When you get married, that typically means you begin sharing just about everything in life. And that includes finances. That often includes joint bank accounts and tax returns and could include credit cards as well.
But if your goal is to maximize your rewards, does it make more sense to share a credit card or to get your own? Well, it depends on your situation and the cards you get, but here are a few questions for couples to ask themselves when trying to figure out how to get the most of their credit card rewards.
Is There a Sign-Up Bonus?
If there’s a sign-up bonus, it may be worth it to get two cards. Credit cards will sometimes give you free points if you spend a certain amount within signing up. Signing up twice can lead to double rewards for a couple.
Be wary, however, of signing up for cards at the same time. Before you do that, check if you can reasonably spend the minimum amount needed to get the bonus in the required timeframe. If not, apply for one. Then, once you get the bonus, sign up for another.
You should also make sure that you could make the spending minimums on two cards. If you can’t, you’ll end up spending beyond what you can afford, which is definitely not worth an extra sign-up bonus.
While some companies give you a bonus for opening a new card, others will give you points for adding someone new to your current card. If that’s the case, it may be worth it to add your partner as another user.
Compare and contrast the bonuses you would get for adding a new user and opening a new card and then pick the best option. It all depends on the card and the rewards they’re offering at the time.
What Do You Want to Use the Points For?
What you want to use your points on can — of course — affect what card (or cards) is best for you. You should consider what kind of points you want and if you are your partner want the same kind before making a credit card decision.
If you both want the same thing, it may be wise to use the same card. For example, if you’re saving up for a specific trip you plan to take together, it might make more sense to work together on it by using the same card.
If you’re not sure how you’ll use your points though, you might want to consider making your accounts separate, so that you can use them how you each want. It’s really a matter of personal preference that differs from couple to couple.
If you want to diversify the kinds of rewards you get, you might want to get two different cards. Sometimes, you want cash. Other times, you may want travel points. If you have two different cards, you can have the best of both worlds. If you’re not sure what kind of perks would be best for you, you might consider getting assistance choosing credit cards either through online resources.
How Much Can You Afford in Fees?
You should consider the rewards that credit cards offer, but you also have to consider the aspects that are a little less fun. Fees are also a crucial point to consider when deciding which, if any, credit cards to get.
Signing up for multiple cards can mean multiple fees. Some cards also charge for adding authorized users to an account. Before signing up for any card, you should make sure you understand all the associated fees and ensure that you’ll be able to afford them. If you can’t, you could end up in serious trouble.
Sharing a credit card has its pros and cons, and there’s really no solution that’s best for everyone. What makes the most sense for you depends on your financial situation, what you want from a credit card and even certain aspects of how your relationship works. Make sure you consider all these and think about all of your options before making a choice on sharing a credit card or getting you own.