money·2 min read

How Many Credit Cards Should You Have?

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Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
Jun 7, 2022

If you’ve ever received those 0% APR intro offers in the mail, you know how tempting it can be to fill your wallet with new credit cards. But is that always a bad thing? And how many is too many?

How many credit cards do most people have?

Experian says about four. But that doesn’t mean four is your magic number. There are a few guidelines to keep in mind if you’re trying to figure it out.Hint: Start by thinking about your credit score.

How many credit cards should I have?

It depends. Here’s what to consider before you apply for your next credit card.

Are you responsible?

If you’re good at keeping a zero balance on the credit cards you have, the sky’s the limit when it comes to multiple credit cards.

On the other hand, if you use your credit card to help supplement your income, multiple credit cards probably wouldn’t be a good idea right now. Because, in this case, more cards will likely lead to more debt.Instead, focus on building a budget you can stick to so you can put a stop to overspending

Do you have a good credit score?

Adding another credit card could help — or hurt — your credit score. And if yours is low (read: below 580 on the FICO scale), multiple applications will cost you points you don’t have to lose. If you have a good credit score (over 740), those lost points won’t sting as much. Plus, you’ll have much better approval odds. 

Are there benefits to having multiple credit cards?

Yep. Being a multi-cardholder has its perks.

Rewards

A variety of credit cards means a variety of benefits, depending on the types of cards you have. Think: cash back on gas or groceries.

Higher Limits

Multiple credit cards also means multiple credit limits, which add up. But make sure you keep your utilization under control. Because credit scores. Keeping your balance well below the higher limits is a great way to boost your score. But going overboard on spending and maxing out multiple cards will hurt your credit.

Any other drawbacks?

All those due dates can lead to late payments. And a blow to your credit score. Psst…try automating your bills to keep up with everything.

theSkimm

Multiple credit cards may not be right for everyone. Especially if you can’t afford to lose credit score points from multiple inquiries. But, depending on where you stand, the rewards might be worth it.And no matter how many cards you have, remember to keep your balances low, and pay your bills in full and on time.


Skimm'd by Dae Cason, Megan Beauchamp, Liz Knueven, Stacy Rapacon, and Alicia Valenski
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