How Many Credit Cards Should A Person Have?

by Violet WillettNovember 16, 2023
How Many Credit Cards Should A Person Have?

How many credit cards is too many? That depends on the individual's financial situation. You should never have more than you can handle, though it may be possible to manage multiple rewards programs concurrently (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover).

Some people might think that having multiple credit cards is a good idea, but it really depends on the individual. You should never have more than you can handle and with so many different kinds of rewards offered by each card – cashback, miles, etc. There isn't enough time to maximize all your benefits.

To prepare for the worst, you should always carry at least two cards with you and store one in a safe place. This ensures that even if your other card is lost or stolen, there will be another available to use immediately.

Credit expert John Ulzheimer suggests asking yourself the following questions to ensure about the cards in your wallet. The first question is whether you have too many credit card accounts open because this might lower your available credit line and make it harder to keep a healthy mix of debt between different types of loans. 

Are you using the right credit cards? If all your cards are Mastercards, but one merchant only takes a Visa, this could be a problem. An example is Costco; now they only accept Visa and won't take any other type of card for payment (even if it's their own). To solve this issue Ulzheimer suggests that "your average balances across all your cards for the past 24 months “should represent no more than 10% of your overall credit limit."

Do you have low utilization rates on each individual card by keeping them under 30-40 percent at most times to avoid interest charges or fees?

How Many Cards To Carry When You Are Traveling?

When traveling abroad, it is essential to pack cards from a variety of networks. While most establishments accept Visa and Mastercard, American Express signs are becoming more common in store windows across the globe. When you travel abroad, make sure to bring credit cards from different networks. While Visa and Mastercard are most commonly accepted around the world, there will inevitably be a point where your card won't work. Consequently, you will inevitably find yourself somewhere that doesn't take your type of credit card - so bring all types just in case!

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