I went out dancing with a friend on Friday night. A fair amount of drinking may have been involved. Which is probably why I didn’t notice that my credit card had fallen out of my pocket at some point during the night.
I discovered this fact the next morning. I immediately checked my card’s activity and found that there were no charges (other than my own) on the card. This means that some honest soul had probably turned it in rather than keeping it for nefarious purposes.
But. The club didn’t reopen until 9 p.m., so I couldn’t call to verify.
So I had a couple of options.
First, I could wait until the club reopened — did I mention that wasn’t until 9 p.m.? — and hope that the card had indeed been turned in. Then go pick it up, which would also mean fighting downtown traffic, dealing with parking and crowds and other stuff that exhausts me.
I was sleep-deprived from the night before, so that all sounded like too much for me to handle.
Second, I could pick up my card the next night that the club was open. Unfortunately, it’s closed Sunday through Wednesday, which meant I’d have to wait at least six more days to get my card. And did I mention the club wouldn’t even open til 9 p.m.? The time I’m usually in bed on weeknights?
Third, and the admittedly lazy route, I could call and cancel the card and wait for the new one to arrive in the mail.
Can you guess which one I chose? (Hint: I was feeling particularly lazy.)
In the end, it’s going to work out. Worst case scenario, the replacement card takes a full week to get here. That’s only one day longer than I’d have to wait to pick up the card from the club. And no crowds or downtown parking will be involved. The only real work I’ll have to put in is transferring some recurring payments to the new card.
I tell this tale because I want to stress that having a second credit card gave me options. I’m not solely reliant on just one card. Instead, I feel secure knowing that, if my main card is ever lost or stolen, I have my Chase Freedom card to back me up, so I’m all set.
(True, I’ll lose out on a bit of extra cash back for now, since my Citi Double Cash Card offers 2% back, compared to Freedom’s 1%. But it’s only a week, and that won’t kill me.)
If you don’t have a backup card, please get one. Otherwise you may be in deep trouble if any unexpected expenses came up, especially close to payday when funds may be low.
For example, in my case it’s the end of the month, so I only have about $170 in the account. That doesn’t cover many emergencies.
What if the car started acting up and I had to take it to the mechanic? Not that many auto repairs come in under $170, so without a second credit card, I’d have to hold off on repairs and go without a car until my check arrived.
Or what if some unscrupulous soul had found and started using my card? Then I’d have to cancel it, and without a second card I’d be left high and dry if anything came up.
This is why everyone should have a backup card. To keep you safe in the face of unforeseen events, like a lost/stolen card or an emergency that maxes out your main card.
So if you don’t already have a second card, please please please go apply for one now.* You can store it in a drawer somewhere and put just one recurring expense on it (to make sure the card doesn’t get closed due to inactivity). But do have a backup card. Just in case you, say, go drinking at a club in jeans with too-shallow pockets.
Do you have a backup card? Has it ever come in handy?
*If you do apply for a card, please consider going through my sidebar widget. It helps the blog.