When it comes to credit cards, I was always taught that they were bad. I never actually questioned it, is having too many credit cards bad? It’s actually not the answer I was expecting.
Having lots of credit cards is not bad, it’s actually really good for your credit score. When you have more credit cards, it increases your total available credit (over all your credit lines) and lowers your credit card utilization. Let’s dive deeper.
Any time you have a credit card, you have an available credit line through a bank. That means a lender (bank) trusts you. As you apply for more credit cards, other lenders will look at your credit report and see that you are trusted. Of course, it is bad to have too many credit cards if they have annual fees or if you’re holding a balance.
How many credit cards can you have?
For myself, it’s never been my goal to have as many credit cards as possible. I typically have around 20 cards open and the most I had open at one time were 24 credit cards. I currently have no debt, carry a $0 balance on most of the cards, and have a credit score of 832 (fluctuates but consistently over 800).
I don’t think there is a limit to how many credit cards you can have, but of course having lots of credit cards makes it difficult to manage. That’s why I use Mint to show me all my account balances.
From the credit cards I have, a majority of them have no annual fee. Among those cards, 10 of my credit cards don’t get used at all and just stay open to continue aging. A big part of your credit score is having an old credit history, a perfect on-time payment history and high available credit lines.
The other 10 credit cards I have are for sign up bonuses. My favorite thing about having good credit is that it’s pretty easy to get approved for credit cards that have a sign up bonus (more difficult with 5/24 though).
Sign up bonuses just mean, you get something for signing up. Typically it’s a bonus like spend $3000 and get a $500 cashback bonus. Yeah, that’s $500 just for having good credit and you can do that with every available sign up bonus. It’s a very nice way to make extra money with little work.
How many credit cards is too many?
I had some friends asking me, “Is 3 credit cards too many?” This is clearly a friend with not the best credit score. Many people believe that having too many credit cards will hurt your credit, but that’s only if you’re not paying those credit cards. Instead of asking, “How many credit cards should you own?” you should be asking “How many credit cards I can get?” Go for as many credit cards as you can get (with no annual fee) and just keep them open forever. That’s the #1 secret to having an amazing credit score.
Alright, that does sound like a sales pitch. A lot of people are under the wrong impressions of how credit works so it may not make sense to them that having a lot of credit cards is a good way to build your credit score positively.
Obviously, if you’re irresponsible with money and have no self-control, DO NOT GET MORE credit cards. If you are irresponsible, the best way to build your credit is to be an authorized user on someone else’s account. Lucky for you, we here at SlyCredit provide tradelines for sale.
Don’t worry, one day you can be very responsible with money. When I was 25, I had no self-control with money and had $14,000 in debt. Being LESS than broke sucks. It took a lot of learning for me to figure out how to get out of debt and was able to do that in less than a year.
Is it better to have more credit cards?
It is good to have more credit cards which gives you more lines of credit through various lenders (banks), but it also helps to build your credit score by having student, auto or home loans. For obvious reasons, these are the MOST EXPENSIVE ways to build your credit history to increase your credit report. The cheapest way is to be an authorized user by purchasing tradelines for sale at the SlyCredit store. It sounds like a sales pitch, but by having your account added as an authorized user, you get the benefits of a strong credit history.
How often should you use your credit card?
Personally, I have credit cards I haven’t used in 6 years. Those credit cards have no annual fee. In the past 18 years of playing this credit card game, I’ve had 2 credit cards closed on me due to inactivity. When that happens, it’s a little bad for your credit score. You’ll need to call your bank and ask them to close it on your behalf. If YOU close the credit card it looks better on your credit report than having the bank close it without your consent.
There’s a lot of information online saying you should use a credit card at least every 3 to 6 months. I think even just using it once a year is good. If you’re worried about your credit card being closed, I highly suggest putting a monthly subscription service on that credit card like Hulu, Netflix, Spotify and basically anything you know will have a charge every year. For the less frequent cards, you can always attach that to occasional services like UberEats or DoorDash. It makes it easy to switch payment methods so you can switch between credit cards each time you make an order.
Is it better to pay off your balance or keep a balance?
If you can pay off your credit card balance, pay it off. It is always better to pay off your balance to keep your overall credit card utilization low. I highly suggest turning on AUTOPAY on all your accounts for the minimum statement balance. You can do the full statement balance if you like, but at least with the minimum you won’t miss a payment. Missing a credit card payment can devastate your credit score.
When it comes to your credit card balance, try to not pay it off early if you don’t need to.
Is it bad to pay off credit cards early?
Paying off your credit card balance before the statement date can be good or bad depending on the situation. I’ll explain in detail, but when people say good or bad in relation to paying off credit cards early, that just means how it will effect your credit score.
