How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?
Wondering how many credit cards you should have? Look further than just the number
Credit cards can provide convenience. Some come with perks and rewards that let you get more out of your purchases. And it’s true that using credit cards responsibly can be a useful way to build your credit. But how many credit cards should a person have? The truth is, there’s no right answer—what really matters is how you use them.
So, how can you use credit cards responsibly and build healthy credit? Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Only Apply for What You Need
First, it’s important to know that every time you apply for a new credit card, it triggers a hard inquiry—that’s when a bank or lender looks at your credit to decide if you’ll be approved. So, applying for a lot of cards means triggering a lot of hard inquiries. And while a single hard inquiry from one credit card issuer generally has a small impact on your credit score, multiple inquiries might have a more significant effect—especially if you apply for too many cards within a short period of time.
Pay on Time, Spend Responsibly
No matter how many credit cards you have, the only way to keep your credit in healthy shape is to pay your bills on time. Set a reminder on your phone or leave a note on your fridge to make sure you don’t forget, and try to pay your balance in full every month. It’s also a good idea to keep a low credit utilization ratio—that means knowing your credit limit and doing your best to stay well below that number for each card. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends keeping your credit utilization under 30% if you can.
Account Age Matters, so Hang On to Your Cards
Your credit score is determined in part by how long you’ve had credit. The older your credit history with each credit line, the better. Ditching an old card to make room for a new one—or adding a bunch of new cards—is going to make your credit history younger, potentially bringing down your credit score.
Set a Budget
A budget is a great way to manage your finances, especially if you’re managing multiple credit cards. You can learn how to budget with a credit card, and some may even offer budgeting tools that can help. Your monthly statement gives you an overview of your expenses, which is a great place to start.
Still wondering how many credit cards you should have? Remember, there’s no magic number. It’s all about using your cards responsibly in order to build and maintain healthy credit.
We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.