How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?

Ought to you have got multiple bank card? Should you’ve ever spent your method into a large pile of bank card debt, then you definately may say that the reply is sure.

It’s definitely true that taking out a number of bank cards could make your debt repayments unsustainable. Nevertheless, there is no such thing as a easy reply as to what number of bank cards it is best to have, and there may even be benefits to having multiple bank card. Most consultants agree that having a number of bank cards can both assist or hinder your credit score rating, relying on how nicely you handle them.

This hasn’t stopped People from profiting from the bank cards provided to them. A latest Experian report reveals that the common American now holds round 4 bank cards. That determine is down barely from earlier years, and it follows a sample of U.S. customers shedding bank card debt because the coronavirus pandemic unfold monetary uncertainty.


Key Takeaways

  • The common American now holds 3.84 bank cards. That determine is down 4% from 2019, and it follows a sample of U.S. customers shedding bank card debt because the coronavirus pandemic unfold monetary uncertainty.
  • Having multiple bank card could enable you to preserve your credit score line utilization ratio per card decrease than the really useful 30% by spreading fees.
  • There are potential advantages to having a number of playing cards, resembling pairing numerous forms of rewards playing cards to optimize earnings on all classes of spending.

How Many Credit score Playing cards Ought to You Have?

Is It Good to Have A number of Credit score Playing cards?

Having a number of bank cards may enable you extra spending energy and extra alternative to earn factors, miles or money again should you’re utilizing rewards playing cards. Nevertheless, the impact in your credit score rating might be one in every of your main issues about having a number of bank cards. That could be a widespread consideration, however having multiple bank card can really assist your credit score rating by making it simpler to maintain your credit score utilization ratio low.

For instance, when you have one bank card with a $2,000 credit score restrict and also you cost a median of $1,800 a month to your card, then your credit score utilization ratio—the quantity of accessible credit score that you just use—is 90%. The place credit score scores are involved, a excessive credit score utilization ratio will impair your credit score rating. It might not appear honest—when you have only one card and pay it off in full and on time each month, then why do you have to be penalized for utilizing most of your credit score restrict? However that’s how the credit score scoring system works.

Is it unhealthy to have a number of bank cards? No, consultants say, should you deal with your credit score correctly, preserve your credit score line utilization ratio beneath 30%, and preserve monitor of cost due dates.

To enhance your credit score rating, most credit score consultants suggest that it is best to keep away from utilizing greater than 30% of your accessible credit score per card at any given time. By spreading your $1,800 in purchases throughout a number of playing cards, it turns into a lot simpler to maintain your credit score utilization ratio low.

This ratio is simply one of many elements that the FICO credit score scoring mannequin takes under consideration within the “quantities owed” part of your rating, however this part makes up 30% of your credit score rating. Solely your cost historical past is weighted extra closely (at 35%) in figuring out your credit score rating.

FICO cautions that opening accounts that you just don’t want simply to extend your complete accessible credit score can backfire and decrease your rating.

How Many Credit score Playing cards Ought to You Have?

There is no such thing as a magic quantity to that query as a result of everybody’s state of affairs is totally different. A robust argument might be made for having a minimum of one bank card to reap the benefits of the inherent comfort, safety, and different advantages. Justifying having multiple bank card can rely upon whether or not you want the additional credit score strains to accommodate your month-to-month discretionary funds or search to leverage your on a regular basis spending to earn numerous forms of rewards like money again, factors, or airline miles.

Downsides of Too Many Credit score Playing cards

Even having two bank cards might be one too many should you can’t afford to pay your payments, don’t want them, or don’t plan to make use of them for some goal.

Whereas getting a brand new bank card can generally enhance your credit score rating by probably reducing your complete credit score line utilization ratio, getting loads of playing cards in a brief time frame isn’t suggested. Many card issuers even have guidelines in place to fight this phenomenon, which has arisen with clients who attempt to sport the system by signing up for many bank cards to earn bonuses after which cancel their playing cards after assembly the spending necessities. For instance, Chase has a coverage termed 5/24, which doesn’t will let you be authorised when you have utilized for greater than 5 bank cards (whatever the issuer) up to now 24 months.

Having a number of playing cards can imply a number of charges and curiosity fees that accumulate in a number of locations. Premium playing cards typically include annual membership charges and different playing cards could have teaser introductory charges that shoot up after a number of months. Conserving monitor of all of this, even with comparatively small balances, can develop into difficult.

The Influence on Your Credit score Rating

One other potential draw back of getting a lot of playing cards is that it might make you look dangerous to lenders and decrease your credit score rating. Even when you have all of them paid off, the mere reality that you’ve loads of open and accessible credit score strains could make you appear like a possible legal responsibility to the subsequent lender.

So, whereas there is no such thing as a absolute quantity that’s thought-about too many, it’s greatest to solely apply for and carry the playing cards that you just want and may justify utilizing based mostly in your credit score rating, skill to pay balances, and rewards aspirations.

Recommendations on Managing A number of Playing cards

Having an array of bank cards can will let you earn the utmost accessible rewards on each buy that you just make with a bank card.

For instance, you may need a Uncover it Money Again card to reap the benefits of its rotating 5% cash-back classes in order that in sure months, you’ll be able to earn 5% again on purchases resembling groceries, lodges, eating places, and fuel (topic to a cap of $1,500 in mixed spending per quarter). You may need one other card that all the time provides you 2% again on fuel. Use this card in the course of the 9 months of the 12 months when Uncover isn’t paying 5% money again on fuel.

