Credit Cards (US)
How many credit cards should you have?
Do you often wonder how many credit cards you should have in your wallet? Get the answer in this article, plus tips on how to stay safe and organized when using multiple cards.
There’s no definite amount, but there are some easy rules you can follow for success
Credit cards provide a series of benefits. Have you ever wondered just how many credit cards you need to own?
With good use, you can increase your credit score, get rewards on purchases, and much more. However, not every card is equally suitable for every occasion.
To do that math, you need to consider a few things. First, how is your financial situation? Then, how are your spending habits?
Depending on your answer, it might make sense to you having multiple credit cards in your wallet. That way you can use them strategically and take advantage of the benefits.
There’s really no definite limit as to how many cards you can have. But you should beware that as you expand your collection, the risks get much higher as well.
You’ll get a higher credit limit, but overspending might get you in a lot of trouble.
If you’re not sure as to how many credit cards you should have, we can help you. Read on for our easy guide on how you can manage your portfolio and avoid the common pitfalls.
What is the right amount of credit cards you should have?
There’s no definite answer to that question. However, you can easily get to a conclusion by yourself just by examining a few personal and financial factors.
Before you start signing up for different cards, consider the following:
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What are your spending habits?
If you spend a lot on your credit cards, it might make sense to add a few different ones to the mix. There are several rewards cards for different purposes (cash back, miles, etc).
Getting multiple cards means you could take greater advantage of their rewards programs.
How are your organization skills?
This is important because depending on how many credit cards you have, you could lose track of spending and payments.
Having multiple options means you’ll have to keep track of each transaction and different due dates.
If you end up missing a payment, you could get in financial trouble.
Not only that, but it can lead to late fees, interest charges and a pretty nasty dent to your credit score.
Do you need a boost on your score?
The U.S. credit system can seem confusing, but it basically works like this: the more credit cards you have, the more credit you have.
That means that if all your expenses go to a single card, you’ll have a high credit utilization. That can negatively affect your credit score.
So depending on how many credit cards you have on circulation, you can divide your expenses and reduce your credit utilization.
By doing so, you can help improve your credit score even further.
Pros of having more than one credit card
There are plenty of reasons to evaluate how many credit cards you have and get a couple more if you can manage them.
It can increase your credit score
Most people know that one of the key factors in determining your credit score is how you use your credit.
What many don’t realize, however, is that one of the easiest ways to boost your credit score is by having more than one credit card.
Here’s how it works: the more credit you have available to you, the lower your credit utilization ratio will be. And the lower your credit utilization ratio, the higher your credit score will be.
Of course, it’s important to manage your cards responsibly and keep your balances low.
But if you do so, having multiple cards can be a great way to boost your credit score.
You’ll maximize your rewards
Having more than one credit card can be beneficial in several ways. First, it can help you maximize rewards and perks.
Depending on how many credit cards you have from the same issuer, you may be able to pool your points or miles to redeem for travel or other rewards.
Additionally, having multiple cards can help you qualify for sign-up bonuses and other special offers. Most cards don’t offer the same benefits in their top categories.
Therefore, you can check where you spend the most and get rewards cards for those expenses.
More flexibility abroad
While on international waters, you may have some issues with Discover or American Express Cards.
Having an international Visa or Mastercard credit card with you while you’re away is the smartest move you can make.
Also, make sure that card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee on each international purchase.
There are plenty of options out there that waive that fee, which can make traveling abroad much easier.
Cons of having more than one credit card
As you can see, there are several benefits of having more than one card. However, there are some important drawbacks to how many credit cards you may have on your wallet.
Running the risk of getting more debt
One of the biggest dangers of having multiple credit cards is that it can increase your potential for debt.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of only making the minimum payments on each card, which means that your debt will continue to grow.
If you’re not careful, you could find yourself in a situation where you’re unable to keep up with your payments and your credit score suffers as a result.
Additionally, carrying a balance on multiple cards can be expensive, as you’ll be paying interest on each one.
Another risk of having multiple credit cards is that it can be tempting to use them all for purchases, even if you can’t afford it.
This can lead to serious financial problems down the road, so it’s important to be mindful of your spending habits.
May impact your credit negatively
It’s no secret that credit cards can be helpful in building credit. But what’s not as well known is that having too many credit cards can actually hurt your credit score.
As a general rule of thumb, experts recommend only having two or three credit cards.
Any more than that and you start to run the risk of damaging your credit score. There are a few reasons for this.
First, it can be difficult to keep track of all your cards and make sure you’re paying off the balance on each one every month.
This can lead to missed payments, which will damage your credit score. Second, having a lot of credit cards can make it appear as if you’re relying too heavily on debt, which will also lower your score.
Finally, if you open a lot of new accounts in a short period of time, it can look like you’re trying to take on too much debt, which is another red flag for lenders.
How often should you apply for a new credit card?
There’s no hard and fast rule, but most experts recommend applying for one new credit card every six months or so. This allows you to take advantage of promotional offers without opening too many accounts at once.
It also gives you time to establish a good payment history with each card before adding another to the mix.
Of course, this is just general advice. You may need to apply for more or fewer credit cards depending on your individual circumstances.
For example, if you’re trying to improve your credit score, you may want to open several new accounts in a short period of time.
Or if you’re trying to get out of debt, you may want to avoid opening any new lines of credit. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how many credit cards is the right number for your situation.
Improve your credit score easily with these tips
If you’re struggling with a bad score, before asking how many credit cards you need, you need to improve your rating first.
Check the link below for some easy tips on how you can do that in just a few months.
About the author / Aline Barbosa
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