The Care and Keeping of Your Beloved Credit Cards

Aug 26, 2019

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When it comes to taking care of your credit card, the first things that come to mind are probably paying your bills on time, managing your budget and monitoring your credit score. What you don’t think about is taking care of the physical condition of your cards. However, after the recent release of the the simple and sleek Apple card, the tech company is asking us to rethink how we treat our cards. Should we be wiping our cards with a microfiber towel? Supposedly. Does it sound a bit ridiculous? Slightly.

We’re not likely to be that nit-picky with our credit cards, but we still want to show them some love for all of the points they earn us. Here’s how you can take care of your cards without going overboard.

Get A Metal Credit Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

For a long time, metal credit cards were considered more of a status symbol than a convenience. American Express® introduced the first metal credit card, The American Express Centurion Card (aka the Black card), 20 years ago. It was and still is an invite-only card; only elite users have it. It’s so exclusive that Amex won’t even publicly release the requirements for the card, except for the hefty initiation fee of $5,000 — once you’ve been invited.

Fast-forward 20 years and lots of people are clanking down a metal card when the bill comes. From The Platinum Card® from American Express to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, there are so many to choose from that we have a whole post dedicated to which metal card is the strongest. Whichever one you choose, the metal cards are more durable than your plastic cards and will peel and split far less often.

Use a Mobile Wallet

Spare your cards all the scratches that come with swiping and inserting your chip: use a mobile wallet. This will not only keep your card looking pristine, but it will also alleviate the annoyance of pulling your card out of those tough-to-grab slots in your wallet. Most banks have their own mobile wallet tied to their apps, but you can also opt for Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, which can be set up on your phone without downloading any other apps.

Customer paying cashless with smartphone in a shop. (Photo by Westend61/Getty Images)
Customer paying cashless with smartphone in a shop. (Photo by Westend61/Getty Images)

Tap to Pay

Much like mobile wallets but requiring you to use your physical card, tapping to pay requires a contactless credit card. You can tell if your card is contactless if it has the Wi-Fi symbol on the front or back. If a merchant is accepting contactless payments, you can tap away. You can tell if a store is ready for tap-to-pay if the card reader has the Wi-Fi symbol on it or a sign indicating that it’s an accepted form of payment. You can also use the tap-to-pay feature with mobile wallets.

Visa showcases a contactless card authenticated through biometrics at the Visa Innovation Lab at the National Retail Federation's Big Show on January 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Visa)
(Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Visa)

Buy a Good Wallet

Plain and simple — have a good, clean and secure wallet to store your cards in. If your wallet is tattered, falling apart and things are constantly falling out of it, then it’s time to invest in a new one. Yes, credit cards are replaceable, but you can easily avoid losing your credit card in the first place.

Bottom Line

If this post is too little, too late and your credit cards are already peeling, splitting and unreadable, then you should probably call the number on the backs of your cards (if you can still read them) and order replacements ASAP. Once you get your pretty new cards, try to treat them a little nicer this time. After all, they are the ones funding your vacations… but we’re still not sold on cleaning them with a microfiber towel.

Related: Worn Chase Card? Order a New One in Just a Few Minutes



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