In a few decades, credit cards have turned from a luxury to a virtual necessity in today’s society. We see attractive advertisements, rewards, and special offers everywhere trying to persuade us to add just one more of those plastic cards into our wallets.
This reality may lead you to wonder, how many credit cards should I have? The answer to that question can vary for every individual. However, these tips may help you decide whether to activate that one additional card you get in the mail.
Less is More
This mantra can help you in many aspects of the financial planning. Having many credit cards is similar to having numerous cars in your garage. They look really cool and they give you more than one way to perform the same task. However, you need to remember that these privileges come with additional costs. Every credit card comes with an interest rate, a fraud risk, a payment deadline, and possibly an annual fee—all of which you have to track. Carefully consider these costs before deciding to add another credit card.
Quality over Quantity
Credit cards are basically your personal line of credit. The limit of this available line of credit has a significant impact on your credit score. If you are not careful, having many credit cards can lead you to lower credit score instead. A better alternative may be to look for the best credit card deals you can find and to stick with those credit cards. This option will help you build your credit history in the long run. Then, after using those credit cards for a period of time, call your credit card provider and ask them to either increase your limit or to reduce your interest rate. This way, you can havebetter credit cards rather than more credit cards.
The ability to say “No!” to the temptations around you can is crucial to financial health. Temptation may come in the form of 30 percent off your purchase when you apply for a store card, or some extra miles for a trip to Hawaii when you apply for another credit card. Remember to consider the long-term and not just the short-term impacts of your decision. Build the discipline you need to stick to your plan.
There is no exact formula to determine how many credit cards you should have. Everyone has different needs, goals, and lifestyle. You know yourself better than anyone. Set your own goals and priorities, choose wisely, and get the most out of what you already have. When it comes to credit cards, it is a good idea to have enough to achieve your healthy financial goals — and no more.