A frequently asked question is how many credit cards should you have? Is there a right amount or a point where you have too many? In this article, we will explore these questions and provide some insights.
Minimum Number of Credit Cards: 2
According to the expert, having at least two credit cards is the minimum. It is not advisable to have no credit cards at all. Having a backup card can be beneficial when one card is declined for various reasons.
If you stick to the two-card minimum, it is important to have cards from different issuers. This ensures that if one card is declined, you have a higher chance of the other card being accepted.
Additionally, it is recommended to have one card from either Mastercard or VISA, as they are widely accepted. If you travel outside of the United States, having a card without foreign transaction fees is advantageous.
The Sweet Spot: 4 to 6 Credit Cards
For most people, the sweet spot is having between four to six credit cards. This allows you to maximize rewards and combine the benefits of multiple cards from the same issuer without feeling overwhelmed.
Let’s consider some examples to understand this better. If you frequently shop on Amazon, having the Amazon Prime Visa card can give you a 5% reward on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. Similarly, if you are a frequent Target customer, the Target red card offers a 5% discount on all Target purchases.
Depending on your shopping categories, there are credit cards that offer higher rewards for specific purchases like gas, groceries, or restaurants. Adding a card in such cases can be advantageous.
Furthermore, if you have multiple cards from a program like Chase’s Ultimate Rewards, combining points and getting more value becomes possible.
It is essential to note that all these recommendations assume that you are paying off your credit cards in full every month and utilizing the rewards and convenience without falling into debt.
No Defined Upper Limit
There is no defined upper limit for the number of credit cards you can have. However, there are several factors to consider before adding more cards.
If you have a lot of credit cards over a lengthy period and make timely payments, it can actually help improve your credit score. The concern arises when you acquire many cards within a short time, especially with a limited credit history.
If you plan to apply for an auto loan or mortgage, having multiple recent credit card accounts might result in higher interest rates or even rejection. However, if you don’t require loans in the near future, this factor is not as significant.
Your income plays a role in determining how many credit cards you can handle. Higher income allows for more opened credit card accounts with decent credit limits. Lower income may result in diminishing credit limits over time.
If you don’t spend much on your credit cards, having too many becomes unnecessary. On the other hand, more credit cards can be beneficial if you spend more and aim to maximize rewards.
Tracking and Issuer Limits
You should consider how many credit card accounts you can effectively keep track of. If managing multiple accounts is cumbersome, it’s better to stick to a lower number.
Additionally, some credit card issuers have limits on the number of cards they allow or may decline your application if you have recently acquired too many cards from them. It is wise to space out card applications and avoid exceeding one new card every six months.
The Importance of Credit Cards
While some experts suggest having zero credit cards, it is generally not recommended. Credit cards serve as a means to establish and improve your credit history, which is crucial for better rates on loans like auto loans or mortgages.
Credit cards also offer more protection on purchases compared to debit cards. The involvement of a third party in credit card transactions provides additional security.
However, if you have had negative experiences with credit cards in the past, where they led to overspending or debt issues, it might be best to avoid having them.
In conclusion, the ideal number of credit cards varies for each individual. While two cards are the minimum, most people find the sweet spot to be between four to six cards. There is no specific upper limit, but factors like credit score, income, spending habits, and issuer limits should be considered.