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How Many Credit Cards is Too Much and What It Means for Your Credit Score

Almost 170 million Americans possess one credit card. But how many cards must you have? Credit cards help build credit to earn rewards, with proper management. How you utilise a credit card is more important than how many you possess. Using credit cards for purchases you cannot afford, hurts you ultimately. The average credit card has 16% interest payable and a $1,000 purchase could cost you over $2,000 if you pay only minimum dues each month.

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Responsible credit card use establishes your credit history. Repaying your credit card bill on time every month, helps your credit score move higher. If paying your card in full you never pay interest. Many cards offer rewards but carrying over balances from month to month, ensures interest payments that negate all benefits.

Does Larger Number of Credit Cards Affect Credit Scores?

Your credit score is made up of different factors including payment history (35%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%), debt owed vis-a-vis credit available (30%), and credit mix (10%). The number of cards possessed does not matter. Your credit score takes a small 2 to 5 point hit each time you submit an application for a new card. Select credit cards suiting your financial needs. It’s reabsorbed quickly, if you don’t use the new card to enhance debt.

How Many Credit Cards Should You Have?

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There’s no rule about how many credit cards you have if you are financially responsibility: paying bills on time, and in full if possible, and using the perks provided. Having one credit card helps raise your credit, useful for a mortgage or a car loan. Some cards earn cash-back or travel rewards. If able to manage a budget, you benefit more from a credit card than with cash or debit card. If unable to maintain financial discipline, avoid credit cards and use a debit card (or cash) within a budget before applying for one. Before applying for a credit card offering rewards, understand what to do with the credit or with rewards, such as cash rewards, travel benefits that accrue but with some very clear, achievable objectives. Just accumulating credit cards because you can, makes no sense without definite goals in mind.

How Many Credit Cards Is Too Many?

If unable to keep track of credit cards or paying bills, or unable to use the card benefits, you have too many of them. There is no upper limit if you pay card bills every month and use their perks, for cards with annual fees. Perks range from airline fee credits to lounge access, all useful tools to have when travelling frequently. Many travel-focused cards offer non-travel rewards as people stay put at home. Never retain a card if the reward structure doesn’t work and downgrade expensive cards you don’t need rather than cancelling which hurts your credit score.


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The number of credit cards an individual should have is yet to be defined as ultimately what matters is managing these and your finances, responsibly. Personal finance is personal before it’s financial, so review your situation to figure out what’s best. Lacking discipline to repay your credit cards, you land in a mess. Closing a credit card hurts your credit score. Instead, just stop using it and make token purchases with it every few months.

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