These are the credit, debit and loyalty cards I’ll be using this year.
Though I’ve dozens of debit, credit and loyalty cards, I don’t actually use that many on a regular basis. So rather than carry them all with me I’ve slimmed them down to just a handful in my physical wallet, and put the rest in a digital one (aka my phone).
I thought it could be useful for you to see which ones I’ve picked and how I’ve managed to carry far less than I used to.
In my physical wallet
I’d love to just have everything on my phone, but not only are there a few things that I can’t add digitally and I also worry about what would happen if the battery died. So I still have an actual wallet with actual cards in it.
Ideally I’d carry just two banking cards on me at any time. A debit card for cash withdrawals and a credit card for when I want additional consumer protection.
Sadly I’ve also got to factor in that I do sometimes need to use alternative cards, whether that’s for specific offers, spending for work, places that don’t take Amex and a handful of non-payment cards I need to have. However, I’ve managed to limit it to just a handful.
Curve debit card
Right now most of my spending is on Chase’s debit card (1% cashback), while Starling is my main account. But I don’t carry either of those cards with me. Instead I either use them via Apple Pay (I’ll come back to this) or my Curve card.
Curve allows you to have more than one Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card linked to its own debit card, so it actually means I’ve got access to quite a few different accounts at any time. The Back in Time feature allows me to retrospectively alter which underlying card I’ve used.
That includes my business debit card, so rather than carry that, Chase and Starling, I just carry a single Curve card. I can also make cash withdrawals on debit cards without any additional charges.
Sounds great right? Well, there are issues. Amex doesn’t connect, and you lose Section 75 Protection too, so it’s not really a substitute for credit cards.
I’m also on a legacy tier which means I get loads of extra features for free. But if you’re a new or recent cardholder you’ll actually find the free option quite limiting. For instance, you can only add two cards, and that excludes business accounts.
So it won’t be suitable for everyone, though it’s worth a look. Here’s my full Curve review taking you through the pros and cons.
American Express Platinum Cashback credit card
At the moment the Amex Platinum Cashback card is my main credit card, earning me 0.75% back on spending up to £10,000 each year, then 1.25% beyond that.
A better paying card would be the Amex Nectar, at two Nectar points per £1 (so 1%), and I may swap to that or a stoozing card when the Chase cashback ends. Or I’ll see if other providers offer a welcome offer.
Barclaycard Rewards credit card
This card is my backup to the Amex and Chase card. It earns 0.25% cashback, so I really only use it when I need a credit card and Amex isn’t accepted, or if I need a credit card abroad (as it’s fee-free).
The main card I can’t add to my phone is my driving licence. Though I don’t need to use it very often (especially as I rarely drive), I live to have it on me.
I’ve also got my NUS / Totum Pro alumni card for student discounts. I don’t use this much anymore either, but it’s handy to have when a retailer offers money off (find out here if you’re eligible for one).
That’s mainly it. I’ve got a paper loyalty card from the Indian restaurant chain Dishoom (one more stamp and I’ll get a free breakfast), a second class stamp (which needs to be used or swapped for the new barcode style by the summer), a gift voucher for a local wine shop (purchased during Amex Shop Small), a plaster and a photo of my wife.
And that’s it! Everything else I used to carry, like Clubcard, Nectar and other loyalty and banking cards, are instead on my phone.
On my digital wallet
I’ve got an iPhone, and I actually tend to use it for the bulk of my spending via the Apple Pay feature. The higher contactless limit is also pretty handy.
I add bank and credit cards to Apple Wallet, and use it both to pay in shops and also online where the Apple Pay feature is available. There used to be an eight-card limit, but I added 13 and stopped trying as that’s going to be more than enough for most people.
Really I’d only use three or four cards on a regular basis, but I’d probably have a couple more on there just in case. All are listed below.
I’ve then got the bulk of the other non-bank cards I would have had in my physical wallet in another app called Stocard.
My main spending account right now is Chase and it’s set as my default card on Apple Pay. As mentioned, when the 1% cashback ends in late February it’s likely I’ll switch to a different card as my main way to pay, but it’ll still be via Apple Pay.
Starling personal and business cards
My main current account is with Starling, as is my business account, so they are both on Apple Pay in case I need to spend from them or withdraw cash.
Other debit cards
I’ve put the cards for Barclays, Natwest, Lloyds, Halifax, Virgin Money and Santander in my Apple Wallet in the very rare chance that there’s a cashback offer running with those banks which requires me to use that debit card.
American Express cards
In addition to my main Amex, I’ve got all my Amex cards on the phone. Again, this is in case there are retailer-specific offers I want to use, or Amex promotions such as Shop Small.
Though I don’t ever use it via my phone – there’s no point when I have those same cards also in Apple Pay – it’s worth it for Andriod users as it can be a hack to use cards which can’t added directly to Google Pay.
Other than the one or two that are paper-based, all my loyalty cards are now on my phone. Though you can access most via the retailers’ own apps, I tend to add them to one called Stocard.
You simply scan the barcode or enter in your membership number and it’s there to display when paying. This has really removed a lot of cards from my wallet.
I also use Stocard to add gift cards that have a barcode, as they can be scanned too. These are usually digital ones I’ve acquired as cashback site payouts or on offers like the monthly deal from Monese.
Finally there are a couple of other cards. I’ve put my library card on Stocard, while my gym membership actually works with Apple Wallet. I’ve also recently picked up a Two Together rail card at a massive discount, which is digital only.