Did you know that credit cards are good at hide and seek? I didn’t either.
Apparently… after watching some of their closest friends and family members disappear – last seen heading toward Close ’em Shred ’em Forget ’em cemetery – credit cards will wise up and hide. Don’t let them. Go get ’em man!
I won’t lie… it is really nice to have the upper hand when it comes to credit cards. When you are seeking to shred them, it can actually feel like they are trying to hide from you!
Credit Cards Hang on for Dear Life
Last week my wife and I made the controversial decision to close, shred, and forget all our credit cards. Well… all except for one. Less than a year after deciding to strive toward freedom from debt, credit cards were now a thing of the past. Well… all except for one. I mean we are finally ready to live a disciplined life focused on debt repayment and wealth building, all in the absence of credit cards. Well… all except for one.
The longer we pondered our new freedom from credit cards, and the more we speculated living life without debt, this “well… all except for one” thing was really starting to stick in our craw.
We Decided to Get Rid of The Last Card
So last week when we decided to close all our credit cards – well… all except for one – we decide that although we would keep the last card, we wouldn’t actually use the last card. Looking back now I can see how this makes absolutely no sense, but nonetheless, that was our plan. The card was a new credit card from our new local credit union. It was a rewards card that paid 2% cash back.
Well… tonight we finally decided to go ahead and cancel it too, and that’s when it happened!
5 More Credit Cards were Found Hiding!
While rounding up our “last card” we ended up stumbling upon 5 additional credit cards that we had totally forgotten about. It sounds like a glaring mistake, but it was actually quite a harmless mistake.
You see… when you are – in the zone – of closing, shredding, and forgetting your credit cards, it is really easy to get so engrossed in the shredding process that you forget “the lesser cards” who are usually hiding in lesser traveled places around the house.
What are the lesser cards? Department store cards. Do not forget about these little buggers when you finally decide to bite the bullet and end your relationship with credit cards. Don’t let any of your cards | new or old | big bank or department store | survive the power of the shredder!
How to Win at Credit Card Hide and Seek
1. Go Hunting
To ensure you are truly ridding your life of all credit cards – make sure you hunt around for all the cards in your possession!
Don’t be a fuddy duddy about it either, make it fun. Go get dressed up in your best camouflage, do your best Rambo impersonation, and start hunting. Remember… the credit cards drew first blood, not you!
Here are some common areas that credit cards may be hiding from you:
- Your messy purse
- Your messy wallet
- Your office and/or desk
- At work
- The infamous junk drawer
- Your car
2. Get Your Free Credit Reports
I am a huge zealot of securing free copies from all three credit bureaus every year. Do this as a way to inventory your credit accounts and close them as necessary.
- Get a free credit report from Transunion
- Inventory all your credit accounts and decide which ones you want closed
- 4 months later secure your free credit report from Experian
- Ensure all accounts you closed are indeed marked as paid and closed
- Tidy up any errors on the second report
- 4 months later get your third free credit report from Equifax
- Tidy up any lasting errors on the third and final report
Baker from Man Vs. Debt released an article yesterday at Get Rich Slowly detailing how to get your free credit reports using AnnualCreditReport.org. Use this guide if you need detailed help in securing your free credit reports.
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DFA is passionately dedicated to helping people break the bondage of debt and work toward financial freedom using biblical principles.
Lydia aka Ms. MoneyChat says
LOL. I really wish you would have youtubed your credit card hunt excursion (same to any of your readers use this strategy to hunt for credit cards). I got a hearty laugh at that one.
Unfortunately I wasn’t as creative in my hunt for hidden credit cards. I went straight to tip #2 and obtained my credit report to identify all open revolving accounts. In full transparency, I still have one credit card. I’ve been through the headache of identity theft so having that one credit card does provide me a sense of peace – even if it’s false – when I shop online and travel.
Against my normal practice for shopping online, I made a purchase a few weeks ago using a debit card and I still don’t have the product (which was an online product that should have been downloaded immediately). I’ve been trying to get a refund for over a week, with no success to date. They are constantly “trying to find my account” and will “call me back tomorrow.” I’m going to follow-up with my bank to see what their dispute policy is. I know with credit cards it’s fairly simple (in my experience). We’ll see how this goes. If all goes well, I could be one step closer to ridding myself of my last credit card. My heart and my head are moving in two directions.
Matt Jabs says
You’ll be happy to know that the handywork of a Flip UltraHD will be gracing the pages of DFA very soon.
If I already had it, this video would have been captured (just like the credit cards) and shared with the masses!
Mwhahahahaha! (evil laugh) 😉
Michelle Traudt says
Great post. There are always those “forgotten cards”. And thank you for the reminder to get my free credit reports each year. I have not been doing that, but need to!
Credit Card Chaser says
Unfortunately, I forgot about an old HSBC credit card before and HSBC ended up canceling the card without any notice because I had not used it in so long (I guess that is where Matt would say that they did the job for me of cutting it up lol – I won’t go that far because I love my rewards and high credit score but it is somewhat funny that HSBC would have “beat me to the punch” so to speak if I actually was thinking of canceling the card) 🙂
Paul @ FiscalGeek says
I’m still chasing that one around the house. Oh I shredded you little friend just waiting on my mortgage for sure to refinance. I don’t want any surprises or FICO hits until after that goes through then you’re not only shredded, your door’s now filled with bricks! Haha!
Matt Jabs says
As soon as you catch that little bugger, shred him, and brick off his door… you will have earned your Jedi status and will be able to train many. 😉
way off topic, but that picture freaks me out a little bit! 😉
Matt Jabs says
Ha ha, that’s what Neal Frankle said. I told him that this is what I look like when I go hunting for credit cards! 😉
Credit Card Chaser says
Haha I have to admit that I was a little taken back by the picture at first but it fits well with the story after reading it. I like the time that you take to add the pics so keep it up! (Plus, I know that it can be difficult to find decent usable pictures that are free/cheap without any copyright issues). – Joel
Mr. Not the Jet Set says
Ha! We see this a lot in our FPU classes. Folks will take the plunge and shred “all” their cards – 3, 6, 12, 44, whatever. Then a few weeks later they come up again with the same story. Well… we were doing some cleaning and found a few more…”
It’s funny at first, but a little sad too.
In the end, the important part is that you find them and clean up the mess.
Matt Jabs says
Indeed it is. We are fully committed to biblical financial freedom and, for us, this was a very necessary step – for FAR more reasons than just numbers!
Patrice Steinmetz says
Thank’s for A Great Post!! I’ve found out Free Online Credit Report is a quality site to get my credit report