There’s no magic number for how many credit cards you should have at any one time. The answer is different not only from person to person, but it’ll change for you depending on your evolving finances, spending, and knowledge. However, there is a sweet spot most cardholders aim for—with good reason. Here’s how you can figure out the right amount of credit cards for you.

Why it’s good to have multiple credit cards

First off, as long as you’re staying out of debt, owning multiple credit cards is a good thing. Credit scoring formulas don’t punish you for having too many credit accounts—quite the opposite. Since every new credit card increases your total credit limit, it benefits you to have more cards open (especially if you’re keeping your credit utilization below 10%). In addition to improving your credit score, multiple cards naturally allow you to rack up more rewards.

How many credit cards is too few, then?

The exact number of cards you should have open depends on your specific financial situation. That being said, we want to be a little more helpful than saying, “Well, it depends!” So, how many cards should the average, responsible cardholder aim to have in their rotation? A recent report from Experian shows that the average American holds around four credit cards. And in 2018, FICO found that people with high credit scores (800+) tended to have an average of three open cards. Beyond that, credit bureaus suggest that five or more accounts (which can be a mix of cards and loans) is a reasonable goal.

So can you have too many credit cards?

Of course. The answer to “how many credit cards is too many” depends on whether or not you can always pay off the full balance on every card every month. More cards can be a hassle to maintain, and you may find more cards trick you into spending more. Whether you have one card or five, don’t buy anything with a credit card you wouldn’t normally buy with cash. Any boost to your credit score or cash-back rewards will not be worth falling into credit card debt.

And while your credit score won’t go down due to “too many cards,” be wary of trying to game the system. If you try opening and closing a bunch of cards at once (aka “churning” cards), it can lead to a credit inquiry that may reduce your score by about five points for about six months.

The bottom line

If only have one credit card right now, and you’re paying your balance in full each month, it’s time to consider adding another one, two, or three into the mix. And if you’re already balancing multiple cards, look for signs that you should replace one of your old credit cards. You can shop around for the best credit card for you with best-of lists on sites like Credit Cards Explained here.

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