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Half of Millennials Have Had Their Go-To Credit Card Longer Than Their Most Recent Romantic Relationship

Half of Millennials Have Had Their Go-To Credit Card Longer Than Their Most Recent Romantic Relationship

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Half of millennial credit cardholders say that their primary card has lasted them longer than their most recent romantic relationship, according to a new report from CompareCards.com.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, CompareCards.com asked credit cardholders about their most recent credit card breakup – the last time they changed the credit card they use the most. The results clearly showed that for Americans of all ages breaking up with their favorite credit card is indeed hard to do, and when a break up actually does happen, it’s most often over APRs rather than rewards.

Key Findings

  • Half of millennials and 1 in 3 Baby Boomers said that their current primary credit card has lasted them longer than their most recent romantic relationship; overall, 41% of cardholders said that.
  • Surprisingly, Baby Boomers are the most likely age group to say that they have never changed their primary credit card (37%, compared to 31% of all cardholders). That means that a lot of Boomers have likely completely missed out on the rewards card arms race.
  • More than 1 in 4 cardholders said they never plan to change their primary credit card; 1 in 3 Boomers said this, and lower income folks were more likely than higher income folks to say this.
  • The most common reason given for breaking up with your primary credit card: A card with a better APR. 27% said that was the main reason for their last credit card breakup, while 17% said more lucrative rewards and 10% said rewards that better fit their lifestyle.
  • Higher income folks broke up with their card over rewards, while everyone else did it over APRs. Meanwhile, every age group broke up with their card over APRs, except for the Silent Generation, which did it over rewards.
  • 1 in 4 cardholders closed at least one credit card in the past year (older millennials were most likely to have done so) while 20% said they expect to close a credit card in 2019.

The bottom line: Keeping the same credit card forever ultimately costs you money.

Your old credit card, like an old jacket or pair of pants, probably doesn’t fit you very well anymore.

One of the few certainties of life is that change will come, and if you don’t adjust your financial plans to reflect those changes, you’re making a mistake. Sometimes that means breaking off a relationship, even one that you’ve had for many years like with your favorite credit card.

If you’re still using a student card several years into your career, your APR and fees are probably too high and your rewards lacking.

If you’re a parent and you’re still using that travel rewards card from when you were young, single and traveling, you might be better off with cash-back rewards that could really help extend that family budget.

If you’re an empty nester who wants to travel and you’re not looking at points-and-miles cards, you could be missing out on a sign-up bonus that can make that dream trip to Paris a reality more quickly than you’d imagine.

What it comes down to is this: If you don’t change credit cards at least occasionally, you’re leaving money on the table. It’s as simple as that.

Of course, you shouldn’t get a new credit card if you’re just going to see it as an excuse to go on a spending spree or if you don’t think you’re organized enough to handle having multiple credit cards. However, if you use cards wisely, they can be really lucrative. Yes, we have passed “peak credit card rewards,” and no, we may never see another rewards phenomenon like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® again anytime soon.  But it is still one of the best times in the history of credit cards to shop for cards, especially if you have good credit.

If you haven’t shopped in a while, it’s worth taking the time to ask yourself the following:

  • How do I use my credit cards?
  • What do I want to get from my credit cards?

Once you’ve answered those two questions, look at what your current favorite cards offer and ask yourself one final question: Does my current credit card give me the rewards that I want and help me get the most out of what I spend?

If the answer is no, it’s probably time to move on. While breaking up can certainly be hard to do, in finances as in relationships, sometimes it is for the best.

Methodology: CompareCards by LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,246 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the general population. The survey was fielded Dec. 22, 2018, through Jan. 4, 2019, and the margin for error for all respondents is +/- 2.8%.


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