TIP: Make a list of where all your credit cards are listed!

by J. Money - Published April 13, 2016[Edit]

credit card list

What up, what up money lovers!

If you have a credit card you’ll want to read through this post today. If you don’t, you’ll have to go back to 1997 and whip out your check book! Haha… I keed, I keed… 1987! :)

Seriously though, this is one of the best things I’ve done with my card lately and wanted to remind y’all of it too as it’s saved me GOBS of time over the past two years since implementing it. Particularly last week when we had our main credit card re-issued again during USAA’s “upgrading” from Mastercard to Visa…. time will tell whether it really is an upgrade or not (?), but regardless it forces you into the annoying task of having to update your information ALL OVER THE INTERNETS.

And this is why, after receiving new card #87 of my lifetime, I finally wised up and put a system in place to make this as simple and painless as possible. Here it is:

  1. Make a list of all the places your credit card info is attached to online
  2. Pat yourself on the back for being a genius!

I cannot stress enough how helpful this is. Here’s what this does:

  1. It makes updating your new card everywhere MUCH faster
  2. It prevents any late fees from happening, or worse – shutting off of services since you don’t forget where it’s all listed anymore!
  3. It keeps stress levels as low as possible
  4. And it forces you to re-evaluate all the services/apps/products/bills you have to see if it’s still worth including in your life.

That last one is probably the most important. How many items on your credit card were set up like 5 or 10 years ago that’s simply been on automation ever since? How many services do you think you’re even subscribed to, do you know?

Re-entering your info everywhere forces you to reconsider these things which is a nice blessing despite the hassle of needing to do it in the first place. Parts of me often considers not even continuing with services just so I don’t have to worry about updating it anymore down the line! Haha…

Here’s what this looks like using my own current list

Below is everything I just updated, along with thoughts/reasoning behind it…

  • Netflix — Still love it! The only way I was able to give up cable – WOOP!
  • HULU — Same :)
  • Republic Wireless — Keeping! No way I’m giving up $100+/mo savings anytime soon….
  • Verizon – Ugh, hate. But they have me handcuffed since I need my internet… (womp womp)
  • Anthem InsuranceToo high! But also very much need to keep my family nice and healthy…
  • Dental Insurance – Very affordable and smart to have – keep
  • AAA – Not sure why we still have, actually? *Need to check with USAA and see what overlaps/if worth keeping around anymore* (Good catch, Jay! (Thanks, Jay!))
  • Amazon – Come on, not going away anytime soon ;)
  • Paypal – Need for business
  • Google Storage – This is a recent one that my wife just signed up for… I’m sure there’s a better way to solve her problem here, but according to her “I need this to store all my phone pictures… I ran out of room!”. *Marks to review later.
  • GoDaddy – No comment…

So, 11 total places where I needed to update my new info, with two requiring action… Took me approximately 30 boring minutes to update from start to finish, which is a far cry from the hour+ it used to when I had to mentally go through this exercise every few months/years – Ugh.

Again, you can’t get rid of it if you rock credit cards, but you can certainly make it easier on yourself. And to save you from forgetting *where* you put the darn list too, I literally include it in the same spreadsheet where I track all my money and net worth and early retirement progress, etc.

Everything’s in one tidy place for easy access!

So that’s your goal for today: take 7 minutes and jot down all the places you know off your head where your credit card info is listed – either online or other places in the world.

Then, later, when you get home from work, add this into whatever system you have to track all your money/important things and ALSO scan your recent two or three credit card statements to see what you missed. Look for both monthly and yearly payments if you happen to have any. If you spent the full 7 minutes earlier in the day, this should only take you a handful of seconds.

Once the list is complete, take two more last minutes and just look them over and see if they’re still worth keeping around! If they are, great – you’re all done! If not, put a star next to them or highlight them and then call it a night… Tomorrow, when you’re in the mood again, call them up/log in and kick them to the curb once and for all. Then give yourself some love and treat yourself to an e-beer courtesy of J. Money (you’re welcome!).

beer pouring animated gif

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to do a little reconnaissance and see if it’s still worth keeping some AAA action in our lives… Always something with this stuff!

