Loyal credit cardholders may miss out on rewards

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Millions of people choose a credit card and then hold onto it for at least 10 years. Some have never changed their favorite card. If that’s the case, you could be missing out on some rewards.

Twenty-five million credit cardholders haven’t changed their go-to credit card in at least 10 years, according to a new CreditCards.com report, but the competition among credit card issuers is hotter than ever. That’s good news for those willing to switch cards because of lucrative sign up bonuses and spending rewards.

The national telephone survey of U.S. adult credit card holders commissioned by CreditCards.com found that senior citizens are the most loyal – 31 percent have been using the same card most often for at least a decade and 20 percent have never changed it. More than one in four people between the ages of 30 and 49 haven’t changed their favorite credit card in at least six years.

Rewards are Americans’ favorite credit card feature. Thirty-five percent of all cardholders and 43 percent of millennial cardholders chose this response.

The second-most popular answer overall was “it is accepted most places.” That came in at 23 percent, followed by “it has a low interest rate” at 21 percent.

Concerns about financial and credit stability may play a role in long-term card use. It’s also possible extremely loyal seniors are just happy with the card they use most often.

Experts at TransUnion, one of the nation’s credit reporting bureaus, say there is no downside to holding onto a credit card for an extended period of time, as long as you pay off your balance in full each month.

Among the 1,000 respondents, the survey found that those hanging on to their cards for extended periods often are concerned with maintaining a good credit score. According to the survey, 44 percent of cardholders say they would not cancel a credit card in the future in fear of hurting their credit scores.

Those between the ages of 18-29 are especially protective of their credit score, with 57 percent of survey millennial respondents saying they would avoid cancelling a card to protect their credit scores.

Financial experts say canceling a credit card might be especially hard on a young adult’s credit portfolio, as their account history lengths are typically shorter and they hold fewer accounts. If the card represents a large portion of available credit, the closing may have a negative impact on your score.

It is important to remember the length of your credit history is also a factor in your credit score. So it’s usually a good idea to keep your oldest card open to demonstrate a history of responsible spending.

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