Moreover, you may need a card that gives a flat 1% again on all purchases. This card is your main card for any buy the place a better reward isn’t accessible. For instance, you may be capable of earn 5% on all clothes purchases in October, November, and December along with your Uncover card; the remainder of the 12 months, when no particular bonus is obtainable, you’ll use the 1% cash-back card.

One other consideration is store-branded bank cards that may solely be used for purchases in that individual retailer or on their web site. Opening a brand new retailer bank card that gives a big low cost on these purchases could be a enormous profit should you’re doing loads of procuring in a single place; for instance, back-to-school procuring, vacation procuring, or a serious buy like home equipment in your residence. Getting such a card and paying it off straight away might be advantageous to get the low cost, however it could even be a good suggestion to shut the shop card afterward whether it is now not wanted.

In fact, you don’t wish to go overboard—when you have too many accounts, it’s simple to overlook a invoice cost and even lose a card. The issues that may consequence from such oversight will rapidly destroy any financial savings that you just may need earned.

Retail retailer playing cards could also be simpler to acquire for individuals with decrease credit score scores however they will generally carry higher-than-average APRs, making it dearer to hold a steadiness.

Compromised Playing cards

Typically a bank card firm will freeze or cancel your card out of the blue in the event that they detect probably fraudulent exercise or suspect that your account quantity may need been compromised.

In a best-case state of affairs, you received’t be capable of use your card till you speak to the bank card firm and ensure that you’re, certainly, on trip in Bermuda and your card has not been stolen. That’s not a telephone name which you could make from the money register, nonetheless, since you’ll have to supply delicate private info to substantiate your id. You’ll want one other method to pay if you wish to full your buy.

In a worst-case state of affairs, the corporate will problem you a brand new account quantity, and also you’ll be with out that card for just a few days till you obtain your new card within the mail. One other chance is that you would lose a card or have one stolen. To arrange, you may wish to have a minimum of three playing cards: two that you just carry with you and one that you just retailer in a secure place at residence. This fashion, it is best to all the time have a minimum of one card that you need to use.

Due to potentialities like these, it’s a good suggestion to have a minimum of two or three bank cards. Should you solely wish to have a single bank card, just be sure you’re all the time ready with a backup cost methodology, whether or not money or a debit card. These playing cards provide comfort and safety, however are they price it? Examine the charges, if any, and be particularly cautious about pay as you go debit playing cards.

Ought to You Carry a Credit score Card for Emergencies?

It will be greatest should you didn’t have to make use of a bank card for an emergency—and as an alternative had sufficient cash in a liquid account, resembling a financial savings account, to make use of in such a state of affairs. Nevertheless, in case you are away from residence whereas on trip and don’t have the prepared money to cowl a automotive restore or another sudden expense, then a bank card can positively come to the rescue.

Different conditions, resembling an sudden medical invoice or a job loss, can typically drain any emergency financial savings. Having a minimum of two or three bank cards could be a helpful factor in instances of disaster.

Ideally, these playing cards shouldn’t have any annual price, a comparatively excessive credit score restrict, and a low rate of interest. Nevertheless, should you flip to bank cards once you’ve misplaced revenue, train excessive warning so that you just don’t tackle unmanageable quantities of bank card debt.

How Usually Ought to You Apply for a Credit score Card?

In concept, you’ll be able to apply for brand spanking new bank cards as typically as you want. Because the common on-line utility solely takes a couple of minutes, you’ll be able to apply for lots of playing cards in a really quick period of time.

However that doesn’t imply it is best to apply for a number of bank cards . Most often, ready between bank card purposes is healthier in your credit score rating—and it might even enhance your probabilities of getting accepted.

Does Having Extra Credit score Playing cards Assist or Harm Your Credit score Rating?

Having a number of bank cards may help—however may also damage—your credit score rating. All of it depends upon how nicely you handle the playing cards that you’ve.

Irrespective of what number of bank cards you have got, the identical guidelines apply: Hold your balances low, and all the time pay payments on time. Whereas the variety of playing cards that you just carry doubtless received’t have an effect on your rating in itself, it is best to keep away from making use of for a number of new bank cards at one time. Over time, if managed correctly, extra playing cards—and thus a better credit score restrict—may help you enhance credit score scores.

Can You Have Two of the Similar Credit score Card?

Many bank card issuers will certainly approve you for one more one in every of their bank cards so long as you meet the qualification standards. And, should you’ve all the time managed your present bank card nicely, that will make it simpler so that you can get authorised for the brand new bank card.

Nevertheless, don’t assume that you just’ll get authorised for the very same phrases as your present bank card. The bank card issuer will approve your utility based mostly in your present revenue and credit score standing, which can have modified because you utilized for the primary card.

The Backside Line

There are various advantages to having a number of bank cards, however provided that you handle them responsibly. To make sure that having a number of bank card accounts will be just right for you, not towards you, concentrate on the advantages that every card gives, your credit score restrict on every account, and particularly your cost due dates.

Use every card to your greatest benefit, be certain that to maintain your balances low, and if potential, all the time pay your balances in full on or earlier than the due dates. And naturally, bear in mind to check one of the best bank card choices in your wants and credit score profile earlier than opening any new accounts.