Not Reporting A Statement Balance
It’s bad to pay off your credit cards early to $0 before the statement date. This is because your bank will report a $0 balance for the month to your credit. The credit companies want to see that you are using your credit and using it responsibly. In this case, you did use your credit responsibly, BUT you paid it off too early so in the eyes of the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, Transunion), it looks like you didn’t use any of your credit.
If you want to build your credit score, you need to be using at least 1% of your total available credit line. So if you have a $10,000 credit limit total between 4 different credit cards, you need to have a total of 1% usage, which is $10 in this example.
Pay Your Credit Card Early to Avoid High Credit Utilization
It’s good to pay off your credit cards early if your statement balance will be 50% or more of your available credit limit. Any time you use more than 50% of the credit limit on any single credit card, it will negatively impact your credit score. Additionally, any time you use more than 30% of your available credit limit over all credit lines that will impact your credit score. Let’s look at an example:
Credit Card Utilization (total limit): You have 3 credit cards with an available credit line of $1,000 each, for a total available credit of $3000. When you spend $900 total on all 3 cards (or just 1 card), that’s a credit utilization of 30% which will hurt your credit score. Any credit card utilization under 30% will be positive for your credit score.
Credit Card Utilization (single card): You have 3 credit cards with an available credit line of $1,000 each, for a total available credit of $3000. On one credit card, you have a statement balance of $500. That’s a credit card utilization of 50% on a single card. Any time you are using 50% or more of your available credit on a single credit line, that will negatively impact your score.
Credit Card Utilization (Only one credit card): If you have ONLY one credit card with a credit line of $1000, that means you can only spend UP TO $300 on that credit card. That’s because $300 would be 30% of your credit utilization.
So in this case, IT IS GOOD to pay your credit card off early to keep you under your credit line utilization limits. You shouldn’t pay the entire balance, but if you have a big purchase, just remember to pay off most of the balance before the statement hits. Your goal is to keep the credit card statement balance under the 30% and 50% credit card utilization limits shown in the examples above. I know it may sound a little confusing, so feel free to post something to the FACEBOOK page if you need further clarification. I can make some infographics…I just choose not to.
Is having a zero balance on credit cards bad?
Having a zero balance on credit cards isn’t necessarily bad. Your credit score is based on your overall credit card utilization. If you have 5 credit cards and 4 of them have a zero balance while the 1 credit card is being used, your credit score will be fine. Just remember to be at least using 1-30% of your available credit limit.
That means if you have a $10,000 credit limit among all your credit cards, to make sure your total statement balance stays between $10 to $3000. It’s an incredibly easy goal to achieve.
What happens if I don’t use my credit card every month?
If you don’t use your credit card every month nothing should happen…mostly. Just remember to be using at least 1% of your total available credit on any other credit card(s). Personally, I have some credit cards I just forgot about and haven’t used in 6 years. Banks just keep them open. I have had 2 accounts closed for inactivity after 2 years with Chase, but every bank has kept them open.
If you are concerned, just make sure you have auto pay on and set a subscription service up to your credit card. That’s the easiest way to keep your card active and to have a statement balance that your bank can report to the credit bureaus (that’s a good thing if you don’t spend too much).
What happens if I overpay my credit card?
In some situations, you might accidentally overpay your credit card and have a negative account. If you will be spending ore money with the bank, think of it as a credit. As you spend more money on the credit card the money your overpaid will be deducted with each purchase. A negative balance can also occur when you get a purchase refunded.
Last Thoughts on: Is having too many credit cards bad?
Credit is credibility and if you are responsible with your credit, that’s the easiest way for your score to go up. Getting a high credit score can take years…and that’s if you do all the right things. If you make a lot of mistakes when trying to build up your credit it can take a much longer time. Your first step to understanding you credit score is to take a free look at your credit report.
Over the past 18 years of having credit cards, I have received over 100 different credit cards and still keep 10 with no annual fees open from my younger days. If you have a credit card with an annual fee, you can always ask the bank if a downgrade to a no annual fee credit card is possible.
I’ve had over 100 credit cards and my credit score is 832 out of 850. That’s pretty much as high as it can get. After you score goes over 800, there isn’t really noticeable difference in offers or credit card approvals. I’ve gotten over 100 credit cards because I love credit card sign up bonuses and can be incredibly lucrative to a person that is responsible with their credit. It’s also a way to get bigger credit card limits.
If you want to build up a big credit history, the best way is to get as many credit cards as you can that have no annual fee. Keep them open forever and this will help your credit history age well, you’ll have a variety of lenders that trust you appearing on your credit account and you’ll eventually have an amazing credit score.
So next time you hear someone ask, “Is it bad to have too many credit cards,” you’ll know what to tell them.