Have you ever wondered how many credit cards you can have at one time? Is there a limit to the number of credit cards you can have open?
This is a great question. There are obviously advantages to owning multiple credit cards, but there are also disadvantages as well. If you are asking, “How many credit cards can I have at one time,” you’ll definitely want to be cautious of the potential negative consequences.
How Many Credit Cards You Can Have At One Time
Theoretically speaking, there is no limit to the number of credit cards you could potentially have at one time. I’ve personally had at least 6 open at one time, although I currently only have about 4 (2 personal, 2 for business).
Instead of giving a definite number of cards you COULD potentially have, it may be more beneficial to simply list a few pros and cons.
Pros of Having Many Credit Cards Open at One Time:
- More Credit Limit. By having multiple cards, you may have access to more cash.
- Different Rewards Programs. Different cards carry different rewards. Some may have travel miles, while others may offer cashback, or other specialized rewards. By having many, you can strategically use different cards to be building different points simultaneously.
- Different Interest Rates. If you have cards with a high interest rate, opening another at a lower introductory rate can seem appealing. Sometimes people acquire new cards this way.
- Different Due Dates. By having multiple credit cards, you could juggle due dates and use different cards for different purchases. This way, you could strategically pay off the balance before the due date, and avoid paying interest by spreading costs over different cards, at different times of the month.
- Credit Building. If you have multiple cards open, and pay them faithfully, it could benefit your credit score.
Cons of Having Multiple Credit Cards At Once:
- Can Hurt Credit Score. Some financial gurus suggest that after about 6-7 credit cards, they could actually lower your credit score. So it may pay to avoid too many cards at once.
- Hassles of Management. Let’s be honest, having all those cards, bills, and passwords to remember can be a hassle. This is one reason why I downgraded a few years ago to my favorite cards (Discover and Chase).
- Increased Fraud Liability. The more cards you have, the more you risk losing some, or having them stolen or used fraudulently. This was another reason why I decided to cancel a few I never used any more.
- Decreased Credit Limit. Although getting more credit cards can sometimes increase your credit limit overall (since you have more cards to use), it can also decrease your credit limit if you acquire too much debt. Banks keep tabs on credit lines on credit cards, and if you carry too much debt, you may get a surprise letter in the mail alerting you to a decreased credit limit. This happened to me many years ago when I carried a bit of credit card debt.
- Increased Debt. If you are not financially mature, then I’d recommend against owning credit cards, at least until you are debt free and have self control. It would be better to have no credit cards and debt free, than to have many and up to your eyeballs in debt.
No doubt, credit cards can be useful tools. I enjoy using mine due to the convenience. But you have to be a very disciplined person. While I had many cards at one time myself, I can’t ever see myself owning about 5 total, and this includes my wife, my business, and my personal cards.
Credit cards carry a great deal of convenience, but also some risks and negative consequences. You should always use good judgment when using cards.