Credit scores can be confusing. It can be difficult to figure out what will help your score and what will hurt it. Determining what risks are worth taking can be daunting.
Since credit cards play an important role in deciding credit score, figuring them out can go a long way in making things clearer. The ideal amount of credit cards for you is one of the main things you need to determine. Finding the right solution can be a bit complicated, but here are some things to consider along the way.
How Much Debt Do You Have?
Getting more credit cards is a risk. Depending on how well you manage them, they could either improve your credit score or put you into debt.
Fewer cards mean you have a lower available credit limit and less opportunity to get yourself into debt. If you’re worried about missing payments and ending up owing too much money, you might want to stick to just one or two cards.
If you manage your cards well though, getting more could increase your credit score. It does this by improving your debt-to-credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of debt you’ve accrued on your credit cards divided by the sum of the credit limits on all of your accounts. The lower your ratio is the better, but experts recommend keeping it at least below 30%.
How Much Time Can You Invest in Tracking Your Finances?
More cards also means more due dates and account balances to keep track of. If you’re not sure you have the time to invest in keeping track of all of that, it might be smarter to stick to just one or two cards. If you’ve never managed a credit card before, it’s probably best to start out with just one.
If, however, you’re confident that you have the time and ability to keep tabs on all of that unsecured finance, feel free to get more than one card. Setting up alerts on your computer or phone and using personal finance software programs can help.
Would Separating Certain Expenses Simplify Things?
In some cases though, adding another card can actually simplify your finances. If you use a card for business, for example, you probably want to separate your personal and business expenses. This will make it easier to see how your business is doing and do your taxes.
What Rewards Are You Eligible For?
Rewards, such as travel points and cash back, are one of the main perks of using credit cards. If you can get more rewards for getting more cards, it might make financial sense to do that.
You might have to wait until your credit is a bit more established, however, before you can qualify cards with good rewards. You should also be aware that they also tend to come with higher interest rates.
Make sure you do your homework and find out everything you can about a rewards card before you sign up for. Find out about limitations, fees, interest rates and the rewards you might be eligible for.
In short, there’s no hard and fast rule for how many credit cards you should have. The right number depends on your financial situation. Be sure to look carefully at yours before deciding how many cards is the ideal amount for you.