Millions of Americans have pledged allegiance to their credit cards.
About 28 percent of credit card holders — 49 million Americans — have never changed their cards, according to a recent CreditCards.com poll of more than 1,600 cardholders in the U.S.
About 12 percent of cardholders — or 20 million Americans — last switched their credit cards 10 or more years ago.
Sticking with the same credit card for a long time isn’t necessarily bad. But unless you’ve shopped around recently — comparing your card with others to confirm it’s the best card for you — there is a chance your loyalty is costing you money.
Here are two expensive examples of how such loyalty might cost you:
1. You’re paying a higher interest rate
If you carry a balance on your credit card — as opposed to paying off the full balance each month — the interest rate is arguably the most important card feature.
When you carry a balance over from one month to another, you are generally charged interest on that balance. Short of paying off your debt ASAP, the best way to minimize that recurring expense is to find a credit card with the lowest possible interest rate for which you can qualify.
So, if you carry a credit card balance but haven’t recently shopped around for a card with a lower interest rate, you are probably spending more than necessary on interest.
For help remedying that, check out “3 Credit Cards With Zero Percent Interest Rates — and Why They’re a Big Deal.” Or try out Money Talks News’ free credit card search tool.
2. You’re racking up fewer rewards
Folks who pay off their credit card balance in full each month don’t rack up interest charges. So, interest rates are generally not a concern for them. Instead, these folks should focus on the rewards they can earn.
If you’re among the cardholders who always pay their balances in full but haven’t recently shopped around to find the best rewards card, you’re probably not racking up as many rewards as you could be. Or, maybe you’re just not racking up the most useful type of rewards.
Credit card companies seem to constantly improve their rewards or put out new cards with better rewards. So, it pays to compare cards often.
When was the last time you switched credit cards or shopped your current card around? Share with us below or on Facebook.