Know

    Credit scores affect key aspects of your personal and professional life. Knowing your score and managing your credit input can make a big difference.
  9. Credit & Loans

    Bad Credit? You Can Still Get a Home Equity Loan

    If your credit history is less than stellar and you need cash, you may be able to get financing – but it will come at a price.
  10. Professionals

    Small Business: Minimize Your Credit Card Fees

    Accepting credit cards is a must these days, but small business owners can take steps to minimize profit-eating credit card fees.
  1. Will my credit score suffer from debt consolidation or refinancing?

    You have several options for reducing your debt burden. You can enroll in a professional debt management plan, or consider ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Are credit card rewards taxable?

    Credit card rewards are taxable in the United States some of the time. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) classifies credit ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between "closed end credit" and a "line of credit?"

    Depending on the need, an individual or business may take out a form of credit that is either open- or closed-ended. While ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What types of liens are seen as good and which are bad for my credit?

    Creditors that allow purchases to be made through financing often require property to be pledged against a credit account; ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is the best way to start to rebuild your credit after a bankruptcy?

    Bankruptcies can be devastating to your credit score. Even worse, a bankruptcy will be listed on your credit report for between ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What were the primary financial crimes involved in the ZZZZ Best case?

    ZZZZ Best was a company started by Barry Jay Minkow that claimed to be a carpet cleaning business. In fact, it was a Ponzi ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  2. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  3. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  4. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  5. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  6. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!