Good thing we enjoy it to some degree :)

*****
PS: Kinda related, but totally not – my boy Brad from RichmondSavers.com is helping 500 families score (almost) free trips to Disney World using only reward points (worth about $4,000). You might remember him from a post he did on this site a year ago on card hacking, but he’s crazy good with this stuff… If interested in learning more, you can sign up for free here: Keys to The Magic Kingdom Challenge. Obviously don’t even consider if you suck with cards or don’t trust yourself!

[Photo cred up top: StockMonkeys.com / Tweaked by J$]

************

Bonus tip: Find a good "balance transfer" offer to help pay off debt faster!

If you’ve been making payment after payment (on time) and still haven't been able to get your debt under control, snatching up a good balance transfer credit card offer may be the ticket to try. That’s where in order to gain your business - credit card companies will let you transfer your existing debt to a new card and let you pay ZERO PERCENT interest on it. Saving you tons every month!

What's the catch? Usually balance transfer cards charge a fee (around 3% of your debt balance) to let you transfer your balance to their 0% interest offer. But we've found a great credit card that will let you do a balance transfer absolutely free. Click here to learn more and see if you qualify!

PS: If you don't trust yourself with another credit card, ignore this! This strategy is to help you get out of debt quicker, not risk adding more to it.

Jay loves talking about money, experimenting, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his two beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brian @DebtDiscipline April 13, 2016 at 6:16 am

Great tip J$. We are transitions banks and I’ve been racking my brain about all the places we have our bank account set up for autopay. I need to do this for both Credit cards and banking.

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2 J. Money April 13, 2016 at 6:50 am

YES! Smart to do the same for checking auto-pay too, good call… forgot about that as I haven’t changed banks in like 15 years :)

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3 Mary April 13, 2016 at 6:34 am

If you have Amazon prime, you get free unlimited photo storage. It’s actually been the most user friendly cloud storage I’ve used. The only downside is that video storage is limited unless you pay extra.

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4 J. Money April 13, 2016 at 6:52 am

Oh wow, didn’t know that – thx! We do have Prime.

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5 Mike January 23, 2017 at 11:56 am

..and now Google photos has unlimited storage for 4×6 quality photos too! time to cancel that storage baby!

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6 Josh April 13, 2016 at 6:39 am

To add a bit more utility to this, for those of us with multiple cards, you should break it down by each card. For example:

My USAA/Visa is listed here, here and here.
My Citi/Mastercard is listed here, here, and here.
Etc.

Re: your wife’s Google Storage, just buy her an external hard drive. You can get huge amounts of storage for way cheap these days w/o incurring on-going costs. ;-)

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7 J. Money April 13, 2016 at 6:54 am

Yeah, I don’t know how you multiple card holders do it – I can barely stay on top of my one card haha…. (and true about hard drive, just doubt she’ll want to go through the hassle of attaching it and downloading them every month…)

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8 Josh April 13, 2016 at 10:48 am

“Yeah, I don’t know how you multiple card holders do it – I can barely stay on top of my one card”
Hahahahaha! I only have a few, so it’s not nearly as bad as some of those extreme travel hackers. They’re a whole different breed.

“and true about hard drive, just doubt she’ll want to go through the hassle of attaching it and downloading them every month…”

‘Cause attaching a phone to a laptop and downloading pics occasionally is SOOO much hassle. :p

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9 Revanche April 13, 2016 at 1:55 pm

Hey, it takes time, and when you’re chasing kids around or working all kinds of hours…! :)

I’m Home IT and responsible for all back-ups and must say, the time it takes to manually backup all our external HDs does make me procrastinate that step a bit. Auto-cloud backup spoils us.

