This is anecdotal, but from my experience you get better service from a credit card company if you are a regular and loyal customer. This is another reason to focus your spending on only one card: get the VIP treatment. In my experience, the issuer of my primary card has been very receptive to hearing out and addressing any customer service issues associated with my account. They’re just more likely to help set things right—whether that means forgiving a recent penalty charge, boosting your credit line on short notice, or rushing you a new card when your old one gets lost or damaged.
Similarly, my earlier suggestion to hold no more than two checking accounts may also lead to better treatment. Many banks offer more competitive interest rates, in addition to better features and support, when you carry a larger balance. Take, for example, Citi’s Citigold checking account
—you need to have “$100,000 or more across all your linked Citi accounts” to get this for free, but the interest rate is quite good for a checking account, and the customer support is superior to that given to mere regular checking account groundlings. (Citigold has its own 24/7 toll-free number to separate you from the commoners.)
Don’t have $100,000 in cash to consolidate into one checking account? Neither do I. But other banks have significantly lower thresholds for superior treatment: HSBC’s (Stock Quote: HBC
) premium Plus Checking
package requires a more reasonable $15,000 in combined balances. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay a monthly maintenance fee which may negate the interest you earn on your checking account balances.
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