How Many Credit Cards Should You Have

In today’s buy now, pay later society, it’s not uncommon to have a number of different credit cards in your wallet.  Americans are racking up credit card debt in record amounts, which is leading some to declare plastic independence. If you’re not ready to separate yourself from all of your credit cards, you may be wondering just how many credit cards should you have.

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The answer is that it depends. In general, it’s a good idea to have at least 2 credit cards from the two major providers – Visa and Mastercard. This way you’ll always have one card that works at virtually any destination that accepts credit. By having one of each of the big two names you can still have a card available even if a retailer doesn’t take one of the brands for one reason or another.

Two credit cards are also handy in the event that one card is declined. For those who prefer to do all of their spending on credit cards and pay the card off each month, having a backup credit card is invaluable.

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If you’re a little bit more established and you would wish to diversify even farther, Discover is a great choice for a third card. Discover is more widely accepted than American Express, and the card is known for its excellent perks program. There are different types of Discover cards available to suit your needs, though they are all backed by the same company and there aren’t any affiliates that issue the cards like there is with Visa and Mastercard.

Credit cards are also known to give your credit score a boost. So having several can give you extra benefits that will help your credit score if you keep the balances paid off.

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When you are looking for credit cards, you should make sure that you have a decent lien of credit available for emergencies or everyday spending and that the interest rates are competitive.  With all of the competition in the credit industry, you are sure to find a provider with competitive rates if you are willing to shop around.

Another thing to take into consideration is the types of points or perks each card offers. Some cards will offer bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as purchases at grocery stores or gas stations. If your credit cards fall into this category, you may want to use one card for gas purchases and another for grocery purchases. As long as you pay the bill each month, you will reap some great rewards by shopping and spending as you normally would.

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It’s a good idea to keep the number of credit cards you keep at a manageable level. You will want to only have as many cards as you need and if you have multiple cards, you should only carry the ones with you that you are planning to use. Leave all of your extra cards at home in a safe location to avoid losing them or having them stolen. Purses and wallets that are bursting with credit cards are more attractive targets for thieves.

Only you can determine what the correct number of credit cards is. For most people, 2 to 3 cards will suffice, while others may find that their needs are more complex. Don’t take out too many cards at once though or else you’ll need to take out a short term loan just to pay off your debt. Make your selections carefully as you will likely be using this card for many years to come.

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