How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?

Read our Advertiser Disclosure.
Contributor, Benzinga
February 23, 2024

SHORT ANSWER: The right number of credit cards for you depends on your ability to manage them responsibly.


Wisely managing your credit cards can benefit your current and future financial situation. Credit cards offer a wide range of benefits such as travel incentives, fraud protection and rewards programs. Having multiple credit cards increases a person’s ability to fully enjoy a wide variety of discounts and rewards programs specifically designed for credit cards. When it comes to determining the right number of credit cards for you, there are several factors to consider, including your financial goals, spending habits and ability to manage multiple accounts.

Before opening a card, consider speaking with a financial professional to understand which options would be best for you. When used correctly, credit cards improve credit scores and allow individuals the ability to achieve financial goals. 

How Many Credit Cards is Too Many or Too Few?

Credit cards can be a convenient financial tool when used responsibly, but how many credit cards is considered too many or too few? The answer can vary depending on individual circumstances, financial goals and spending habits.

Having multiple credit cards can offer individuals access to exclusive rewards and benefits that cannot be obtained elsewhere. However, this can lead to overspending and accumulating more debt than you can handle. It can also negatively impact your credit score if you have too many credit inquiries or if you are not able to manage all of your cards properly. Additionally, having multiple cards means keeping track of multiple due dates, interest rates and rewards programs, which can be overwhelming for some people.

On the other hand, having too few credit cards can limit your ability to build a strong credit history. Your credit score is influenced by factors like the length of your credit history and the types of credit accounts you have. Having at least one or two credit cards that you use responsibly can help you establish a positive credit history and improve your credit score over time.

How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?

So, how many credit cards should you have? While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, there are a few factors to consider when determining the right number of credit cards for you, such as your financial goals, spending habits and the credit card offers available to you.

Managing a credit card has the potential to be a relatively simple process once the basics of the specific card are thoroughly understood. Remember to focus on making prompt payments, maintaining a low credit card utilization ratio and frequently reading your statements to maintain a good credit standing.

Disadvantages Of Having Multiple Credit Cards

While having multiple credit cards may seem convenient and beneficial, there are also several disadvantages to consider. Here are some reasons why having multiple credit cards may not be the best financial decision:

  • Increased debt risk: With multiple credit cards, it can be easy to lose track of how much you are actually spending. This can lead to accumulating more debt than you can realistically afford to pay off each month. The temptation to overspend is higher when you have multiple credit cards at your disposal.
  • Higher fees and interest rates: Each credit card comes with its own set of fees, interest rates, and charges. When you have multiple credit cards, you may end up paying significantly more in fees and interest than if you only had one or two cards. This can add up quickly and make it harder to pay off your balances.
  • Potential for credit score damage: Having multiple credit cards can negatively impact your credit score. Each time you apply for a new credit card, it results in a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can temporarily lower your score. Additionally, having multiple cards with high balances can also lower your credit score.
  • Difficulty managing payments: Keeping track of multiple credit cards can be challenging, especially when each card has a different payment due date and minimum payment amount. Missing payments or making late payments can further damage your credit score and result in additional fees and charges.
  • Temptation to overspend: Having multiple credit cards can make it easier to justify unnecessary purchases or larger expenses. The convenience of using credit can lead to impulse buying and a cycle of debt that is difficult to break.

How To Choose Between Cards

Credit cards provide an opportunity for savvy users to obtain extensive rewards and benefits. With so many different cards available, it can be overwhelming to narrow down the choices. Consider which benefits are important to you and choose a card that offers the most valuable perks for your needs.

  • Cashback perks: Reward credit cards offer a variety of perks, such as cash back or points programs, to incentivize people to make purchases. Cashback rewards can be applied to the balance, while points programs can be converted into items or experiences. Both types of rewards aim to provide users with utility and benefits for using their credit cards.
  • Building credit: Opening a credit card can help boost a credit rating, but it may temporarily lower the score due to a hard inquiry. It is important to keep credit utilization low and monitor your credit score regularly to continue improving it over time. Opening a credit card account can ultimately improve creditworthiness in the long term.
  • Offers: In addition to rewards programs, many credit cards offer additional benefits such no annual fees or no fee balance transfer.
  • Travel points: Certain credit cards provide travel benefits such as airline mile rewards, lounge access, room upgrades and reduced fees for businesses.

By taking the time to evaluate your spending habits, credit score, fees, rewards programs and additional benefits, you can choose a credit card that best fits your financial goals and lifestyle. Remember to always read the terms and conditions carefully before applying for a credit card to ensure you fully understand the terms and responsibilities associated with the card.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is having four credit cards too many?


Typically, four credit cards are not considered too many. It’s often recommended to have at least four credit cards if you are in a position to make prompt and full payments on the bills. Having multiple cards can allow an individual to spread out debt and successfully maintain a low credit utilization ratio. However, opening too many credit cards has the potential to be risky because payments have the ability to accumulate depending on the interest rates associated with each credit card. To avoid forgetting to make payments, consider placing your cards on autopay to ensure that your cards are promptly paid off. Autopayments help safeguard individuals with multiple cards from missing payments. Keep in mind that you will need to have the funds available within your designated account to successfully complete the automated payments. 


Does having multiple credit cards hurt your credit?


The answer to this question mainly depends on your ability to keep your balances low and to pay bills on time. For example, multiple credit cards can help to build your credit over time if you can show that you are a responsible borrower. If you are able to keep up with payments from various cards then consider having multiple cards to boost your credit score and obtain the vast benefits provided by different credit cards. Maintaining several credit cards is viewed as a positive aspect when it comes to personal credit. However, avoid opening too many new credit lines within a small amount of time. If an individual begins to apply for multiple credit cards in a short period, then it will likely make the person appear risky to lenders.



How many credit cards should you have on average?

On average, it is recommended to have around 2-3 credit cards. This allows for a good balance of credit utilization, managing multiple types of credit, and building a positive credit history. However, the optimal number of credit cards can vary depending on individual financial goals and spending habits.