The Man Who Has 1,497 Valid Credit Cards

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Are you one of those people who has applied for credit cards numerous times but is never approved? You may want to ask Walter Cavanagh, the Guinness World Record holder for the most credit cards.

He has nearly 1,500 legit credit cards to his name, a world record. He also has the longest wallet in the world that can hold up to 800 cards. Needless to say, that’s another world record for him.

His wallet extends to 250 feet and weighs 38 pounds. But he doesn’t carry all his card at all times, that would be silly. He only brings with him a few cards, the rest are stored safely in bank safe-deposit boxes

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Cavanagh has been into credit card collection since the late 1960s.  “Me and a buddy in Santa Clara, California, made a silly bet: the guy who could collect the most credit cards by the end of the year would win dinner,” he recalled. “I was fresh from the Peace Corp,s and I got 143 cards by the end of the year. My friend gathered 138.”

Obviously, Cavanagh won that bet. And then he decided to continue his odd collection. He went on to own credit cards from airlines, bars, gas stations, and even from a Texas ice cream store. He’s also got ancient cards back from when credit cards were made of paper and aluminum.

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Lately, he’s got his hand on a collector’s item – a sterling silver card from Reno’s first hotel-casino – the Mapes Hotel. The card is said to have “unlimited credit privileges.”

There’s only one card that’s missing from Cavanagh’s incredible collection, the one from the long gone JJ Newberry Co. That’s because when he applied for a card in the early 1970s, his application was declined, even though at the time, he already had 100 in his name. “They said I had too much credit. And to this day, I don’t have a Newberry card in my collection,” he said.

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Cavanagh has held the Guinness Records since 1971, a record he doesn’t want to let go. He’s still sending applications to every business found in the US directory. And if he receives a rejection, he writes back to the company and explain his intentions.

He has now an access to a total of $1.7 million courtesy of his cards. But despite the privilege he now enjoys, he’s still able to maintain an outstanding credit score. “It’s nearly perfect,” he proudly said. “I use only one card, and I pay it off at the end of the month. But you should see the length of my credit report – wow!”Mr. Plastic Fantastic has only one piece of advice to share to all the credit card users out there:  “Never use a card to buy anything you can’t pay off in a couple of months. If you don’t have the discipline, you shouldn’t have the cards.”

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