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10 Mrs. PIE April 13, 2016 at 7:02 am

Great tip! I actually inadvertently started doing this when I began travel hacking. To ensure I get the minimum spend on each new card I now move all my regular payments each time I get a new card. I have a running list, and it only takes 20 mins to switch them all over

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11 Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor April 13, 2016 at 7:15 am

Great tip! I am very unorganized about this kind of thing and this will help a lot. I like that it’s also a good change to re-evaluate your subscriptions.

Has your wife tried Google Photo? It’s free and there’s an app that automatically takes any new photos on your phone or computers and stores them in Google Photo. And they are searchable by person, place, and other keywords. We love it!

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12 J. Money April 13, 2016 at 10:13 am

oh cool – never heard of, will let her know!

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13 Distilled Dollar April 13, 2016 at 7:19 am

This is a great tip and one I wish I implemented about 18 months ago. I started credit card hacking and extremely glad I did as I’ve racked up thousands in credit card points, but it was a messy process in terms of these recurring payments.

It is wiser to follow the advise here, than to build something piecemeal throughout the year.

One additional note to the article. Credit card fraud is typically covered by the card itself (always good to check), whereas debit card fraud is less likely to be covered. In other words, be VERY careful where you debit card is stored online.

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14 J. Money April 13, 2016 at 10:14 am

Yup – one of the perks to credit cards for sure… provided you trust yourself enough to use them and not rack up debt! In which case, stick to whatever keeps you out of trouble regardless of fraud/hackery!

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15 Apathy Ends April 13, 2016 at 7:37 am

I think we have gotten 3 new cards in the last year due to all the security breaches (target and lowes for sure). Everytime it’s the same thing, we think we know all the accounts tied to our card and either the city calls about the water bill or my package doesn’t ship from Amazon.

We are doing this tonight – thanks!

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16 J. Money April 13, 2016 at 10:15 am

Wonderful! Your future self will thank you immensely for it :)

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17 The Green Swan April 13, 2016 at 7:40 am

Thanks for the post J. Money! I honestly don’t have a good system in place and need to take the time to do so. Part of me has always felt like the process would be daunting, but you make it sound simple and so now I’m motivated! I do track expenses very closely though, as a matter of practice, so I know that no lingering automated subscriptions are out there.

The Green Swan

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18 J. Money April 13, 2016 at 10:17 am

Well the nice part about this is that you only really have to do it *once* and then you’re done and just update over the years :) And if you grab yourself a glass of wine it’ll go by even faster! Haha…

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19 Roy Largo @ Band of Savers April 13, 2016 at 7:42 am

I’ve been meaning to do this one for a while since my credit card company just sent me a notice that they were sending me a new ship enabled card and would have to update all the online accounts that use it. But haven’t been looking forward to it.

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20 jennydecki April 13, 2016 at 7:55 am

I have a YNAB category for “AutoPay CC Bills” and they’re all on one card. I can’t tell you how happy I am that for ONCE you wrote a blog post and have already done the thing recommended without even meaning to. It makes me feel responsible. =) I only have to remember Paypal, since there is no monthly bill attached to that one. Have a great rest of the week!

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21 J. Money April 13, 2016 at 10:18 am

Haha – it’s your lucky day! Go play the lottery! (oh wait… that’s supposed to be bad, right?)

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22 reggiemoss April 13, 2016 at 8:14 am

I agree on the google photos. no need to pay for storage with google photos. unlimited storage (as long as you allow them to bring the resolution of you photos down). works with videos and photos and it will auto upload when you get on wifi (since we want to save our data thanks to republic wireless) you can also download an app to your computer to auto upload photos too. this will save you from buying storage.

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23 Chris @ Flipping A Dollar April 13, 2016 at 8:39 am

Oh man. This is the worst for those one-off credit cards. We got a home depot one for a carpet installation job since it gave us something like 20% off. It has no other benefits that we care about (6 months interest free.. bleh). I want to cancel but don’t want to impact the credit score so I’ll just ignore it forever.

We have a file with all of our logins and all of that. There are just too many with investments, work passwords, website passwords, 6 different emails… yipes.

