Are you looking to maximize your credit card rewards while minimizing your credit card stress? Choosing a single credit card for all your expenses is a great way to enjoy great rewards without having to worry about sign-up bonuses or which card to swipe when you get to the register.
Personally, I’ve used one card card for 99% of my credit card spending for the past 13 months (the other 1% is a small bill that I pay automatically through my oldest no-fee credit card account).
My card of choice isn’t one that I chose based on the rewards — it offers a mediocre point (1.25 cents) on all spending or two points on travel and dining. I chose the card because it offers amazing benefits including primary collision damage waivers on rental cars — a high-value perk for someone like me who rents cars as often as four times per year.
That said, I’m not exactly married to this card, and I could see myself switching to a better rewards card. I just don’t want to take the time to find the perfect card. That’s where CardCruncher comes in. CardCruncher is an online platform that analyzes your spending and recommends one card that’s perfect for you. Or, at least perfect based on your spending history.
Did it work? We’ll explain the pros and cons of CardCruncher, and whether you should use it to find your next credit card.
- Connect your account and discover the best credit card
- It attempts to help you maximize your rewards based on spending
- May undervalue or miscalculate some perks/rewards
How CardCruncher Works
When you first go to CardCruncher, it will direct you to connect your accounts (credit and debit accounts only) through a service called Plaid. Plaid is a financial encryption service that ensures that the data stays stored on your account and not on the CardCruncher platform.
Once you connect your accounts, CardCruncher analyzes your spending habits by breaking down your spending by category. Categories include groceries, gas, dining, travel, and more.
CardCruncher has a database of 150+ credit cards that includes information on the sign-up bonuses and category spending bonuses. This database includes most of the top travel and cash-back rewards credit cards.
By matching your spending habits with the database, CardCruncher maximizes the financial value of your rewards.
Does It Work?
I think if I only connected my credit card accounts to CardCruncher, it would have easily given me the best possible rewards. Unfortunately, CardCruncher doesn’t give the option to connect only one or two accounts at an institution. My debit and credit card accounts ended up being added to the database.
The result of this glitch is that it clearly over-counted my spending category entitled, “Other.” This would have included charitable giving, childcare, and taxes which are all expenses that I pay from my debit account, not a credit card. As a result, CardCruncher recommended a card that is designed exclusively for people that spend at least $50,000 per year on their credit card.
Independently reviewing the cards that were offered, it was the fourth card that made the most sense, followed by the eighth credit card. The sixth card recommended was actually the card I currently use.
I was surprised to see that CardCruncher doesn’t seem to account for the “maximum value” of a point. For example, you can use Chase travel rewards as cash-back for one cent each. Or, you can redeem them through the travel portal for 1.25 cents each. It certainly seems odd that CardCruncher undervalues points/miles to regular cash points.
Should You Use CardCruncher for Your Next Credit Card?
The CardCruncher algorithm is a sensible one, and if you don’t care about credit card perks, it’ll probably work well enough for you. If you don’t currently earn any credit card rewards, go ahead and use the site to find a better credit card.
That said, I didn’t have a great experience with CardCruncher. It’s definitely not a good site for travel hackers, and people who value perks over rewards (like me) will find the site isn’t nearly nuanced enough. If the site doesn’t work for you, don’t despair. Instead, spend a little extra time researching the best credit cards every few years. It’s a bit of a hassle, but it’s well worth it for maximizing rewards.