I love credit cards, and I also hate them. Hubs and I recently decided to limit our monthly credit card spending to $2,000. (We are successful the majority of the time). To do this I log in twice a month to check how we are doing. It takes me 10 minutes – but couldn’t my credit card company make this possible through a simple email alert?
Credit card companies could easily make our lives easier if they offered a few tools to help us monitor our spending. Of course, this would lead to more responsible spending and fewer fees for them. (Americans pay millions in credit card fees annually.)
I want to see credit card companies provide the following tools.
1. Ability to create an alert for when my spending total equals a certain amount. I’d love to be able to peg my spending total to a specific point in my cycle. For instance, if this credit card monitoring tool were available, I’d set one alert for $1,000 two weeks into my cycle, and a second alert for $1,500 three weeks into my cycle to help Hubs and I make our goal of spending no more than $2,000 on our credit card.
2. Ability for users to create an alert for spending out of state. For those of us who live in small states, it would be great to be able to check off “safe” states so we don’t get declined for making a purchase across the border. We would also update the states for trips and even add international “safe” countries for trips abroad.
3. Designation on our monthly statement for who made what charge. This would be insanely useful for accounts where more than one person has a card – ESPECIALLY IF ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE IS A TEENAGER! With this tool, I could quickly scan my monthly statement and check the charges I made, versus the ones my husband made. This would also reduce confusion over illegal charges. Right now, unless we look at our credit card statement together, it’s easy to dismiss an unfamiliar charge as something my husband probably spent.
4. Ability to receive an alert for when our credit cycle has ended. I always forget the exact date. Is it 30 days after the end of my previous cycle, or is it tied to the last day of month? I’m pretty sure it is 30 days, but that means the last day of my cycle changes often, making it hard for me to track our total spending.
5. Ability to opt out of receiving checks for spending advances on my card. I HATE THOSE THINGS. It’s a waste of money for my credit card company to send them to me. And it’s dangerous for my personal security – they are essentially sending a blank check through the mail.
Yazmin Cruz says
@Julia Your suggestions for improving credit cards are no-brainers, but I can’t think of any credit cards that offer these options off the top of my head. We have the technology so that’s not an excuse. I doubt credit card companies want to make it easier for customers to pay off their bill completely — after all, this will cut their bottom line. My suggestion is to look into other companies like Mint where you can set up alerts for budgeting.
Bargain Babe says
@Yazmin Cruz I agree, and it’s depressing that not one single credit card company is willing to help its customers out by providing greater access to information. I think we are all so used to not having a lot of control over our accounts that we tolerate it. But it really ticks me off!
The Frugal Exerciser says
Those are some good things that credit card companies should implement but like Yazmin said, cc companies are in the business to make money. Once my cc balance is paid off, I won’t use it anymore.
Bargain Babe says
@The Frugal Exerciser Once you pay off all your credit card debt, so you plan to switch to debit cards? All cash? Curious how you are getting out of debt…if you’re willing to share, maybe you can write a guest post for us!
Our Costco AmericanExpress card’s monthly statement does list my husband’s and my expenditures separately. That is because we are set up as a business, so we each have our own card with a different card number. While most of the purchases are used by both of us, the point is that they are listed based on whose card was used.
Bargain Babe says
@Diane Good to know! I wasn’t aware that you could have two cards with different numbers on the same account and on the same bill. I wonder if my husband and I can do that with our MC. Do you find yourself using your Costco AmEx differently because you know your charges will be listed separately?
@BB ~ Let us know if you can do the same with MC. My guess is no. To answer your question, no. On any credit card we use (which depends on the quarterly rewards, as we have discussed previously in the blog), most of our purchases are joint anyway. I always notate which, if any, should be handled separately. Costco AmEx statements just makes it easier to identify them.