Most of us have some sort of access to credit, and most of us have access to at least one credit card. Some have more than one credit card, while some choose to not have any at all. The big question is how many credit cards does a person really need? Is there any advantage to having a certain number of credit cards as opposed to someone who may have fewer cards, or more cards than you?
The thing about credit cards is that almost anyone can have one, and almost everyone has their own credit card. Whether it be a bank or a store, it is easy to get a credit card these days. Some companies will even endorse a line that has a sports team on the front, or that comes with a free t-shirt just for signing up. So, how many cards should you have?
The ideal number of cards is typically around 2-3 cards. This way you are able to control how much money you are spending, but you can manage to have an optimal credit score. The more lines of credit you have access to, the higher your FICO score will end up being. However, the more cards you have, the more likely it is to be tempted to overspend on those cards.
A good rule of thumb is that you should never have more cards than you could afford to pay off. It makes no sense to have a card just to get a card, even if you get a free t-shirt for signing up for the card. What is the point of getting a t-shirt for a card that has an annual fee of 200 dollars? Sure, you could always cancel, but what if you forget?
It also makes no sense to have a card that you won’t use, or that will simply be used too much. You might sign up for a Target card to save money on a TV, or you might sign up for a VISA card to have money for college if you are away from home. However, don’t sign up for a card thinking it is extra money because that is the easiest way to get into debt.
Credit cards should be used wisely, and you should make sure that any card you have is strictly for some strategic purpose. Unless it offers a reward you use, a good interest rate or is used for building credit, you shouldn’t get the card. The ideal number for you is the number that you can use in a smart fashion.