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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?

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Content was accurate at the time of publication.
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When it comes to how many credit cards you should have, know that there’s no specific number to fit every person.

To determine the right number for you, it’s important to look at your financial and lifestyle needs. For example, you may want to consider a 0% introductory APR card if you want to finance a large purchase, a cash back rewards card if you want to earn rewards on everyday purchases, or a balance transfer card if you have high-interest debt that you want to transfer.

But while there are advantages to owning a variety of cards, beware that there are also several disadvantages. We’ll walk you through what you need to know about owning multiple credit cards, including the pros and cons and the best credit cards to have, to help you determine the right number for you.

How many credit cards does the average American have?

According to Experian, the average American has 3.84 credit card accounts as of Q3 2020. There are a number of reasons why someone will have multiple credit cards. Having a backup card can be helpful in case your primary credit card becomes lost or stolen. Another credit card can also be helpful if you face unexpected or emergency expenses, like medical bills or car repairs, or if you need to make a large purchase but prefer to pay over time instead of all at once.

Splitting large costs across multiple credit cards also allows your balance to stay low on each card — which can have a positive impact on your credit score.

How many credit cards is too many?

While managing two or more credit cards may be easy for some, it can be a challenging task for others. With multiple credit cards comes multiple payment due dates, requiring you to keep a close eye on credit card activity across a number of platforms. In addition to monitoring your accounts, it is important to monitor spending – since having more credit can make extra spending extremely tempting.

Pros and cons of having multiple credit cards

ProsCons

  Opportunity to earn a variety of rewards

  Can help build credit

  More available credit

  Increased credit utilization ratio

  Higher possibility of missed payments

  Potential for more debt and a lower credit score

  Possibility for multiple annual fees

  A hard inquiry appears on your credit card each time you apply

 

Does applying for a credit card hurt credit?

Applying for a credit card can negatively impact your credit the following ways:

Hard inquiries on your credit

Each time you apply for a credit card, a hard inquiry appears on your credit report. This lowers your credit score by a few points every time it occurs and stays on your credit report for two years (although the negative impact lessens over time).

Age of your accounts

Opening a new credit card can hurt your credit score by decreasing the average age of your accounts. The length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your credit score, so having a longer credit history can reflect positively on your credit score. When opening a new credit card, leaving old accounts open and active can also help with the age of your accounts.

Applying for too many cards

While you can apply for a credit card as often as you like, an issuer may deny your application if you apply for too many credit cards within a certain time period. For example, Chase has an unwritten 5/24 rule that prevents you from being approved for a new Chase credit card if you’ve opened five or more personal credit cards from any issuer in the past 24 months.

How many credit cards should I have to build credit?

When it comes to building credit, the most important factor is how you manage your credit cards rather than the number of credit cards you have. Here are some ways you can use a credit card responsibly to help build your credit profile:

Pay on time

Making payments on time can help boost your credit score, although this can be more challenging to manage across several credit card platforms. A good tip is to contact your credit card company to make payment due dates the same for each of your credit cards when possible, and set up alert reminders and autopay to avoid missed payments.

Keep your credit utilization low

Having multiple credit cards can help increase your credit utilization ratio, which is the total amount of debt you currently owe divided by the amount of credit you have available. This ratio makes up 30% of your credit score. Opening another credit card can help you to decrease this number, since it will increase the amount of credit you have available. Experts recommend that you keep your credit utilization ratio below 30%.

Choosing the right mix of accounts

Your credit mix is the combination of credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts and mortgage loans you have. This makes up 10% of your overall credit score. Having a diverse range of credit accounts can help improve your credit score by demonstrating your ability to manage a diverse range of financial accounts.

What are the best credit cards to have

Selecting a variety of credit cards can help you maximize rewards and take advantage of significant savings over time. Whether you want to save on your weekly grocery bill or use your credit card to cover your next big travel expense, having multiple credit cards can help you cut costs on a number of items.

Cash back credit cards

Cash back credit cards are valued by consumers for their simplicity and flexibility, as well as their ability to earn rewards on everyday purchases. For example, Chase Freedom Unlimited® cardholders enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases.

Cashback rewards can typically be redeemed for statement credits, direct deposits or checks.

| Disclosures
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Chase's secure site
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
20.49% - 29.24% Variable
$0
Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, our premier r
  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • No annual fee – You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, alerts, and more.
  • Member FDIC
660 720 850
Good / Excellent

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Dining rewards credit cards

If you eat out on a regular basis, a dining rewards credit card, like the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card – which offers rewards on restaurant purchases and charges a $0 annual fee – may be ideal.

| Disclosures
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Capital One's secure site
Rates & Fees
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
$0
3% Cash Back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery
  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases
  • Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
  • Earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR after that; balance transfer fee applies
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
  • For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply
660 720 850
Good / Excellent

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Gas rewards credit cards

A gas rewards credit card may be a good option if you’re looking to offset what you spend at the pump, since these credit cards can offer rewards or discounts on gas purchases. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, for example, offers a generous cash back rate at U.S. gas stations.