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24 Nelson April 13, 2016 at 10:35 am

Have a look to a password manager. There are many options but I personally use KeePass (google it).

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25 Lisa O April 13, 2016 at 8:56 am

Nice reminder…I have been meaning to this for the last year. This will push me forward…thanks!

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26 Steve @ Think Save Retire April 13, 2016 at 9:13 am

Awesome idea, definitely something that I keep telling myself that I need to do, but for some odd reason, never get around to doing. I’ll be changing my home address here shortly after our move into our Airstream, so I’ll be forced to go through this process anyway in the very near future.

Always fun! :)

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27 J. Money April 13, 2016 at 10:21 am

A perfect time to finally do it when you’re nice and happy and excited about all the change going on! :)

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28 Stefan @Mllnnlbudget April 13, 2016 at 9:14 am

Nice tips! I wonder if there is an app or website that can track this for you as that will be very convenient. Obviously it will have huge security risk as well.

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29 Emily @ JohnJaneDoe April 13, 2016 at 9:54 am

I did this last year, and made sure I kept a copy with our estate docs so that if anything happens to me, my husband (or our executor) has a list of active accounts. When I did our quarterly balance sheet, I updated and noted that we had updated every service except Netflix in the last 6 months.

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30 Mollie April 13, 2016 at 10:10 am

Thanks for this reminder! I had such a list a few years ago when my credit card info was stolen THREE different times in one year. Definitely grateful nothing worse happened than the annoyance of having to update my information a zillion times, but I should make that list again. It’s a good one to have!

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31 J. Money April 13, 2016 at 10:23 am

Yeah, and it’s only getting worse with technology and the online world :( If only the hackers would put their skills to doing GOOD into the world! They so smart and could probably solve a TON of valuable problems everyone has vs make it hell for people…

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32 Sarah April 13, 2016 at 10:13 am

I have this written on paper (old school style) in a folder marked “For When I Die”. I have a spouse who is totally UNINTERESTED in all things financial and that folder is my attempt to make it clear to him just in case…..

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33 J. Money April 13, 2016 at 10:40 am

Hah – love! He’ll care whether he wants to or not in that event ;)

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34 Amanda April 13, 2016 at 10:19 am

Useful tips with you use your card this way. I’m the one going back to 1997 or 1987 because I prefer to pay my bill with a check and mail it in. I’ve never found it inconvenient and as I result have never found using cards or autopay more convenient.

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35 J. Money April 13, 2016 at 10:38 am

Work it!

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36 Sarah Robinson April 13, 2016 at 9:13 pm

Our local police warned us that using checks to pay bills was one of the riskiest behaviors in terms of identity theft. They told us to stop using checks. Period.

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37 Amanda April 14, 2016 at 8:23 am

I wonder why the police said this. What part makes it risky? Or riskier than other payment methods? Different types of thieves. My bills go into a postal drop box, not a mailboxes at the end of the street. A bank is a deposit account does not have the same legal requirements as a credit card company, however I have not had this problem.

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38 J. Money April 14, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Yeah – I’d be interested in learning more too, never heard of that?

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39 hannah May 7, 2016 at 2:01 am

I worked for a bank, and mailed checks for bill payment was one of the most common reason people had to close their accounts due to fraud.
First of all, people steal mail out of the drop boxes out in front of post offices.
Secondly, letters get stolen all the time enroute by sticky fingers somewhere along the way.
Thirdly, when the bill payment arrives at the right place, a dishonest employee can swipe it. Combined with all of your account info the employee has access to, they also have the following:
When you write a check it contains your name, address, bank account number, routing number, AND signature. Most of the time you also have to write your driver’s license information on it.
Use electronic bill payment wherever possible, and under no circumstances should you ever write a check to a business, especially one where you hand it to a clerk and they require a driver’s license. Just more personal info to be stolen.

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40 J. Money May 7, 2016 at 3:32 pm

daaaaang… that’s just scary!

