Meet Mr. Plastic Fantastic – a title given to him by the Guinness World Records – known by the name of Walter Cavanagh. He is a mathematical nightmare for those who have to work on his credit report, the reason being that he owns almost 1500 valid credit cards. He also has the world’s longest wallet; 250ft when stretched and a weight of 38 pounds while being capable of holding 800 cards. However, he uses it only to carry a few cards while keeping the rest of the cards safely in bank safe-deposit boxes.
He began collecting cards back in 1960’s end. He says, “Me and a buddy in Santa Clara, Calif., made a silly bet: the guy who could collect the most credit cards by the end of the year would win dinner. I was fresh from the Peace Corps and I got 143 cards by the end of the year. My friend gathered 138.”
He didn’t stop after winning the best and went on with his unique collection. He managed to get credit cards from airlines, bars, gas stations and even a Texas ice cream store. He even has a few antique cards from early days of credit cards – they are made of paper and aluminum. He recently gained a sterling-silver card from the Mapes Hotel, Reno’s first hotel-casino. It is a collector’s item with ‘unlimited credit privileges.’
His collection is short of one card though; J.J. Newberry Co. It has become obsolete now and rejected him a card back in the early 1970s. He recalls, “They said I had too much credit. And to this day, I don’t have a Newberry card in my collection.”
He still applies for new cards and has no intention of letting go of the Guinness Record that he earned back in 1971. He doesn’t count the expired cards in his collection and copies pages from a US directory of businesses and send them applications while explaining why he wants one if he is rejected.
He has access to about $1.7 million at any given time thanks to the cards, however, despite this, he has managed to keep an outstanding credit score. He says, “It’s nearly perfect 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!”
He is 72 years old and a retired financial planner and credit expert. His advice to all is, “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.”