Are you wondering if you have too many credit cards? That’s a valid question, especially if you have several cards in your wallet that are used for different purposes, like earning travel rewards, cash back rewards or taking advantage of promotional APRs.
The reality is the maximum number of cards you should have depends on your unique financial situation. Here’s how to determine if your collection of credit cards is ideal or if you have way too many.
Is There an Ideal Number of Credit Cards You Should Have?
There’s no specific threshold on the number of credit cards you should have. In fact, having several credit cards could be beneficial if you can responsibly manage all of your accounts and take advantage of the benefits they offer. However, missing payments, stretching your budget too thin or throwing away money on annual fees means you could be overextended.
Is It Good to Have Multiple Credit Cards?
On average, Americans have between three and four open credit cards. So, if you have multiple credit cards, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, it could be quite beneficial if:
- You enjoy the incentives and protections that come with various credit card products.
- You capitalize on welcome offers (or sign-up bonuses) to boost your pockets.
- You take advantage of introductory promotional APRs to consolidate expensive debt and save a bundle in interest.
- You leverage the accounts to accumulate valuable travel and cash-back rewards that result in sizable cost savings and generous returns.
- You own a business and use a business credit card(s) as a source of capital as needed.
Advantages of Having Multiple Credit Cards
- You can earn extra cash or save money from cash-back or travel credit cards.
- Your credit utilization rate will be lower if you have high credit limits but only use a small percentage of your available credit.
- You have more than one credit account building your payment history.
Disadvantages of Having Multiple Credit Cards
- If the credit cards come with annual fees, you could spend several hundred or thousands of dollars, even if you don’t use the card.
- You’re more likely to fall behind or miss credit card payments if you aren’t organized, damaging your credit score.
- Your credit utilization ratio will increase as you rack up debt, which could also mean bad news for your credit score.
How to Determine If You Have Too Many Credit Cards
Review Your Credit Report
Get a copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Review each credit report in its entirety and note any negative but accurate information that appears. For example, you may be overextended if many delinquent accounts or missed payments are listed in your credit profile.
Look at Your Credit Utilization and Payment History
Does your payment history indicate that you’ve made all your monthly payments on time? Are all of your accounts in good standing? Is the credit utilization rate on your credit cards at an acceptable level – preferably at or below 30 percent? You could have too many credit cards if you cannot answer yes to both of these questions.
Inquire What Your Credit Card Company Thinks
Conduct research to learn more about your credit card issuer’s thoughts regarding the number of cards you should have. You can inquire with customer support or peruse the credit card company’s online library of resources for more insight.
How Well You’re Managing Your Cards
Can you keep up with the payment due dates while maintaining low balances on your credit cards? If so, chances are you’re doing an effective job at managing your cards. But if it’s the opposite, you may have more credit cards than you can responsibly handle.
How It Affects Your Credit Score
Is your credit score trending upward or downward? The answer to this question may help determine if you have too many credit cards. But if your credit score is stagnant but on the higher end, chances are the number of credit cards you have works for you.
Get a Line of Credit Without a Credit Check
Maybe you want access to more credit but aren’t interested in opening another credit card account. Consider Grain, an online platform that offers a digital line of credit with no credit check required. Unlike a traditional credit card, you won’t have to undergo a hard credit check that hurts your score to apply. Even better, applying only takes a few minutes, and you’ll get a credit decision immediately.
Download the Grain app from the App Store to learn more or access all its features. If you have an Android device, visit the website to join the waitlist and be notified when it becomes available on Google Play.
Disclaimer: Credit offer based on cash flow in the linked checking account and may require a credit check. All accounts are subject to ID verification and approval. See your Credit Agreement and Terms of Service for further details.