When you look at your wallet and see more than 10 credit cards smiling back at you, you need to be worried. While there isn’t a magic number of cards that everyone should have, too many is definitely something to be concerned about. Having too many credit cards could get you into a whole host of problems.
But how do you limit yourself with so many enticing offers around? How do you know when enough is enough? Well, since you have clicked on this link, it means you have a few questions of your own. You are probably wondering how many credit cards should you have.
So, we are going to give you some information on whether you should have lots of credit cards, or just one or two. To learn more about how many credit cards you should have, continue reading below.
What Is The Magic Number?
If we are going to estimate, the right number would be at least two. This is the best number, as it will also help you limit your spending. The more cards you have, the more you will spend, and the greater your debt will be.
Ensure that the few cards you have are from different companies such as a MasterCard, and a Visa card, or an American express and a Discover card. The reason behind this is that different cards offer different kinds of rewards such as miles, cashback, reward points, etc.
Now, not only should you have a limited number of cards, but you must also ensure that you keep your utilization rate to less than 30%. This will greatly help with maintaining a good credit score. We will explain this with an example; say you have a credit card with a $10,000 limit. You must always ensure that you spend less than $3,000 at a time on this card, which is a 30% utilization. Anything more than this will show that you are living beyond your means, and will definitely affect your score.
Is Your Credit Score Affected?
Regardless of what we have said above about the utilization rate, the number of cards you have does not directly affect your credit score. Rather, it is how you use them that makes a difference. Remember that the more cards you have, the greater the possibility of using them. When you use your credit card, you directly increase the amount of debt you owe. The more the debt, the lower your credit score.
Here is what directly affects your credit score; 35% of your score is usually made up of your repayment history – this means how often you pay back what you owe, and whether or not you do this on time. Then, 30% is made up of your total debt. This means everything you owe, from credit cards to loans and mortgages. Additionally, a portion refers to the length of your credit history, and this includes any new credit you may get and the type of credit you have taken.
The number of credit cards you have, therefore, does not directly affect your credit score.
Should You Leave Unused Credit Cards Open?
Well, here’s the part you are likely to find confusing. Keep your credit card accounts open, regardless of whether you have paid them in full or not. Leaving your old debts open will help increase your credit age.
Closing an account doesn’t necessarily remove the debt from your report immediately and after a couple of years – usually seven years, the credit bureaus will automatically drop your debt and close the account from your report.
How Many Credit Cards Do I Need To Build Credit?
Your credit is used to measure how trustworthy you are. This affects almost all aspects of your finances, and also controls how much money you are able to borrow, the interest rate you are going to get, and even the type of jobs you can get.
Credit looks at your financial history, entirely. If you do not have a credit history, then you must start building one, and as early as possible. The earlier you start on this, the better it shall be for you, as it enables you to take risks. However, you can begin building a credit history by opening just one credit card. Opening multiple credit cards at the same time won’t help you build your credit history any faster.
Get A Secured Credit Card
The question is not how many credit cards you need, the question is which one will help you build or re-build your credit?
When rebuilding, or building your credit from scratch, you need to be extra careful. One reason is that the more credit cards you have, the more debt you will likely be in. Also, when rebuilding your credit, chances are that you are not likely to qualify for a credit card at all.
A bad credit score is typically anything below 500. Some companies may be willing to offer you a credit card with bad credit, but you are not likely to get a good interest rate, so it’s really not worth it.
A secured credit card is a great option for both situations. This is a pre-paid card, where you deposit an amount of money that is equivalent to the credit card limit, with the credit card company. In this way, you can only spend as much as you have deposited on the card, and in the end, you do not end up in debt.
It is certainly not a secret that most people are in deep debt, and most of it is due to credit cards. If you are not yet part of this statistic, then, you must be careful how you proceed from here. If you are asking yourself how many credit cards should you have? Then you are on the right track.
Have a look at your wallet and see whether you have one too many, and if you do, take a pair of scissors and cut up all of the extra ones. Immediately. This is the only way you can help yourself. Avoid getting into debt, because getting out is harder than you think.