How many credit cards should you have? The answer is less of a formula and more of a big-picture discussion. Having several credit cards can be very beneficial if used properly.
When deciding how many cards you should carry, there are several factors that must be considered:
- Having multiple credit cards helps improve your credit score by allowing you to spread your balance across several lines of credit, thereby keeping your total credit utilization ratio low.
- Another way multiple credit cards can benefit you is by allowing for the ability to utilize several rewards programs with different benefits. For example, one card may offer gas rewards during certain months of the year, while others might offer year-round perks on travel. By having several cards, you can utilize them all to your benefit, maximizing the rewards offered at any given time.
- Yet another benefit of having multiple cards is to protect yourself from the off-chance that your credit card becomes compromised. Credit card companies often freeze a card whenever there is fraudulent activity. Having an alternative card at your disposal for situations like this will keep you from being stranded without a form of payment at your disposal.
- Having a backup card also applies to those situations where you are traveling and lose a card. You may be in a situation where you aren’t able to access other forms of payment or other funds you may have stashed away, so being able to access a secondary payment form when away from home is critical.
Bottom line, keep track of your cards and stay on top of your balances. Be sure to pay those bills on time as well, as late fees offset any rewards you may have earned. Make the most of any perks a card offers and make sure you spend wisely.