| Disclosures
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
apply-now-icon Apply Now
on American Express's secure site
Rates & Fees
| Terms Apply
0% on purchases for 12 months
19.24%-29.99% Variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Earn 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 intro plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months from the date of account opening. Plans created after that will have a monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each eligible purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, your APR will be a variable APR of 19.24% - 29.99%.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations.
  • 3% Cash Back on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit on Amazon.com at checkout.
  • $84 Disney Bundle Credit: With your enrolled Blue Cash Preferred Card, spend $9.99 or more each month on an auto-renewing Disney Bundle subscription, to receive a monthly statement credit of $7. Valid only at Disney Plus.com, Hulu.com or Plus.espn.com in the U.S.
  • Terms Apply.
660 720 850
Good / Excellent

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

*To see rates & fees for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

Credit cards for emergencies

Emergency expenses, like car repairs or unexpected medical bills, can happen at any time. Having an emergency credit card on hand to help cover these expenses, like the Chase Freedom Flex℠, is a good option due to its long intro APR and cash back rewards program.

| Disclosures
Chase Freedom Flex℠*
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Learn More
on Chase's secure site
0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months
20.49% - 29.24% variable
$0
5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus
  • Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • No annual fee – You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Flex℠ card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.
660 720 850
Good / Excellent
*The information related to the Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

0% intro APR credit cards

If you have a big purchase coming up that you want to pay off overtime, a credit card that offers a 0% introductory APR for an extended period of time can be helpful, since you won’t be charged interest during the intro period. The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card card, for example, has a 0% intro APR 21 months from account opening on purchases. After that, a 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable APR applies.

| Disclosures
Wells Fargo Reflect® Card*
Wells Fargo Reflect® Card
Learn More
on Wells Fargo's secure site
0% intro APR 21 months from account opening
18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable APR
$0
None
  • Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
  • 0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% variable APR thereafter; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate, BT fee of 5%, min $5.
  • $0 Annual Fee.
  • Up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Through My Wells Fargo Deals, you can get access to personalized deals from a variety of merchants. It's an easy way to earn cash back as an account credit when you shop, dine, or enjoy an experience simply by using an eligible Wells Fargo credit card.
660 720 850
Good / Excellent
*The information related to the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card has been collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Balance transfer credit cards

If you have a large amount of high-interest credit card debt, a balance transfer credit card with a 0% introductory APR for a year or longer can help you save on interest charges while paying down your balance faster. The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, for example, offers an introductory APR of 0% intro APR for 21 months on Balance Transfers. Once the introductory period ends, an ongoing APR of 18.24% - 28.99% (Variable) will apply.

| Disclosures
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Citibank's secure site
Rates & Fees
0% intro APR for 12 months on Purchases
18.24% - 28.99% (Variable)
$0
N/A
  • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 18.24% - 28.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
  • With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
  • No Annual Fee - our low intro rates and all the benefits don’t come with a yearly charge
660 720 850
Good / Excellent

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Travel credit cards

If you’re a frequent traveler, a travel credit card can provide rewards on travel purchases as well as valuable travel benefits and protections. The ​​Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for example, offers an annual hotel credit, a boost in rewards value when you redeem points for travel through Chase TravelSM and the ability to transfer points to qualifying transfer partners at a rate of 1:1.

| Disclosures
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Chase's secure site
N/A
21.49%-28.49% Variable
$95
Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC
720 850
Excellent

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

*To see rates & fees for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.
The information related to the Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply.

Many credit card issuers will approve you for a second credit card as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. If you’ve done a good job of managing your other credit card, you are also more likely to be approved for a second card. If you are approved for a second credit card, you will want to see if the terms of your new card are different from your first card. This is because credit card issuers approve terms based on your income and credit standing, and this may have changed since you applied for the first card.

You can get a second credit card with bad credit; however, the odds of getting approved are lower. You may also receive higher interest rates and less desirable terms if you do qualify for a second credit card. It can be best to take steps to improve credit prior to applying for a second credit card.

You can apply for multiple credit cards at the same time; however, waiting between applications will give you a better chance at an approval. Issuers are more likely to deny your application if you have applied for several credit cards at the same time.

There are multiple ways that you can check your credit score:

1. Utilize free credit score tools online from a bank, credit card issuer, credit union or other lender.
2. Take advantage of financial institutions offering a free credit score to members.
3. Purchase your credit scores if it makes sense for you. Paid credit score services sometimes include additional features, like identity theft insurance and credit monitoring, that aren’t included with a free service.

It is recommended that you do not close out old credit card accounts, as keeping old accounts open and active will boost your credit score by helping your credit utilization and credit history. You may decide to close an old credit card if it carries a high annual fee; however, you can ask your credit card company if you can convert your card to a no-fee card in order to prevent your credit score from decreasing.

First, be sure that you are paying each of your credit cards on time and in full by keeping a reminder on when payments are due or setting up autopay. Next, check the terms and conditions of your credit card, and reconsider any with high annual fees. You should also keep track of the credit limit you have available on each credit card. Finally, select credit cards that align best with your current financial needs and decide what you plan to use each card for.