If you’re trying to build a strong credit history that will last a lifetime, a credit card can be a valuable tool. Used regularly and wisely, credit cards can help you establish your credit profile, raise your credit score over time, and earn rewards in the process.
However, it’s important to note how your FICO credit score may change over time. Your credit score can fluctuate based on the number of cards you sign up for and how long you keep them. Here are the major factors that determine your FICO credit score:
- Payment history: 35%
- Amounts owed: 30%
- Length of credit history: 15%
- Credit mix: 10%
- New credit: 10%
As you can see, the number of new accounts and the length of your credit history play a role in the health of your credit score. If you sign up for too many new accounts in a short amount of time, your score can take a hit. Likewise, cancelling your oldest cards will shorten your credit history and decrease your score.
Because of the way your FICO score is calculated, one of the best moves you can make is getting a credit card you can keep for the long haul – and maybe even forever. While you may want to get other credit cards throughout the years, this one long-haul “forever card” can serve as an anchor for your credit history.
- See if you’re Pre-Qualified with no impact to your credit score
- All credit types welcome to apply
- Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
- Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
- Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
- Use your card at locations everywhere Mastercard® is accepted
- Checking Account Required
- $0 fraud liability for unauthorized charges
Five Credit Cards You Can (and Should) Keep Forever
- Chase Freedom®
- Discover it® Cash Back
- Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card – $200 Cash Rewards Offer
- Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
- Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
A card you keep forever should come without an annual fee, but with enough perks to make it worth holding onto. Here are five cards that could definitely be the “forever card” in your wallet:
The Chase Freedom® card is consistently named one of the top no-fee rewards cards on the market, and for good reason. Not only do you earn 1% back for every dollar you spend, but you also earn 5x points in categories that rotate every quarter.
Since this card comes without an annual fee, you can use it as frequently or infrequently as you want without worrying about ongoing costs. And when you accrue enough points, you can redeem them for gift cards or cash back, or shop at Amazon.com with your points.
If you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can even convert your Freedom card points into Ultimate Rewards points.
Discover it® Cash Back
Because it doesn’t charge an annual fee, the Discover it® Cash Back card could also be a permanent fixture in your wallet. Like the Freedom card, it offers 1% back for every dollar you spend. And Discover it® Cash Back automatically matches all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. So if you manage to earn $150 during the first 12 months as a cardholder, Discover will match that to $300.
In addition to never charging an annual fee, this card lets you track your recent FICO® Credit Scores for free on your monthly statements and online. You’ll also never pay an over-the-limit fee or foreign transactions fees for overseas purchases.
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card – $200 Cash Rewards Offer
While the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card could be lucrative for anyone, the current offer on this card may be especially fruitful for Bank of America or Merrill Lynch customers. With this card, anyone can earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and now at wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter. However, Bank of America customers can earn a 10% bonus every time they redeem their points into a Bank of America checking or savings account.
What makes this card perfect for the long haul is that it never charges an annual fee. You can earn unlimited rewards all year long if you want, or simply keep this card for emergencies, but you’ll never pay a penny for the privilege.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is perfect for moderate spenders who want a “forever card” that helps them earn rewards. With this card, you’ll earn 3% back on your first $6,000 in U.S. supermarkets spending each year (then 1%), plus 2% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cashback on all other purchases.
What makes this offer good for the long haul is that this card comes without an annual fee (See Rates & Fees).
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a signup bonus after you spend just $500 on your card within 3 months of account opening, plus an unlimited 1.5% cash back for every dollar you spend. Your cash back will never expire and you can redeem it in any increment of your choosing – and as often as you like.
The best part about this offer is that it comes without an annual fee — although another reason to get this card is access to a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.
The Bottom Line
If you want to build a strong (and long) credit history, a credit card may be your best bet. However, the best cards to keep forever generally come without an annual fee, but with plenty of ongoing perks.
Remember, a good relationship with credit requires the right credit card for your needs. By getting a card with no annual fee, you’re signing up for one you can keep for a lifetime. And if you use it wisely and carefully, you’ll be on your way to building a lifetime of good credit in no time.
What credit cards do you plan to keep forever? What is your favorite card?
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.
Please Note: Information about the Discover it® Cash Back, Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card and Chase Freedom® have been collected independently by TheSimpleDollar.com. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
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