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41 PhysicianOnFIRE April 13, 2016 at 10:22 am

I was forced to do make a list when European people started ordering PlayStation controllers from European Amazon.coms using my credit card number. Thanks a bunch, Target! Something similar happened maybe a year later, which hasn’t kept me from returning to Home Depot. I’ll be there later today.

My list includes all places that are on autopay with the card, and a few places where I frequently shop online. I use Evernote, making it easily accessible.

I have a separate list of the cards I’ve picked up for the points. Getting my feet wet with travel hacking, 3 cards in 7 months. So far, so good!

Cheers!
-PoF

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42 J. Money April 13, 2016 at 10:28 am

You’re a better man than I! I haven’t brought myself to play that game as it messes with my minimalism :)

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43 Anabisdally April 13, 2016 at 10:36 am

Words of wisdom! I keep track of this by using my report on monthly bills in Quicken —nice quick way to review all that info in one place. Before I used to do this I had stuff everywhere — what a pain that was! I am in a much better place now. :)

Happy Hump Day!

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44 EL April 13, 2016 at 11:18 am

Yeah its a great feeling when you set up a system that will either help you save time or mental space. I like this system, and might use it in the future. It will definitely help with card hacking for extra points.

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45 Rose April 13, 2016 at 11:52 am

Ha – thanks for the reminder about AAA, we each have an auto policy which covers road emergency assistance – so why do we have AAA? You should write a post about your findings so I don’t have to do the digging whether we still need AAA on top of that or not:)

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46 Aliyyah @RichAndHappyBlog April 13, 2016 at 12:01 pm

I have my CC number saved in very few places. Trent from the Simple Dollar recommends not saving your CC number and entering it manually every time you make a purchase in order to be more conscious about it. As for recurring bills, I do have my CC number saved for those, but it’s just phone, Internet, and Amazon Prime for me.

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47 J. Money April 14, 2016 at 4:38 pm

I like that idea in theory, but MAN is that too annoying!

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48 Lee S April 13, 2016 at 12:23 pm

I like the tips but I’ve got my two cards on zero and that’s where they’ll stay from now on. I’ve had to much of a love hate relationship with them and we are taking a break. LOL

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49 J. Money April 14, 2016 at 4:39 pm

No shame in that :)

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50 Michelle April 13, 2016 at 12:45 pm

I recently made this list. After moving several times and now living in an RV, this is a handy list to have.

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51 jestjack April 13, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Jay, Please let us know about the AAA….I’m on the “fence” on getting it. I just received a “special offer”. With our insurance policy towing is only offered if you have FULL coverage. Sooo two of our cars that have only liability coverage because of age and condition that would most benefit from a “towing package”…are not eligible….of course they aren’t… The car that has full coverage , is in great shape and has low mileage and HAS the “towing package” for $4….a….year….. relative bargain.

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52 J. Money April 14, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Ugh…. yeah, insurance stuff is always tricky… I haven’t researched this yet as it just occurred to me that I don’t want to cancel it yet even if USAA is better since I already paid for a full year (!), but once I do I’ll try and remember to blog about :)

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53 Eric @ Eric's Digest April 13, 2016 at 2:32 pm

This is a great tip and something that I am going to do this week. I have been getting updated cards a lot lately with some expiring and some with the new chips in them. I had a web hosting account fail billing just last week due to this particular issue.

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54 Paul April 13, 2016 at 3:25 pm

In reference to:

“Google Storage – This is a recent one that my wife just signed up for… I’m sure there’s a better way to solve her problem here, but according to her “I need this to store all my phone pictures… I ran out of room!”. *Marks to review later.”

IF you have amazon prime you already are paying for unlimited picture storage AND the smartphone app will upload them for you at the click of a button or automatically if you choose. Its called prime photos.

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55 Paul April 13, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Whoops, see that someone said the same thing. Anyway, shutterfly is also free and unlimited without buying into Amazon.

