How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?

Cash might be king, but plastic is rapidly taking over. The question is no longer whether or not you should have a credit card. It’s how many credit cards do you need to have?

Download our App!

Get paid more on your savings plus the chance to win up to $10 million every week. Users have already won over $8.5 million.

Adam Moelis
May 18, 2022
9 min read

Credit cards have steadily risen in popularity over the decades and are now a common part of life in America. The total number of credit card users in the United States reached an all-time high of 196 million in the last quarter of 2021. Another new record was set when credit cards made 28 percent of all payments in 2021.

The use of credit cards is only becoming more common. It’s almost impossible for other payment methods to match the convenience and benefits of using a credit card. Credit cards are so convenient that it’s generally considered a good idea to carry around several of them. 

Why Do You Need To Have a Credit Card?

  • Rewards programs
  • Convenience
  • Security
  • Credit building

Credit cards have developed a bit of a bad reputation over the years as a recipe for financial disaster. There’s no denying that recklessly using a credit card can land you serious debt. However, there are many good reasons why you should get a credit card. As long as you use your credit card responsibly, you can enjoy the following benefits:

Rewards Programs

Every major credit card you can find will offer an incentive to use their card. These incentives include one-time bonuses, discounts, cash back, rewards points, and frequent flier miles. The goal is to give you a reason to reach for your credit card instead of just using cash or a debit card.

Convenience

There’s no way to beat the convenience of using a credit card. Using cash requires way more attention to detail and planning. So if you don’t have $750 on hand for a new refrigerator, you aren’t buying it. 

On the other hand, using the tiny plastic rectangle in your pocket is all you need to leave the store with your brand new purchase.  

Security

Cash can easily be spent by whoever is holding it. That makes it easy to use as a currency but makes it more of a thief target. Debit cards offer a bit more security because they require the use of a personal identification number (PIN) to use. 

However, the funds can immediately be withdrawn from your account. In the event of fraudulent activity, you can notify your credit card provider and tell them not to pay for transactions you didn't make.

Credit Building

A credit card is one of the most effective ways to build your credit. The major credit card issuers will typically report the activity on your account to the major credit bureaus. It can positively impact your score if you consistently use your card and repay your balances on time. However, if you rack up a large balance and skip out on your payments, it can have a disastrous effect on your score. 

How Can Multiple Credit Cards Benefit You?

  • You will lower your credit utilization ratio
  • Different cards come with different benefits
  • Having more cards offers more security
  • Automate bills using different cards

There’s no such thing as an exclusive contract for credit cards. As long as you’re old enough, you’re free to apply for and possess as many credit cards as you would like. While you might not want to go wild with credit card applications (more on that later), it’s probably a good idea to take out more than one.

According to a recent survey, the average American has four credit cards in their name. Every person has a unique financial situation, so you don’t necessarily need to match the average. 

However, here are a few reasons why you should consider owning multiple credit cards:

You Will Lower Your Credit Utilization Ratio

The credit utilization ratio is the total sum of your credit card balances divided by the sum of your credit card limits. 

For example, let’s say you have three credit cards with a $1,000 limit. If you owe a total of $800 across all three of them, you will divide 800 by 3,000 to get your credit utilization ratio. In this case, the answer would be 0.266, or a ratio of 26.6 percent.

Credit experts recommend keeping your credit utilization ratio under 30 percent as much as possible. The reason is that the credit utilization ratio makes up about 30 percent of your overall credit score. 

A high credit utilization ratio would make it look like you’re struggling to pay your obligations. Having multiple credit cards can increase your credit limit, decrease your credit utilization ratio, and improve your credit score.

Different Cards Come With Different Benefits

Credit card issuers have seriously stepped up their game regarding rewards programs. It can be difficult to pick just one of them to experience. Cash back cards, travel rewards accounts, higher available credit amounts, Discover, Chase, Bank of America, American Express — there are myriad rewards from almost as many credit card companies. 

But why pick only one when you can just as easily have several? You can enjoy the benefits of a whole buffet of credit cards instead of just a single entree. Depending on your selected cards, you could even turn a huge profit because of your credit card purchases.

Having More Cards Offers More Security

Everyone knows that putting all of your eggs in one basket is a bad idea. If anything happens to that basket, you’ll go without eggs for a while. Carrying all your bank cards in your wallet is the financial equivalent of putting all your eggs in one basket. If you were ever to lose your wallet or have it stolen, you would be in a world of hurt monetarily.

Having multiple credit cards will allow you to have several backup plans in case something awful happens. You can keep an emergency credit card in your home and one in your car to keep you covered until the situation blows over. After all, it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Automate Bills Using Different Cards

We can’t overstate how important paying your bills on time is for your credit score. Having multiple credit cards will give you a unique opportunity to stay on top of your bills. You could automate your credit cards to transfer the funds to your bills whenever they’re due. 

