You might be wondering how many credit cards you should have, and if you’re ready to apply for another one. While there isn’t really one answer since everyone is different, there are some things you should keep in mind when you’re applying for your second or third credit card. While it sounds enticing to have a credit card that offers tons of rewards, a credit card for airline miles, and a credit card for groceries, this isn’t usually the best idea.
Contrary to popular belief, having multiple credit cards does not typically affect your credit score. Your total debt owed makes up 30% while your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO score. Other things that factor into your FICO score is new credit, credit history length, and the type of credit you use. According to Value Penguin, Americans carry 2.35 credit cards on average.
It’s always a good idea to have two cards from differing networks. This means you can have one Mastercard and one Visa, or one Discover and one AMEX, or one Mastercard and one Discover – the options are endless. This is a good idea if you’re ever somewhere that accepts only one form of card such as Mastercard. Similarly, some places don’t accept AMEX, so it’s always a good idea to have a second or third one of a different network on hand.
Consider Your Personal Finances
If you’re someone who always pays back their credit card on time and has a great credit score, then go ahead and apply for another credit card. On the other hand, if you’re someone who continuously maxes out their credit card and keeps missing payments, then it might be a good idea to hold off on another credit card – at least until you can pay back the debt you’ve accumulated with the other ones.
If you’re savvy about maximizing your cash back or rewards, then it’s a good idea to get a second or third card with a lot of benefits. That way, you can spend them at various places like airlines and grocery stores while you rack up points and cash back bonuses.
If you have poor credit, we suggest only having a secured credit card. A secured credit card requires a deposit and helps you build up your credit while you pay the card off.
You’re Planning to Buy a House or Car
If you’re planning to buy a house or a car in the near future – we’re talking within six months – then it’s a good idea to hold off on getting another credit card. Opening a credit card lowers your credit score which could impact your chances of getting approval for a mortgage or car loan. Stick with what you have now and work on improving your credit score for the time being if it’s low.
There are many factors that go into how many credit cards you should have. One of the most important things to consider is your personal finances and payment history with other credit cards. If you feel you’ve been responsible with your past credit cards and can reap the benefits of having more, then start applying today! If you have poor credit and would like to stabilize your finances before applying for another card, then hold off until you are more ready.