Many consumers don’t realize that most credit card companies will allow you to combine several credit cards from the same issuer without reducing your credit limit. That’s because you can request to combine the credit limits of all of your cards when you combine credit cards.
This can make it easier to manage your finances and save on annual fees. Here’s what you need to know about combining credit cards.
What it means to combine credit cards
Combining credit card accounts is a process that works exactly as it sounds. When you combine credit cards into one card, you combine the spending power of each card into a single card.
Suppose you had three credit cards with bank A. If each of those credit cards has a $5,000 credit limit and a $95 annual fee, your total credit limit is $15,000 while the annual fees amount to $285.
If you combine those credit cards, you can request to keep the credit limit while saving on the annual fees. You’ll have one credit card with a $15,000 credit limit, and you will only have to pay $95 in annual fees instead of an annual fee for each individual card.
Benefits of combing credit cards
Combining credit cards yields many benefits. Having fewer credit cards is easier to manage than having multiple cards.
Combining cards can help you consolidate credit card debt as well. It also means that you can spend more on a single card without your credit utilization ratio being negatively affected. Each of these advantages is equally important.
Easier to manage
Have you ever accidentally missed a credit card payment or misplaced your physical card and scrambled to find it? Having fewer credit cards can reduce the likelihood of these unfortunate circumstances taking place. As for missed payment deadlines, setting up automatic payments on the cards you keep can prevent that from ever happening again.
Lowers annual fees
Combining credit cards will allow you to avoid paying fees on the cards you don’t use often. While some credit cards do not have any annual fees, many cards do impose an annual fee for card members.
It’s usually not worth it to pay annual fees on the cards that you rarely use. Using the example above again, you could even save hundreds of dollars per year on credit card fees just by combining credit cards.
Preserves your credit limit
One of the biggest advantages of combining credit cards rather than canceling cards is that the former option makes it possible for you to preserve your credit limit. When you close a credit card account, you will end up eliminating that line of credit and hurting your score in the process.
But combining credit cards avoids this and can help you boost your spending power. Using the example above once more, combining three cards with $5,000 credit limits into one card with a total credit limit of $15,000 will increase your spending power significantly.
Consolidates your credit card payments
Consolidating your credit card payments can bring you peace of mind while ensuring that you never miss a payment, even accidentally. When you combine credit cards into one payment each month, you can better manage your budget and control your expenses.
Drawbacks to combining credit cards
While combining credit cards has a lot of advantages, there are some drawbacks to consider, some of which may affect your situation in particular. Here’s what you should consider before you decide if you can combine credit cards.
Missing out on special offers
You will want to hold onto the credit cards that have the best offers according to your spending profile. If you spend a lot of money on gas and groceries, getting rid of the card that gives you 2% or more back on gas and groceries won’t make sense.
Likewise, if a card offers free checked baggage or lounge access and you travel regularly, that would be a benefit you would want to keep as well. So, if you plan to combine credit cards, make sure you take the time to review their benefits and then keep the credit card that offers you the most benefits.
Possible balance transfer charges
If you plan to combine multiple credit cards that are all carrying a balance of their own, you could incur balance transfer fees of anywhere from 3% to 5% or more. This means it might be worthwhile to pay off the card that you want to give up before combining credit cards.
How combining credit cards can affect your credit score
While some say that combining credit cards can improve your credit score, this is not usually true. If you don’t ask for the credit limits to be combined on one or two cards, a reduced credit limit will harm your credit score. On the other hand, if your total credit limit remains the same, you shouldn’t see a significant change in your credit score.
However, combining your credit cards can improve your credit score if it helps you pay off your cards on time. It can also help if you regularly charge larger amounts and the new combined limit is high enough so that the total charges are less than 30% of your new total limit.
Alternatives to combining credit cards
If you don’t want to combine credit cards due to the drawbacks above or because of various other personal considerations, here are a few alternatives that are worth considering.
Close your account
You can always call the credit card company and ask them to close an account on your behalf. If the account has a balance, you’ll still be required to pay off the remaining balance. Keep in mind that closing an account will lower your overall credit limit, which can increase your credit utilization ratio and, in turn, potentially lower your credit score.
Ask to have fees waived
If you have debt on a card that you want to pay off before combining credit cards, you can call the credit card company and ask if they would be willing to waive any and all fees. This is especially worth asking about if you’re a student or you simply want to try saving on annual fees.
Request to downgrade
If you want to keep your credit limit but avoid costly annual fees, you might be able to downgrade to a different credit card from the same issuer. This option allows you to hang on to your credit line and account age while avoiding high annual fees.
The benefits of combining credit cards into one
Combining credit cards into one can be a smart financial move. It makes it easier to remember the due dates for your payments while managing your budget if you choose to combine credit cards into one payment. Also, if credit cards have annual fees, combining credit cards can help you save on annual fees.
By combining credit cards, you could obtain greater spending power while lowering your credit utilization ratio. Over time, this can lead to a higher credit score and greater peace of mind when it comes to managing your accounts.
Can I combine two credit cards from the same bank?
Yes, you can combine two credit cards from the same bank. You can call the issuing bank to request that they combine your credit cards for you. They can help you combine credit cards into one payment as well.
Will combining credit cards affect my credit score?
If you maintain the total available line of credit and pay off your cards on time, combining credit cards shouldn’t affect your credit score.
Can you have two credit cards from the same company?
Yes, you can have two or more credit cards from the same company.