scorecardresearchHow many credit cards should you own?

How many credit cards should you own?

Updated: 21 Feb 2022, 02:45 PM IST

How many credit cards should you hold involves many decisions and not their use alone.

Credit cards

Credit cards

There are so many times when you may have found your friends tucking in multiple credit cards into their wallets. While you may wonder if they need those many cards, they may explain how they spend using their cards depending on the credit card offers and credit availability on each card. 

There is no specific number of credit cards that you may hold to use though the number of cards depends on your level of usage, repayment ability, and timely repayments. With no significant statistics associating the likelihood of defaults with the number of cards held, those carrying only one card are equally likely to default on repayment as their peers who carry multiple cards.

Every card has some reward to offer be it cashback schemes, free or discounted flight tickets, discounts on shopping above a certain limit, free online shopping vouchers, etc. Though there is a feel-good factor with a wallet full of cards, validating the use of so many cards mandates an assessment of their pros and cons.

Before we dig deep into assessing the ideal number of credit cards you must have, let us have a look at the pros and cons of holding multiple credit cards.

Benefits of holding multiple credit cards


There is a positive side to holding multiple credit cards, some of which are:

  • Additional flexibility and convenience.
  • Multiple credit cards make up for the loss of having a lower limit on one credit card.
  • Spending between cards helps avail maximum credit period.
  • Rewards and points on different transactions through different cards.
  • Limited access to cards at different locations like airport lounges translates to the need for different cards to gain access.
  • A high credit score as credit utilization ratio is an important determinant of this concept.
  • Timely payment of all credit card bills highlights your good credit habits, thus, improving your credit score.

DO NOT do these 5 things while using credit cards

Downsides of having multiple credit cards

Think of the numerous credit cards stuffed into a wallet, and your mind immediately wanders off to the possible disadvantages of holding so many of them at once. The disadvantages of holding multiple credit cards include:

  • Tendency to splurge using multiple credit cards, thus, increasing the likelihood of shopping beyond budget.
  • Tracking expenses on your card can be tedious and time-consuming.
  • Chances of card misuse are more in the case of multiple cards.
  • Difficult to keep track of due dates and amounts due on multiple credit cards.
  • Loss of the wallet means losing many cards all at once. This means that you have to inform all card issuers and ask them to stop unauthorized transactions too.
  • Mounting credit card debt pushes you into a debt spiral that only goes deeper if you continuously fail to repay on time.
  • Having a credit card is equivalent to falling into a trap of unsecured loans. Too many credit cards may imply that you are a credit-hungry person, thus, impacting your credit score adversely.

What is the ideal number of credit cards that you must have?


This is a question that has called for debate numerous times but has found no specific answer. With no pre-defined and verified formula to gauge the ideal number of credit cards that you must carry, there is no way to answer this question. The best way out is to evaluate your need for multiple credit cards is to gauge the benefits and pitfalls of carrying multiple credit cards. Evaluate each carefully and check if the benefits outweigh the disadvantages or vice versa.

Banks and financial institutions are issuing customized cards to lure customers. This “jargon” has caught many customers off guard lately as they value these cards issued for specific facets of consumption. It does not make sense to hold too many cards just because they are customized. 

First Published: 21 Feb 2022, 02:43 PM IST