Folders, print outs, PDFs, saved web pages, copies of everything; you name it there are all sorts of ways we can keep track of our credit accounts, when we signed up, what our minimum spends are, key benefits, and all those details.
Here’s how I do it, and some suggestions that might work for you:
- I print and have a hard copy of EVERYTHING. When I go to apply for a card I print off the offer, the application page (filled out but prior to hitting submit so I know exactly what I entered), and any / all screens after the fact. If I receive an email that gets printed too. Did I include my business income? Sara’s income? Or just my individual income
- If I’m not instantly approved and I call up (typically within a few hours), I write down what number I called, what date and time I called, who I spoke to and anything specific. I don’t have the patience to wait for a letter in the mail
- All of this information then gets entered into an Excel Spreadsheet where I track my cards / applications and Sara’s. She provides her SS# and consent, but doesn’t partake in the reindeer games of applying. She’ll get on a call with Chase or Citi to verify anything and passes the phone back to me once I’m authorized to speak.
- I setup reminders / calendar events in Microsoft Outlook that reference the data I keep in the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet serves as my quick reference so I don’t always have to go to paper copies.
- When the card finally comes in, I make sure I get everything into the appropriate folder. When activating the card I note the date, time, and name of person spoken to. I also confirm any signup bonuses, annual fees, and timelines associated with them (they get put into the spreadsheet too).
- Once activated I make sure I can see the card in the online portal of the creditor, sign up for electronic statements, notifications, and all that jazz.
- I login to my credit unions website (DCU.org — for those of you that want to try out one of the best Credit Unions ever DCU is the place to go), and enter in the new card into my bill payment system. If possible, I then signup for e-bill where DCU notifies me when my statement is ready and I can download it directly through their site and not have to go to the individual websites. I’ll use this same mechanism to make payments on the cards.
DCU also offers something called FinanceWorks, which is powered by Intuit. Apparently financial institutions can offer a mint.com like solution to their customers … DCU does it for free. The equivalent to AwardWallet, but for financial accounts. All of our credit accounts, savings/checking/loans accounts, external 401k, and mortgage accounts are all integrated into this portal. It gives us a look at our overall financial health and where our expenses are going.
The combination of the spreadsheet to make sure we’re getting all of our deal bonuses, billpay / FinanceWorks from DCU, and Microsoft Outlook reminders to check on bonuses allows us to keep track of everything and have access to it anywhere (I keep the spreadsheet in an encrypted file on dropbox).
I definitely have a bit of duplication with paper and electronic means; I guess I don’t really trust one mechanism enough to rely solely on it, or I’m just not organized enough in any one place to leverage just that.
What do y’all use?
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day ExpertFlyer is donating One Year of Premium service ($100 value) for the best overall travel deal submitted. A great mileage run, mistake fare, partner promo, new card sign-up offer, or the special twist you figured out on a deal today. Add it to the comments section of this post (along with your First Name, Last Initial, and Airport Code) or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post to be eligible to win.