Is There Such a Thing as Having Too Many Credit Cards?

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  • Having multiple credit cards is not necessarily a bad thing, but it's possible to have too many credit cards.
  • Having too many cards could make it harder to keep up with payments and make use of credit card rewards.

Having a credit card can be a good thing, as long as you are responsible with your card and don't end up missing payments or carrying a balance. In fact, for many people, having multiple credit cards can make sense. If you have several, you can mix and match rewards programs so you get the most bang for your buck with all different kinds of spending.

But, if having one or two cards is good, is having tons of cards even better? Or is there such a thing as having too many cards?

Here are the risks of having more credit cards than you can handle

Having multiple credit cards isn't necessarily a problem, but you could definitely end up with too many. And there are some big risk factors associated with having a huge number of cards. Here are some of the downsides:

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  • You could end up deeply in debt: If you don't have good control over your spending, you could find yourself with a substantial amount of credit card debt. The more cards you have, the more debt trouble you could potentially get into since you'll have more credit available to you.
  • You could forget to make a payment: If you have lots of cards to keep track of, the risk of a forgotten payment increases. If you miss a payment, your credit score could suffer, as payment history makes up the largest percentage of it.
  • You could adversely impact your ability to collect credit card rewards: If you have multiple cards, it could be hard to keep track of which one provides the most rewards for a particular transaction. You could also end up having rewards expire before you can use them if you are splitting your spending among lots of different cards and you never earn enough on any one to redeem them.
  • You could hurt your credit by applying for too many cards. Applying for many cards in a short period of time can damage your credit score.

For all of these reasons, you'll want to be sure you don't get so many credit cards that you find yourself in financial trouble.

How many credit cards is too many?

So, how many cards is too many? A lot depends on your specific situation.

If you enjoy keeping track of credit card rewards bonuses and you don't mind carrying multiple cards in your wallet to maximize potential rewards earnings, then it may be worth getting a couple cards.

You'd want to be sure you have one that gives you extra bonus rewards in all of the key areas where you spend the most. For example, you could have one card for gas and groceries and another for restaurants. And, you'd want to be sure you apply for them over time, were able to manage the payments on all of them, and were confident in your ability not to overspend.

However, if you prefer simplicity, one or two cards could be sufficient for your needs. Just look for a good all-around cash back or rewards card and save yourself the hassle of trying to manage multiple cards and all the complexity that comes along with them.

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