In this brief blog we have answered the very commonly asked question “ how many credit cards can I have “. You may think that having as many credit cards as you want is a good thing but as with most things, too much of anything could be bad.

Having many credit cards could be good if they all have different benefits and purposes e.g a travel credit card for when you travel, an airline credit card to earn airline miles, a balance transfer card for moving over some of your debt, a rewards credit card for getting rewards when you go shopping.

On the other hand, having too many credit cards could make it very hard for you to manage all your repayments and could make it more likely that you would miss your monthly credit card repayments and end up damaging your credit score.

Having too many credit cards could also make it very hard for you to keep a budget as you may not be able to efficiently track your spending. In fact, having too many credit cards could make it more likely that you spend more than you want to and you could easily find yourself in debt.

If the credit cards charge fees then having too many credit cards could cost you a substantial amount in annual credit card fees.

How many credit cards can I have?

You can have as many credit cards as you want to have but having too many credit cards may not be good for your credit score as the credit bureaus may have a negative marker based on a threshold of credit accounts.. There is no limit on how many credit cards you can have but you should know that applying for too many credit cards at the same time may you look like you are financially desperate and this could cause your credit score to go down.

The average number of credit cards held per person in the UK is 1.7

If you find that you have too many credit cards you may be thinking that closing your credit card accounts may be your best option but in fact, closing your credit accounts may actually damage your credit score depending on how old the credit accounts are. 

How many credit cards should I have to improve my credit score?

Owning Several Cards Is Fine, at Least in Terms of Your Credit Score. The average number of credit cards Americans own is three to four. According to Credit Karma, there is a correlation between having a high credit score (800+) and having more credit cards (7), compared to people with lower scores

Is it bad to have multiple credit cards?

It may be bad to have multiple credit cards as you may not be able to manage all the credit cards you have. Having multiple credit cards may also mean that your credit score goes lower.

How many credit cards can I apply for at once?

You can apply for as many credit cards you want to apply to at once but applying for more than 1 credit card at any time can be very bad as the credit bureaus may interpret this as you being financially vulnerable and hence your credit score may fall.

Is it OK to have three credit cards?

Yes, it is okay to have three credit cards as long as you are able to manage the three credit cards efficiently. If you find that you are missing your monthly credit repayments then you may not be able to manage the three credit cards you have yourself.

Should I get more than one credit card?

You may want to get more than one credit card if you want the benefits of multiple types of credit cards. You may want to get a 0% purchase card to make purchases, a balance transfer credit to transfer credit card debt and airline miles to earn miles for your travels.

Remember you should try you have a combined credit utilization of no more than 3p0% to ensure your credit score does not fall.

Should I apply for 2 credit cards on the same day?

It is not recommended to apply for 2 credit cards on the same day. This is because when you apply for credit a market is left on your credit file. If the credit card provider sees that you have already made a credit card application then they could potentially refuse your credit card application which will cause your credit score to go down.

Can you have 2 of the same credit cards?

Yes, you can have two of the same credit cards. There is no limitation on having two of the same credit cards.

Is it OK to have 4 credit cards?

You can have 4 credit cards if you want to and this is perfectly okay as long as you feel you can manage four credit cards very comfortably. 

Can too many credit cards hurt your credit score?

Yes, too many credit cards can hurt your credit score as the credit bureau may see it as a negative sign and downgrade your credit score.


What to consider when getting your credit card?

Whilst a particular credit card may be right for you, there could also be other potential credit cards which suit you better. It is always advisable to use a credit card eligibility checker which provides you with all the credit cards you may be eligible for.

When comparing multiple credit cards; below are the things you should look out for before applying.

Eligibility

Each card issuer will have its own lending criteria that you will need to meet before they will provide you with an offer of credit. There are now credit card eligibility checker platforms which let you know which credit cards you are eligible for and which you have a high probability of getting on application. 

Most credit card providers now have their own credit card eligibility systems in place which will let you know if you will be approved for a credit card with them or not. These tools use a soft credit check to pull your credit file data and hence does not leave any footprints which are visible to the public or harm your credit score.

You should avoid applying for a credit card if you are not confident you will be accepted as rejections for credit could damage your credit score and history. This may then affect your ability to get further credit in the future.

Credit cards for fair credit

Interest rates

When getting a credit card, the interest rates on the credit card are a very important factor and you should always look out for the APR figure. The interest rates on the credit card are the rates that will be charged on any outstanding credit card balance which you carry over from one month to another. If you pay your credit card balance in full each month then you will not have any interest to pay.

Credit cards typically come with up to 55 interest-free days on purchases if you don’t carry a balance month-to-month.

Credit limits

You should look at the credit Credit limits when choosing a credit card provider as the credit card limits will determine how much you can spend on your credit card. Most credit card providers may offer you a credit limit increase if you can show good credit behaviour over a few months.

Rewards and perks

Credit card providers offer various rewards and perks but usually, these are reserved for applicants with high credit scores.

Fees

Some credit card providers will have annual fees on their credit cards but these are usually for credit cards with high credit card limits and lots of rewards or perks.

You should always check what fees are attached to your credit card. These can include annual or monthly account fees, cash advance (withdrawing cash using the card) fees, overseas transaction fees and others.

How to get your credit card

To get your credit card, check to see if you have a credit score first.

If you are unsure of what your credit score is then you should check your credit score from the four credit bureaus in the UK: Experian, Crediva, Equifax and Transunion.

Some of these credit bureaus may charge you a fee to view your credit report so what you can alternatively do is request a statutory credit report which is a free credit report which each credit bureau must provide to you upon you requesting it.

Alternatively, you can also use credit score services such as Checkmyfile and clearscore to check your credit report.

Once you have done this you should then check on a credit card eligibility platform to see what credit cards you are eligible for and then apply for the best credit card. 

In this brief blog we answered the question “how many credit cards can I have”. If you have any more comments surrounding this then please let us know.

John Bate

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.