Things To Do To Setup New Credit Cards

Let’s start a discussion on best practices to setup a new credit card. Here’s some to start. Feel free to disagree.

  • Call and lower your cash advance limit to $0 to prevent accidental cash advance fees that occasionally crop up like if you try to fund a new bank account with it or buy a gift card online.

  • Record the account number, security code, and expiration date in your password aggregator app or other secure source, along with the customer service number so you can call in if the card is stolen.

  • Confirm any signup bonus was properly applied to your application and confirm the terms.

  • Enroll payment accounts so you can ACH from your checking account(s) when the bill is due.

  • Consider changing any automatic payments to this new card number, especially if attempting to meet minimum spend requirements for bonus purposes.

  • Setup autopay and/or make a recurring calendar reminder for the bill due date.

  • If applicable to the reward system, link your frequent flier/hotel number to the card account.


If you’re signing up for a bonus, I would add all of the other proof to keep when signing up for any bonus.

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Good start to this list. I would also add:

  • Sign up for paperless billing - easier to track statements and better for the environment
  • If using your bank’s bill pay service to pay bills, sign up for e-bills if your credit card company offers it
  • Set a calendar reminder in 1 year to cancel the card if applicable

Great thread OP:
I usually take a picture of the card (F&B) with my phone instead of recording it in my password manager.
I’ll add: Sign up for various alerts : very useful for staying up to date on various purchases as well as fraud alerts.

There are two more items on my list, and I recommend them to everyone:

  • Opt out of marketing via Privacy Policy choices. I opt out of every possible option – no information sharing with affiliates and non-affiliates for marketing purpose, no marketing by phone, mail or email, etc. This significantly reduces spam. I may have missed a few money-making offers, but I’ve found that the best offers are never sent to me directly – I find the best offers online, on forums like this one.
  • Opt out of Binding Arbitration, if applicable, using the steps described in the fine print (usually Terms and Conditions). We’ve had a bunch of threads regarding this on FWF. Mandatory binding arbitration is a horrid practice and should be illegal, but it’s not, and I’m not willing to give up my rights for no reason.

In my spreadsheets I also always make note of the date the card was opened, the date the signup bonus posted and the date the card was closed. Issuers have different terms with regards to when you can churn the rewards or re-open their cards. (ie, to get the signup bonus: must wait 24 months since receiving the last bonus for a repeat on a Chase card; must wait 24 months after opening or closing a Citi card to repeat the bonus, etc).


Some notes:

  1. For those who will lower their CA to zero, know that there are some CCs who will say you cannot change this later on so make sure that is what you really want. On the other hand, the benefit of having zero cash advance limit is for using CC to fund initial deposits to banks that allow CC funding. Some banks code this as cash advance while others don’t but you won’t know it until the transaction is processed and you either see it as a sale or you’ll see a cash advance fee on your account. Make sure to pay the balance of this ASAP or else this amount will be charged interest daily from the time it got charged, not when it is posted, although the cash advance fee is charged only once. This happened to me once and I was able to get the fee waived as first time courtesy, but I let the interest charge of some cents remain.

  2. Opt out of those “convinience checks” or whatever they call those that are connected to your CC where they allow you to write checks up to a certain amount which will be charged as CASH ADVANCE. These can also get stolen in your mailbox so it’s best to just opt out in receiving these checks.

  3. For those who were up for a Financial review in the past and they closed their account to dodge it, know that if you apply for a new card, you may be approved and think everything has been forgotten and forgiven. When your new card arrives, you’ll be surprised when you try to activate that the account is now close.

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My comments below (aka I’m lazy):

Ideally this is already done at the application step, or wasn’t done on purpose because you wanted a new account setup for you automatically. However, perhaps calling to verify the proper account is tied to the card is a decent idea, especially if you forgot it at the application step and/or are expecting a big bonus.

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When signing up for a card, I do screenshots of all the relevant information using the Alt-PrtScn command and then paste into an Excel file. It can serve as proof of signup bonus, and be a reminder to what was entered for things such as Annual Income, etc…


For those of us who are lazy and use Dropbox: Any time I hit the Print Screen button, it automatically saves that page to Dropbox. So when I get a CC offer, I just Print Screen it so that I have it if I’m told “We have no record of that offer”. Which has happened at least 3 times so far.

I second a modest spreadsheet for keeping track of: CC #, open date, close date, reward earned and maybe a few other data points. Extremely helpful for keeping aligned with reward rules (once every year / 2 years, for example) and a good check for inquiries, although using Credit Karma or the like makes this much easier today.

Depending on how clean you might want to keep your credit report, you could also make a note of the typical statement closing date and, for that issuer, the CRA reporting date if you want to pay off your balance early to avoid large balances. For some, this is the closing date, for others it’s a fixed time like the end of the month.


That’s a great idea! I’ve wanted to do something similar, but wasn’t able to determine the CRA reporting date. The best idea I had was if I was subscribed to a service that let me do daily pulls, I can do it for a month and determine it by empirical trials.

Great point – I align all my credit cards to close around the same date. Most cards report to CRAs within 2 days of the statement closing date. I think Amex reports at the beginning of the month, or at least they used to.

I use Chrome “save as PDF” function to save every step of the application process including T&C.
This saved me a 50,000 MR points when they denied me the bonus for signing up for PRG second time. The offer was targeted & had no once in a lifetime exclusion clause. I chatted with Amex CS and I uploaded the PDF to them as a proof and received the bonus after few days.


Not just for credit cards - I try to remember to dump my wallet on the office copier at least once a year, copying all cards, driver’s license, and all the little notes and other stuff that I always carry (numbers for doctors, H&B suppliers, whatever…). That way if the wallet disappears, I at least have a reasonable chance of knowing what I need to do and who I should contact for damage control.

Hardcopies go in the home safe, with a backup .pdf on an external hard drive. Cheap and easy way to keep it all together.


I prefer to take pictures of all these documents with my smartphone. That way they are always with me and also gets uploaded to cloud automatically.
I do that with every new CC.

In addition to linking frequent flyer/hotel rewards programs, be sure to sign up for any other ancillary benefits where you’re not automatically enrolled. I’m thinking specifically of Priority Pass … when I got my CSR, for some reason, I thought I was automatically enrolled. When going back through the “welcome kit” (i.e., bazillion-page document in fine print), I realized I had to sign up separately for that perk. Not sure if there are other instances like that.

Not recommended from a security and privacy standpoint, even if you encrypt those files. Someone breaching your cloud documents will be able to Melissa McCarthy you.


Someone who can do that might already have all that info :slight_smile:
Moreover, external HDs can also get hacked and if my house burns down then at least I have access to my documents.