Financial Education

How many credit cards should I have?

This article will help you answer the question "how many credit cards should I have?". Also, you'll learn what are the pros and cons of having multiple credit cards. Keep reading!


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Melbourne, Australia - Jun 16, 2020: Top down view of online shopping using gift cards
Find out how many credit cards you should have! Source: Adobe Stock

When it comes to credit cards, you’ve probably wondered, “how many credit cards should I have?” “How many are too many?” For most people, the answer is: It depends.

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There are pros and cons to having multiple cards, and the key is finding the right balance for you. Here are a few things to consider as you decide how many credit cards to use. Keep reading!

A credit card for every occasion: is it worth it?

How many credit cards should you have? It depends on your spending habits and how you like to use your credit.

One card might be enough if you only use your credit for emergencies.

However,  if you like to take advantage of rewards programs, discounts, and cash-back offers, you might want to consider having more than one credit card.

Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding how many credit cards to have:

1. How often do you use credit?

If you only use your credit card for occasional purchases, you might not need more than one.

However, if you use your credit card frequently, you might benefit from having several cards to maximize rewards and take advantage of different offers.

2. How much do you spend?

If you tend to spend a lot each month, then having multiple cards can help you earn more rewards.

However, one or two cards should be sufficient if your spending is more moderate.

3. What are your financial goals?

If you’re trying to pay off debt, having several cards can help you stay on track by keeping your balances separate.

However, having just one card can do the trick if you’re looking to build your credit score.

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer regarding how many credit cards to have.

It’s important to consider your spending habits and financial goals to choose the number of cards that make the most sense.

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What are the benefits of having multiple credit cards?

young brunette woman holding in her hand many credit cards and h
Learn the benefits of having many credit cards. Keep reading! Source: Adobe Stock

One advantage of carrying multiple credit cards is that it can help you build a strong credit history.

Using multiple cards responsibly can demonstrate to lenders that you’re a reliable borrower.

It can be helpful if you’re ever in need of a loan or other form of financing. Also, having many of them can give you more financial flexibility.

For example, if you need to make a large purchase but don’t have the funds available in your checking account, you can charge it to one of your credit cards.

Just be sure to pay off your balance in full and on time to avoid incurring interest charges.

Finally, carrying multiple credit cards can also help you earn rewards such as cashback or travel points.

If you use them wisely, the rewards you earn can offset the cost of any annual fees you may be charged.

Ultimately, the key is to use your credit cards responsibly and only charge what you can afford to pay back. Doing so will help you avoid debt and keep your financial life on track.

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What are the cons of having multiple credit cards?

Confused stressed woman looking at too many credit cards
Understand how having many credit cards can affect your finances. Read on! Source: Adobe Stock

One of the biggest disadvantages of having multiple credit cards is that getting in over your head can be easy.

If you’re not careful, you could have a high balance on one or more of your cards, leading to interest charges and other fees.

Additionally, carrying multiple cards can make keeping track of your expenses hard. If you’re not careful, you could miss or delay a payment, damaging your credit score.

Finally, it can also tempt you to spend more money than you otherwise would.

So, if you’re not disciplined, it’s easy to charge more on your cards than you can afford to pay back, which can put you in a financial bind.

Does having too many credit cards hurt my credit score?

How many credit cards should I have without hurting my score? This is a common question; the answer can vary depending on your financial situation and goals.

If you’re trying to build your score, you might think having more credit cards is better. However, this isn’t always the case.

In fact, having too many credit cards can hurt your score. It is because one of the factors that go into your credit score is your “credit utilization.”

That means the percentage of your available credit that you’re using. So, if you have a lot of credit cards with high balances, your credit utilization will be higher, which can hurt your score.

On the other hand, if you have a lot of them with low balances, your credit utilization will be lower, which can help your score.

How many cards do Americans have on average?

According to 2020 data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Americans have, on average, 3.8 credit cards each.

As the average number of cards per citizen was 4 in 2018, the agency attributes this decrease to a desire to limit debt and exposure due to the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, recent research by Experian showed the average number of credit cards Americans have by state and generation.

The average number of credit cards per person is:

Baby Boomers56 – 744.61
Generation X40-554.23
Generation Z18 – 231.91
This table is based on the year 2020 for age counting. Source: Experian

People in different age groups have different opinions about how many cards they should have.

On the other hand, the youngest generation is adding more cards to their wallets, while the oldest generation is taking some cards away.

Still, you can find different answers to the question, “how many credit cards should I have?” If you visit the Experian website and check the research results by state.

Bottom line: how many credit cards should I have?

So, let’s answer the question: “how many credit cards should I have?”

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but it’s recommended to have at least two—one for everyday use and another for emergencies.

However, if you want to maximize your rewards, consider having three or four cards.

On the other hand, if you aim to rebuild your ruined credit, you should take a card at once and pay on time.

Just keep track of your spending and payments so you don’t fall into debt.

If you like this article, check out our post below to find out how you can choose the best credit card for you.

using credit card to pay for goods

Choose the perfect credit card for your finances

When you choose the best credit card for you, it can be a challenge. We are here to help you! Learn how your credit score can be decisive. See our guide!

About the author  /  Suzana Brito

I'm a Language Studies graduate and have always been interested in writing and sharing knowledge. By creating content about finances and related products, I believe in contributing to people achieving financial freedom and their goals in life.

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