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Service Combines Your Credit Cards To Help You Earn The Most Rewards

If you’re like a lot of people, you use a bunch of credit cards to pay for things in order to earn different types of rewards: one card for miles, one for gas rewards, one for cash.

Plus, there are cards that pay you bonus rewards on certain purchases, depending on what month it is: 5% back on school supplies during August, for example.

But how do you know if you’re getting the maximum amount of points out of your cards?

What if you use your air miles card at a gas station and miss out on the 5% bonus on gasoline you’d be getting by using a different card?

If you carry enough cards, it’s easy to lose track.

But the new Wallaby card, which is currently in beta testing, promises to do all that work for you.

Wallaby (www.walla.by/the-wallaby-card/), a new company not affiliated with any of the credit card issuers, keeps track of all of the different rewards offers on each of your credit cards, including limited-time and onetime discounts, such as 5% back on gasoline purchases in a given month.

Wallaby then automatically picks the right card for you in order to maximize your points.

You give the numbers of your credit cards to Wallaby and tell them the rewards you want to earn. Wallaby then creates a cloud-based digital wallet that holds your information. You then get an actual plastic Wallaby Card, which you use in place of all of your regular cards.

“Each time you swipe your Wallaby Card, we look at where you are, what day it is, what cards are in your wallet, what your preferences are and what special deals are available,” its website says. “We then determine the best card for you for this purchase and forward the transaction to that card.”

At the register, you swipe your Wallaby Card and sign like you do on your regular cards.

You can also choose which percentage of your spending goes to each individual card.

At the end of your statement period, you get your regular bill from your credit card banks and pay them, not Wallaby, like you always do. Wallaby even knows the size of your spending limit on each card.

This sounds like a cool idea, but is it worth the $50 a year (the first six months are free) you would pay for this service? On top of the annual fees you may be paying on your actual credit cards?

Wallaby says “you’ll make up for that in new cash back or points.”

But will you really?

For example, let’s say you have a cash rewards card that pays you 1% back. The rewards on your first $5,000 of spending go straight to Wallaby, not you.

You’d have to be a very heavy spender with tons of credit cards – so many you can’t keep track of them – for this to make financial sense.

You might also be tempted to charge more than you normally would in order to maximize your rewards.

Another concern is security. Giving all that personal information to one company is just asking to have something bad to happen.

On the plus side, you won’t have to carry around a fat wallet bulging with credit cards.

Since Wallaby isn’t a credit card, it doesn’t perform a credit check on you.

The service isn’t currently available outside the U.S., and during the beta stage it doesn’t support private-label credit cards, although it may in the future. You also can’t get multiple cards for family members, although Wallaby says you will be able to in 2013.

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