Some advocate that the ideal number of credit cards is zero, and for many people, that’s just right. But if you believe that credit cards can be a helpful tool and want to use them, what’s the ideal number to have?
I think it’s two, and they would preferably be different types (Visa, American Express, etc.).
If you only have one card:
- You might not be able to pay if your card is denied or not accepted by the vendor.
- You’re at the mercy of changes imposed to your account by one company, without an available backup.
- If your credit limit is low, you may not be able to use your card in emergencies (with cash in savings to back it up, of course).
- You won’t be able to use the cards to separate transactions, for example a “his and hers” or “recurring and individual” expenses.
If you carry more than two cards:
- You may have trouble keeping track of all of them, leading to missed bills and poor credit.
- You may have greater risk for identity theft, especially if you’re not regularly monitoring inactive cards.
- Your wallet/purse will grow, which is not only annoying but increases the time you’ll spend on the phone should you lose it/have it stolen.
How many credit cards do you have, and why? What do you think is the ideal?
Photo by Andres Rueda