How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?

The average American has 2.6 credit cards. However, more accurately, when you remove the 29% of Americans who don’t have a credit card at all, that figure generally rises to about 3.7. 

It sounds like a lot, but it’s nothing compared to the Guinness World Record holder, Walter Cavanagh who has 1,497 credit cards. Who knows what he does with them all? Here’s the interesting thing, out of Walter’s 1,000+ credit cards, he only uses one. This begs to question, how many credit cards should you have?

It’s not an easy answer

For those who have found themselves knee-deep in debt, the answer to how many credit cards you should have is probably zero. However, for everyone else, the answer largely depends on a number of factors. 

  • Can owning multiple credit cards increase your credit score? Having more credit cards may help towards boosting your credit score. However, only if you pay them off every single month. In fact, people with the highest credit scores actually have an average of 10 credit cards. Multiple credit cards may also help you save on insurance rates and may even assist when applying for a job. Plus there are rewards that can increase with each offering.
  • How do you spend your money? Understanding how you currently spend your money and how you want to spend your money should largely affect how many credit cards you have access to. If you’re not that great at paying things off in a timely manner, well then the fewer credit cards you have the better. It’s questionable whether you should have one at all. Some people also prefer to pay for small things in cash and larger expenses on the card. If this is the way you wish to do your finances, one card is probably sufficient.
  • How do you want to manage your finances? If you prefer to keep things simple, having multiple credit cards can be tough to manage even with budgeting tools. Having only a couple of credit cards means there are fewer bills to go through each month and the fewer billing cycles you’ll have to keep track of. Remember, it’s highly unlikely that your credit card billing cycles will match up, so the more cards you have, the more you have to manage your money efficiently.
  • Do you need or want one for emergencies? Ideally, you won’t need to rely on a credit card for emergencies, however, not everyone has an emergency fund set aside or enough money in their savings to cover urgent situations. 

While there are opportunities to take out short-term or payday loans in this case, sometimes people would rather have access to one credit card that is only ever used in an emergency. Remember though, this card should be a low interest with no annual fee and a high credit limit. 

Key to remember when deciding how many credit cards to have is this: you must be able to pay every credit card in full, on time. If not, don’t take out the card. 

Choosing what kind of card to apply for

Figuring out how many cards is too much is also about what kind of credit cards fill your wallet. Carrying multiple credit cards that serve different purposes may work for you. 


Want free money?

  • Aspiration: Want to get spotted a $150 for free? Simply sign up for Aspiration, and the free banking app will give you cash for free, you just relax while it gives you $150 just for opening a new debit card. There’s no catch. This bank account is legit and only takes two minutes to sign up for an account.

Most credit cards will offer something in return for use, and many people will carry multiple cards around to ensure they’re getting the best bang for their buck, no matter where they shop. For example, some credit cards offer a percentage of cash back on groceries. 

This means people will use that particular credit card when they shop at a grocery store. That is why a lot of department stores offer incentives for people to use credit cards in-store. So if you shop at a particular retailer more than others, the generous reward rates and exclusive offers may be best embraced here. 

Taking advantages of benefits

If you’re a frequent flyer, a credit card that offers rewards points for spending may be a good option to have. Many of these frequent flyer cards will also offer discounts or points at particular hotel chains. 

The key though is not to get sucked into introductory offers and sign-up bonuses. If the long-term benefits don’t work for you, don’t be lured into signing up for a card. Sometimes the bonuses and offers are worth it, but only if you intend to use that card efficiently in the long run. 

Another thing to keep in mind is making sure your choice of a card is accepted – If your primary credit cards are American Express or Discover, you may face a problem, as these cards aren’t automatically accepted everywhere. 

What is the key to balancing multiple credit cards?

There are many benefits to having multiple credit cards, from improving your credit score to utilizing each card for the best rewards. However, the success in having multiple cards lies in your ability to manage them correctly. Know which card offers which rewards, keep track of when each bill is due and what your credit limit is on each one. 

Compare Your Personal Finance Options

ImageDescriptionGo
aspirationThis Company Will Give You $150 for Opening a Free Account
  • Boost your savings and earn up to 1.00% APY interest on your savings
  • Get up to 10% cash back on your purchases
  • Get $150 bonus when you spend your first $1,000 with your new Aspiration Plus Card
Learn More
personal capitalThe Smart and Free Way to Manage Your Money
  • Take control of your finances with the perfect union of technology and highly personalized service
  • Get access to free online financial tools, including retirement planner, investment checkup, net worth calculator and more
  • Digital-first wealth management advisor with 24,000 clients in 50 states
Learn More
personal capitalGet Up $500 in Free Stock for Joining
  • Commission-free stock, ETF and options trades
  • Get a free stock worth up $500 when joining (must complete application)
  • Simple, easy to use investor platform with no account minimums
Learn More
personal capitalThe First and Only Interest Earning Crypto Account
  • Receive up to $250 Bitcoin bonus when you make qualifying deposits over the first 30 days
  • Receive up to 8.6% annually on your crypto
  • Join the most trusted financial services for crypto investors on the market
Learn More
sofiAll-In-One Investing That's Easy to Use
  • Invest in stocks, ETFs, crypto, or automated investing in all one app
  • No commissions for stocks and ETFs
  • Complimentary access to SoFi Financial Planners
Learn More
blooom401K and IRA Management
  • Start your free 401k and IRA management now
  • Find and reduce hidden fees
  • Improve your diversification
Learn More
citEnjoy the Benefits of a CIT Bank Money Market Account
  • A CIT Bank Money Market Account helps you get more from your savings with interest rates for maximum growth
  • Earn over 7x the national average with high-interest rates
  • It now pays to open a money market account with CIT Bank
Learn More

Want free money?

  • Robinhood is a free investing app for your phone. I really mean free all around – free to join and they don’t charge any fees to buy or sell the stock. You can get a share of stock like Apple, Ford, or Sprint for free when you join through this link. The value of the free share may be anywhere between $2.50 and $500 and fluctuates based on market movements. You’ve got nothing to lose.

Want free money?

  • Robinhood is a free investing app for your phone. I really mean free all around – free to join and they don’t charge any fees to buy or sell the stock. You can get a share of stock like Apple, Ford, or Sprint for free when you join through this link. The value of the free share may be anywhere between $2.50 and $500 and fluctuates based on market movements. You’ve got nothing to lose.
Luke Fitzpatrick
A self-proclaimed 'tech geek', Luke Fitzpatrick is an influential blockchain and cryptocurrency writer, media advisor, and investor. He's been published in Forbes, Business.com, and Social Media Today.
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!