Updated: May 3
You've seen some new credit card offers that seem too enticing to ignore.
But you already own one or two credit cards.
You may be wondering...
How many credit cards are too many? How many credit cards should I have?
Are there any benefits to owning and using multiple credit cards?
I personally use 3-4 different credit cards per month.
It's fairly simple. To save more when you spend more.
But there are a few things to make a habit of if you plan on owning multiple credit cards...
Let's dive in:
5 Credit card best practices
1. Do not max out any of your credit cards
This is so that your credit utilization ratio remains below the recommended 30% threshold.
Essentially, if you have a credit card with a limit of $3000 and spend around $2700 on average per month, you're using up 90% of your available credit.
Why should that concern you?
It will impact your credit score... negatively.
Instead you could spread your $2700 monthly spending across multiple credit cards and avoid maxing out a single credit card.
That will help you maintain an excellent credit score while using credit cards effectively!
2. Never spend more than you can pay for
If you find yourself struggling to pay down the full credit card amount each month, owning multiple credit cards can further impact your credit score.
Your payment history has a whopping 35% weight in determining your credit score.
That means every monthly payment you miss will contribute to bringing down a larger portion of your credit score.
So always make sure to pay off your credit card fully at the end of each month.
3. Avoid cash advances when possible
Cash advances come with high fees and high interest rates, and they begin accruing interest immediately.
They are useful in cases of absolute emergencies but should generally be avoided.
Accruing a lot of cash advances can harm your credit score over time.
4. Do not close old credit card accounts
A long credit history can help improve your credit score, so it's best to keep old credit card accounts open.
The length of your credit history, or the amount of time you have had credit accounts open, is one of the factors that makes up your credit score.
When you close an old credit card account, you shorten your credit history, which can hurt your credit score.
Do you want to show lenders that you are a responsible borrower?
Having a longer credit history and track record of responsible credit card usage will definitely help with that.
5. Do not open too many new credit cards at once
Every time you apply for a new credit card, it generates a "hard inquiry" on your credit report, which can lower your credit score by a few points.
Having a lot of new credit accounts open at the same time can be seen as a red flag by lenders and indicate that you may be taking on too much debt or have difficulty managing your finances.
It's safe to say that too many credit cards can also make it harder for you to keep track of your spending and make payments on time.
So I mentioned credit score a lot and how using your credit cards properly affects it. Check out our post on the average credit score in Canada to find out more!
The bottom line
So how many credit cards should you have?
And what's the real benefit of owning and managing multiple credit cards?
Use each card to maximize rewards from your purchases.
Let me explain in more detail...
Do you travel a lot every year? Get a travel credit card that suits your needs. If you're in Canada, you can find the best travel credit card for you here.
Do you frequently shop from Amazon? Consider the Amazon Rewards Mastercard. I use it solely for my Amazon purchases and earn 5% cashback!
Do you spend a lot of money on gas every month? The CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card will likely give you one of the best returns on your gas purchases at 4% reward value.
Or do you frequently dine out and want a free credit card with fantastic returns?
I use the Simplii Financial Visa Cashback Card which gives you 10% bonus cashback during your first 4 months of usage. But it doesn't stop there... you get 4% cashback on all restaurants and bars purchases after the 4 months end.
So make every purchase count.
Use a credit card that gives you one of the best returns for your specific purchases.
And if you're not sure which credit cards you should get based on your spending habits, try our mobile app that can take care of it for you!
One important thing to note is... keep track of your monthly credit card bills.
Whether you have an automated bill payment setup for your credit card bills or you manually pay them, set one specific day in each month to pay off all balances of your credit cards.
Alternatively, make sure you get an email notification for each credit card statement at the end of it's monthly cycle, then pay them right away.
At the end of the day, as long as you manage multiple credit cards responsibly, you'll reap the rewards of higher savings each year.
I would say the right number of credit cards is different for everyone, but you'll likely not need more than 4-5 at max.
With 4-5 credit cards, you can cover almost all spending categories on a daily basis and maximize the rewards you earn.
Keep track of your balances, due dates, credit card limits and you'll be very successful with multiple credit cards.