How many credit cards are too many?

Credit Cards

If you’re among the 16 percent of Americans who hold more than five different credit cards, you may wonder how many credit cards are too many. Unfortunately, there is no stock answer to this question. One person’s credit history and credit rating may prove that they shouldn’t have too many credit cards, while another person’s credit scores may indicate that a higher number isn’t a problem for them.

Owning more credit cards gives people the power to improve their credit scores. At the same time, every new account opened is another potential risk. Too little credit history isn’t good — then again, too much negative history can hurt your score equally.

Sure credit management can be confusing, but no matter your financial situation, there are credit card ownership guidelines you can follow to keep you on track.

Understand how your credit score is calculated.

The reason why there is no set “target number” for the amount of credit cards a person should own is that credit bureaus don’t put too much weight on the number of cards owned. Instead, payment history is the key factor the bureaus look at to determine creditworthiness — 35% of your score depends on it. Total debt owed is another significant credit score factor, representing 30% of your score. The other factors — length of credit history, new credit assumed, and type of credit used — total around 35%.

The amount of cards owned is factored into the smallest category: type of credit used. So, one small factor of a larger equation means that amount of cards owned isn’t as important as how they are used.

Remember, credit cards are only one type of credit. Auto loans, student loans, and mortgages all count towards just 10% of a credit score.

In other words, an old adage still stands: pay your bills on time. Fifteen credit cards with poor payment histories is definitely going to have a negative impact on your credit score.

Owning multiple credit cards is OK. But be smart about it.

More than 70% of Americans have at least one credit card. The average American owns three or four, with baby boomers (those in the 60+ age group) owning the most and Millennials (20- to 35-year-olds) owning the least.

If you are looking for a universal truth about credit, it is that every new account brings responsibilities. Not managing each account responsibly can create headaches in no time. And that includes not using credit that’s been extended to you. You can lose them if you don’t use them, and that can have a negative impact on your credit score.

Many credit card companies suspend accounts and if an account is closed and this reduces the person’s overall available credit. When you are tempted to open another account because of an initial in-store discount or similar offer that seems too good to pass by, remember that the card issuer now expects you to make transactions with that account.

Since the amount of card accounts is such a tiny factor in the overall score, consider each account wisely. The most negative thing you can do is open and close many different accounts, this is called “churning.” The best way to make the most out of multiple cards is to use them periodically and pay off the balance in full with your next statement.

If you need to know more about your specific situation and how to fix bad credit, talking with a credit repair expert can help. Credit repair offers free credit repair, personalized credit consultation, including a summary of your credit report and a free audit on all of your accounts, credit score evaluation and expert recommendations. is the only credit repair agency that has direct relationships with all three credit bureaus.

Learn how you can start repairing your credit here, and carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.

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