Lesson From the Target Data Breach: You Need More Than 1 Credit Card

By on

In the past month or so I’ve had four credit cards compromised. Notice of the latest breach came via email this morning: Some thieving cretins bought hundreds of dollars’ worth of stuff from Walmart.com and then tried to spend hundreds more at a different online company.

The four cards weren’t part of the Target breach, in which 40 million people had their credit and debit card data stolen. But that theft should help convince people to come around to my way of thinking: You need at least two credit cards.

For example, suppose you were on vacation or traveling on business and found your plastic didn’t work?

That’s exactly what happened to me. I’m currently in Phoenix to celebrate Christmas with my daughter and son-in-law. The card that got hacked is now kaput. What if I wanted to go shopping, or needed to pay for a van ride back to the airport?

Fact is, I have enough cash and my daughter will make sure I get back to Sky Harbor. But I also have another credit card. Right now it’s tucked away and I might not need to use it at all.

But I’m glad it’s there, just in case.

Keeping your options open

We shouldn’t rely on credit cards, but they do make some things – especially travel – a lot easier.

You can also use credit rewards programs to your advantage; in fact, the majority of my holiday gifts this year came from rewards points. This is particularly important in view of my recent economic downturn.

Twice I’ve had family health crises in other states and needed to fly out immediately, without a clear idea of how long I’d be gone. On another occasion I became sick while traveling and had to leave the plane for the emergency room. Afterward I needed a hotel room until I was cleared to travel the following afternoon.

In all cases, a credit card helped tremendously.

I am not suggesting irresponsible credit card use. But I think you should keep your options open – and having more than one card lets you do that.

More on DonnaFreedman.com:

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

Check out our hottest deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,066 more deals!

Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.