Why’s a one-week, fun-filled, Bahama vacation like an amazing credit card collection?
“You’ve got to have a load of money for either,” you say. No. You don’t need to be rich to have a great credit card collection.
What you do need though is a plan. They both require planning to make them successful. The same planning questions must be asked and answered for either. Where am I going? How do I get there? How much will it cost? Is it worth it? These credit card collecting questions, along with others, are answered in detail. Everything essential to building a significant credit card collection is here.
How to collect credit cards
Specialization is the key to successful credit card collecting. Concentrate your collecting efforts to a desired end. Plan a collection that can be completed. A mistake is made by trying to collect one of every credit card in existence. You’ll always lack cards. It’s more reasonable and rewarding to plan a collection that can be finished.
Specialization gives a collection the opportunity to become complete. Completeness increases the collection’s value. Its value increases because of the time and work involved to bring the parts together. A completed specialized collection is always worth more than the total of its parts.
Collecting credit cards is simple. Create a plan and follow it. First, decide on what group or type of credit cards to concentrate your energy. Then make a written list of the credit cards you desire.
Important cards first
Collect the most important cards first. Then move down the list. One way is to acquire the national credit cards first. The national credit cards are held by the greatest number of potential collectors. Collector familiarity also makes these cards a popular collecting series.
Local credit cards
Start collecting local credit cards after you’ve acquired the national ones. Local credit cards are the future national cards.
Acquire multiples of the cards you’re collecting if you can. When a credit card’s design changes, you’ll be thrilled you did. Future collector needs can only be met by what today’s collector puts aside. Today’s smart collector acquires beyond what is necessary for his or her collection.
Collect certain groups of cards
There are many credit card collecting groups. It’s important to collect a group you’re interested in. This will help you follow through to the collection’s completion.
Your interests can lie in more than one group and in groups that overlap. Build a credit card collection so that you can see its completeness.
What credit cards to collect
The three major credit card collecting categories are:
1) Single purpose
2) T&E (travel and entertainment), and
3) Bank cards
Each category contains many collecting groups.
1. Single-purpose cards
Single-purpose credit cards are the largest collecting category. These cards can only be used with the issuing company. Single-purpose credit cards are typically free! Please slowly read the preceding sentence again. Think about it. An entire credit card collection can be acquired without cost. That’s what makes single-purpose cards popular. They offer endless possibilities. Collecting single-purpose cards requires relatively little effort. These cards form the foundation of most collections. Oil company, department, and clothing store credit cards are some groups in this category.
Oil company cards
Oil company cards tend to have low credit limits. This makes them easy to acquire. Start by collecting the national credit cards from your area. Then acquire the national credit cards away from your home. Some companies won’t process your credit application when you’re out of their sales area. Keep applying though, because many will.
Department store cards
Department and clothing store credit cards are an interesting situation. Most of these cards don’t have expiration dates. Since these cards don’t expire, they are generally used for a number of years. The condition of these cards deteriorates until they’re quite unsightly. The key to collecting this group is saving them in unused condition.
Quality is a must in collecting. Collectors always desire the best. They also realize the best is expensive. That being the case, acquire quantities of unused cards while they’re free. Future collectors will compete fiercely to acquire the few top-quality cards that are saved.
Airline credit cards can interest the frequent flier or anyone in the airline industry. These cards carry high credit limits, and you may have to pay for them. Make sure you have good credit before tackling this group.
Airline credit cards offer an unusual opportunity. Most people don’t have them, which limits the number in existence. Combine this with the knowledge that airline cards carry expiration dates. This means that expired cards are destroyed when the new ones arrive. These facts promise that a limited number of cards are set aside for future collectors. Give this group serious consideration.
Automotive cards, such as Goodyear, Firestone, and Western Auto, can be collected by automobile enthusiasts. Enthusiasts can also collect oil company credit cards. Both specialized groups standalone yet they fall under the heading of “automobile related”. Remember, completeness of a collection is in the eye of the collector.
Other single-purpose cards
There are many other single-purpose groups to collect. You can find them by thinking of your interests or hobbies. Do businesses in those fields offer credit cards? How about the places you frequently go to purchase your needs? Look constantly. Watch when you scan magazines and newspapers. You’ll soon find numerous other groups that can be collected.
2. Travel and entertainment cards
The T&E credit cards are considered the most “prestigious”. The major cards in this category are American Express, Diners Club, and Carte Blanche. They all require high credit standards. They may also charge substantial membership fees. Collectors highly regard all cards from this category.
American Express has the Platinum, Gold, and Green Cards, all of which are paid-for. American Express cards expire every two years. This makes the actual cost per card double the annual membership fee. They also have the “Black” card, or the American Express Centurion, which is an invitation-only card, and is highly prized amongst AmEx collectors.
Citicorp issues the Diners Club and Carte Blanche cards, each with an annual membership fee. Both cards carry annual expirations. Remember, cards that are issued annually help build your collection rapidly.
Annual membership fees
An excellent opportunity exists with cards that charge annual membership fees. Many people shy away from these cards because of the expense. That’s precisely what makes these cards so good. The annual fee helps limit the number of credit cards outstanding, and people want to get their money’s worth so they use them. These cards are rarely saved unused. That’s why you should collect unused specimens.
Carefully plan and budget the dollar amount you place in these cards. Annual fees can mount up quickly.
3. Bank cards
The major bank cards in the US are Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and Choice. Bank cards can be used in various retail establishments across the country. They are general-purpose credit cards.
Visa and MasterCard are the most popular bank cards. Some are free, and some have an annual membership fee. These cards, depending on the issuing bank, generally carry one- or two-year expirations.
MasterCard and Visa were the first cards to have holograms. Holograms are three-dimensional designs that change shapes and colors when rotated in the light. Holograms, at various angles, put on a fascinating light show. A sampling of these cards is a must for any collection. Their beauty and intrigue will be enjoyed by collectors for endless generations.
Citicorp issues Choice, which typically carries a one year expiration. It isn’t as popular as MasterCard or Visa. That’s why it’s an important card and makes it a superb candidate for your collection.
You can see how simple it is to form a credit card collection. Just decide what group to collect and then make a plan. Accumulate multiples of what you’re collecting, in unused condition. Start your collection NOW, before the designs change on the credit cards you’re acquiring.
Copyright 1986 by Greg Tunks