There can never be a single answer for a question like this, after all not. On an average, people have at least 2 to 3 credit cards which could differ from person to person based on their requirement.
Various scenarios will come into picture when talking about how many credit cards a person can have.
Expertise & Knowledge
If you are a new to this space and trying to get your first credit card, it is always best for you to start of with just 1.
If you are a person who has been using a credit card for some time now, say 2 years and wants a backup card to complement their existing card to get more benefits from both the cards combined. It is best to have a maximum of 2 cards to get a feel of handling multiple cards at a time.
If you are a person who is an expert in financial management and has the knowledge and experience to play around bringing out the maximum benefits obtained from the cards be it utilizing credit, getting maximum rewards or saving money. We suggest you can have a maximum of 4 credit cards. Anything above 4 credit cards will make it difficult to manage and keep track of payments.
Credit utilization ratio
Credit utilization ratio is an important factor when it comes to how many credit cards a person can have. As you might know your credit card provides you with a credit limit which is like a loan with no interest for a certain period. Credit utilization ratio is how much credit is available to you and how much you utilize it. This is important because credit utilization ratio carries a lot of weightage when calculating your credit score. It is best to have a credit utilization ratio of 30% i.e. if your credit limit is Rs.90000 then your spending must be limited to Rs.30000.
If you spend a lot, then you might need more credit cards to spread your spending to keep your credit utilization ratio to that 30%.
A person might need different type of credit cards to cater to different uses and reap maximum benefits. For example, a person who travels a lot might have 2 cards where one is a rewards card which gives more rewards per spends on hotel, flight booking, dining etc. While another card will give cash back on utility payment, online purchases and grocery purchase.
These 2 cards cover all the spends this person does each month making it a rewarding experience where he gets something when spending.
Points to ponder
Though having multiple credit cards has its uses there some factors the credit card user needs to be watchful of
- Over spending: If a person has a habit of over spending then having multiple credit cards is enabling them to become neck deep in debt. A person needs to have self-control even if they have greater credit limit. Similarly paying just the minimum balance will end up with the person have a huge debt as credit cards have high interest rate.
- Spend tracking: A person needs to keep track of how much is spent on each card, when is the due date for each card the interest rate etc. Even if there is one missed payment it will affect your credit score.
- Credit score hit: Apart from missed payment, credit score will also take a hit each time a new card is applied for. Make sure you really need this card and it is the right one.
- Annual fees: Most cards have annual fees which needs to be paid. More cards mean more annual fees. Be careful in how much you are going to pay and if it is well below the overall benefits of the cards.
There is no limit to the number of cards a person can have but the person needs to have the financial acumen and the focus to maintain multiple cards with out falling into the debt trap.