 The bill will be paid and noted positively in your credit report. The best part is that your credit card payment won’t be due until the following month. You’ll be given an extra four-week grace period for each bill for no extra charge and completely free of risk.  

What Are the Risks of Having Too Many Credit Cards?

  • Juggling several billing cycles
  • Lose track of spending
  • Hard inquiries can damage your credit
  • Inactive cards can be deactivated

Almost anything that can help you in the world of finances could also potentially hurt you. This harsh reality also applies to having several multiple credit cards. 

The benefits mentioned above of having several credit cards won’t come without a few risks that include:

Juggling Several Billing Cycles

The most important thing that affects your credit score is whether or not you make your payments on time. Part of the reason why credit cards have a reputation for damaging credit scores so much is that people can sometimes struggle to pay their balance on time. 

You only have 30 days to make at least the minimum payment on your card statement before it gets reported to the credit bureaus.

Having multiple credit cards will mean that you have to monitor multiple balances. It’s possible that a payment could slip through the cracks and wind up being reported as late. Once a late payment is reported to the credit bureaus, it will stay on your credit report for up to seven years. 

Lose Track of Spending

Having a single credit card balance can make it easy to monitor how much money you’re spending each month. It’s the same as using a single checkbook. You can easily review the charges and track how much you’ve spent. Having multiple credit cards would be like having several checkbooks. Calculating your total spending would require additional reading instead of flipping open one book. Limiting your credit cards for a little while so you don’t risk overspending might be a good idea if you're on a tight budget. 

Hard Inquiries Can Damage Your Credit

When you apply for a new credit card, the issuer must pull your credit report. This is known as a hard inquiry and will hurt your credit score. The damage isn’t particularly serious (typically only around five points), but it can compound quickly if you don’t space it out.

Applying for several new credit lines can make it seem like you’re struggling financially and desperate for cash. The last thing that a credit card issuer wants to do is give a line of credit to someone on unstable financial grounds. 

So if you’ve recently applied for or were granted a credit card, you should wait at least six months before applying for another one. 

Inactive Cards Can Be Deactivated

The tricky thing about having multiple credit cards is that you have to keep them active. It’s quite literally a situation where if you don’t use it, then you can lose it. The good news is that it takes about a year of inactivity before a credit card issuer deactivates your card. The bad news is that’s one of the most common reasons a card is canceled.

When a card gets deactivated, there isn’t any kind of penalty to your credit score. However, you’ll now have one less account on your report, and your credit history will take a hit. 

Seeing as how this is 15 percent of your score, you might experience a noticeable drop in your score. Another issue is you’ll have a lower total credit limit. It will now be much easier for you to surpass the 30 percent credit utilization ratio and further damage your score.

How To Determine the Amount of Credit Cards to Open

  • Analyze how you spend money
  • Monitor your credit score
  • Stay organized

There is no one-size-fits-all number of credits that you should have. The correct number of credit cards you should open will depend entirely on you. 

Now you know the potential benefits and consequences of having multiple credit cards. You should weigh each of them carefully before you make your decision and consider the following factors:

Analyze How You Spend Money

Credit card issuers want you to use their card so much that they are willing to pay you to do it. Depending on the card you’re using, you could even wind up being a millionaire. 

There’s a saying in sports that “you miss 100 percent of the shots that you don’t take”. You miss 100 percent of the rewards programs you don’t use in finances. Spending money using your credit cards is an excellent way to milk these rewards programs for all they’re worth.

Monitor Your Credit Score

There’s no way to avoid the hit to your FICO credit score that comes with taking out more credit cards. You’ll need to ensure that your credit score can withstand the (temporary) damage. 

If you are about to make any large purchase that requires a good credit score (such as buying a house or car), then it’s best to wait a while on the credit card accounts. 

With excellent credit, the applications will be there waiting for you whenever you’re ready.

Stay Organized

You’ll have more credit card balances to pay each month if you own more credit cards. Remember that falling behind on a single payment can negatively impact your credit score for seven years. If you often struggle to stay organized and pay your bills on time, it might be a good idea to hold off on opening several cards.

Late payments severely damage your credit, and the interest charges can also be brutal. A credit card's average annual percentage rate (APR) is much higher than a traditional loan. So being late on a payment can cost you credit points and dollar bills.

Help Yourself by Using Your Credits Cards Wisely

As long as you have a decent credit score, you’re bound to be flooded with offers to open up a new credit card. There are plenty of positive and negative consequences that come with using a credit card. 

So you’ll need to decide whether you should have more than one credit card. The rewards can be worth the risk if you use your credit card responsibly.

Speaking of rewards, the Yotta Credit Card is loaded with them. With every swipe, you’ll be able to help build your credit a little more and have a chance for your next purchase to be covered by Yotta, increasing your odds of winning $10 million. 

All these benefits are available with no interest, fees, or credit checks, and it’s impossible to make a late payment.

You’ll probably never find a credit card that offers anything close to these features. If you’re looking to open another credit card, you should start with Yotta.

Share this post on social media

Read More