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56 J. Money April 14, 2016 at 4:44 pm

Thanks! We do have Prime but didn’t know about the app – totally bringing up to the wife tonight :)

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57 L.Dinero April 13, 2016 at 9:59 pm

Great article J! To be honest with you, I’m very organized person and I’ve never thought of this. I’m sure I have my credit cards on more places than you (i.e. Apple account, gym membership, ZipCar,…) now, I have to spend some time checking for this. :)

When you get a chance, I’d appreciate if you can take a look at my blog (www.tradingmysavings.com) and let me know what you think.

Thanks and good luck!
L.Dinero

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58 J. Money April 14, 2016 at 4:45 pm

Hah – like the pseudonym!

Like how simple and clean the site looks too – off to a great start :)

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59 Hazel April 13, 2016 at 10:22 pm

For those of us who frequently travel internationally the USAA upgrade to Visa is HUGE. The MasterCard had an insane 3% on foreign transaction charges.

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60 J. Money April 14, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Ah yes – they mentioned something about that in the notice. I don’t travel as much w/ kids in tow now, but nice perk indeed!

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61 Dave April 14, 2016 at 11:29 am

Amazon for photo storage if you have prime.

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62 Amy @ DebtGal April 14, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Great reminder! I’m kind of lazy about this because most things are pulled out of my bank account, which hasn’t changed in eight years, but you never know…

I struggle with AAA, too, but I’ve been so glad I had it, the few times I’ve used it! (Once last winter, my husband and I both had to get towed out of our own driveway, in the same week. I’m not saying he did a poor job with the snowblower, but…)

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63 COD April 14, 2016 at 3:48 pm

If you aren’t paying for storage good luck getting any support if you need your backups and something has gone wrong and they aren’t accessible. You get what you pay for, especially on the Internet. Google Storage is $1.99 a month – not exactly budget busting. I use it to back up all my music. Photos get synched to Flickr for free, and also backed up to Amazon S3, which runs about $1.50 a month. I have Prime, but I use Linux and Amazon Photos won’t work with Linux, even though the service is built on Linux servers. But that is a rant for another day.

tl;dr version: If online stuff is important to you (email, backups, etc.) then you should be paying for it. Free gets expensive real quick when your email or a year of photos vanishes and nobody cares because it’s a free service and free services don’t come with support.

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64 J. Money April 14, 2016 at 4:50 pm

Hah – good insight! We often forget about what “free” really means, don’t we? Reminds me of when I was on Blogger and they were closing down features left and right and eventually kicked me off.. Nothing I could do, nor could I complain, cuz it was completely free! But thank goodness they did it as Wordpress was certainly the better option to go… So glad I switched all those years ago.

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65 Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank April 16, 2016 at 5:51 am

Nice tips J. When I was listing all my credit cards info, I forgot some of it. haha! Thanks for reminding me. Now I gotta have to retrieve some information.

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66 HN April 18, 2016 at 2:00 pm

I do this, but in a way that actually incorporates several other suggestions above. I have multiple credit cards and a really poor long-term memory; and this system works wonders for me.

Everyone logs in to pay credit card(s) these days, right? And hopefully, if you’re at all security-minded, you use a password manager. I use LastPass; but I’m sure they’re all pretty similar.

So LastPass has an entry for my username/password combo; and there’s also a NOTES field. This is a logical place for me to store that list you describe — critically, I won’t forget where it is.

I *also* use the notes field to store info like: customer service #, card # (for easy online shopping when I don’t want to fetch the card, or store it with the vendor), rewards info, summary of other perks, and account history (brief summary of any interactions I’ve had with customer service).

And to Emily’s point, you can also create secure notes in LastPass that are unrelated to an online account. (Not sure if other password managers have this feature?) So I created one entitled “READ THIS – FOR THE EXECUTOR OF MY ESTATE” — and I shared access to this note (only) with the potential executors in my will. This note includes all kinds of handy info — basically what you’d expect to be in such a note.

LastPass is SO MUCH MORE than a password manager. I really can’t imagine life without it.

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67 J. Money April 19, 2016 at 7:33 am

Oh nice, sounds like a great system going on. Love how technology is making it easier on us over time! Especially in the financial world.

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