A survey done by Compete.com revealed that even though the average credit card owner carries 4.4 credit cards, only two of them are used on a regular basis. The remaining cards are either used rarely or not used at all. If you have several credit cards in your wallet, why would you use just two of them and leave the other two untouched?
- Most survey respondents (36%) say they use a particular card because they get a deal on the purchase. For example, they may earn reward points.
- 29% have a credit card that they use regularly and only use a different card if that primary card doesn’t work. People use a certain credit card out of habit.
- 18% don’t have a specific reason for using a credit card. Maybe they just couldn’t think of the reason, but there has to be something that makes them choose a particular credit card, even if it’s as simple as liking the color of the card.
- 10% use a certain card for a specific purpose like shopping for groceries.
- 2% use one credit card for personal reasons and the other for business.
How does a credit card become the preferred credit card anyway? The survey says the most appealing feature of a cardholder’s preferred credit card is no annual fee (31%). The next most appealing feature is reward points (20%), followed by low interest rate (12%).
Compete.com surveyed 1,300 consumers for this survey.
There are consequences to not using the other two credit cards. You might have to pay an annual fee if your credit card has an annual fee based on the amount of charges you make on the credit card. Some credit cards waive your annual fee if you charge a certain amount during the year. For now, inactivity fees are legal and your card issuer could charge a fee if your credit card remains dormant for a certain period of time. Your card issuer may go so far as to close your credit card for inactivity. This could hurt your credit score.
Surprisingly, amount of credit limit or type of card didn’t make the list of preferred credit card features. For example, you might choose to use a credit card with a higher credit limit, especially if you’re making a large purchase. You might use a revolving credit card over a charge card, like American Express, if you don’t plan to pay off your balance in full at the end of the month.