How Many Credit Cards Should You Have?
There’s no secret formula for the number of credit cards you should have.However, credit cards play an important role in building and maintaining your credit score; having too many can become unmanageable, and having too few won’t help you build a strong credit portfolio. Finding the right balance for you and your spending habits could help you improve your credit score and overall financial health.
Is it good to have multiple credit cards?There are significant benefits to having multiple credit cards. In fact, having at least two credit cards is ideal, as long as you use each one responsibly. Here’s some food for thought for your consideration:
Maximize Credit Card RewardsHaving multiple credit cards gives you a greater opportunity to maximize rewards on your spending. While one credit card might offer you high rewards on groceries and gas, you might find another card gives you more bang for your buck when you book travel. Consider the types of things you spend the most money on and try to choose credit cards that align with those spending categories.
Back-up Payment MethodThings happen. You never know when your card might get declined, lost, or stolen. Maybe you run into a scenario where a vender doesn’t accept your credit card. Having a back-up payment method is always wise, especially if you are traveling or are alone. Having an alternative card could be the difference in filling up your gas tank or being stranded at the gas station.
Boost Your Credit ScoreWhen you maintain more than one credit card, you’re proving to lenders that you can responsibly handle multiple credit lines at the same time. You’re also increasing your credit limit, which can help lower your credit utilization rate. Just remember to prioritize paying your cards in full each month to avoid interest charges.
What are the best credit cards?There are so many great credit card options out there; the best credit card for you will depend on which rewards and perks you find most valuable. For example, if you have an expensive event coming up – like a wedding or a big vacation – you might benefit from a credit card with a low interest rate promotion more-so than you would benefit from a travel rewards card. You could put your expenses on the credit card up-front and then pay the debt off over time, as opposed to draining your savings account.
If you prefer to earn cash back on your purchases, check out cards that offer cash back rewards, like the Max Cash Rewards Card. You’re spending the money anyway, so take advantage of a credit card and earn rewards on those purchases. If you’re hesitant or don’t think you’re missing out on much, calculate what your credit card rewards could look like here.
How many credit cards is too many?Instead of worrying about exactly how many credit cards you should have, focus on using your credit lines wisely. You know yourself better than anyone else, so if owning more than two credit cards is going to be challenging for you to manage, don’t stretch yourself. When it comes to building and maintaining a strong credit score, it’s more important to focus on managing your balances and making payments on time.
Is it bad to close a credit card?There are pros and cons to closing a credit card. If you find yourself having too many credit cards and it’s becoming unmanageable, you might consider closing one of them. Or if you pay a high annual fee for a card that you don’t benefit from, you might be tempted to close the card. However, if you close a card, there is a chance your credit score could be negatively impacted. By having multiple credit cards, you’re likely lowering your credit utilization ratio and strengthening your credit history. Unless you pay a high annual fee, it might be worth considering keeping the credit lines open and being diligent to not use them.
There isn’t a strict rule for exactly how many credit cards you should have. When used responsibly, credit cards can help you build a strong credit portfolio. Since closing a credit card can negatively impact your credit score, it’s important to choose your cards wisely; meaning, choose cards whose perks align with your spending habits. If you have questions about which credit card might be the best choice for you, contact your local SouthState today.
About the Author, John Medina: John Medina is a Vice President and Branch Manager for SouthState Bank, He has 10 years of banking experience specializing in consumer lending, business lending and business banking. John is a graduate from the University of Florida and the Florida School of Banking.