How Many Credit Cards Is Too Many?

How many credit cards is too many? If you came to this post expecting an exact number, we're sorry to disappoint you. The answer is subjective, and it's based on the individual circumstances and numbers.

Self Control

How do you react when someone gives you a credit card? If your first instinct is to go on a shopping spree when someone hands you a line of credit, then maybe you shouldn't own a credit card.

If you're someone who uses credit cards like a debit card and optimizes for maximum cash back, then maybe the number is higher. 

For people who go on shopping sprees when they get a credit card, a good way to break this habit is to treat the credit card like a debit card and pay it off daily. Treating it like debit vs. credit helps you become aware of your spending habits. Paying off your balance daily will also help improve your credit score.

An analogy I like to use is that credit cards are like alcohol. Some people should avoid alcohol completely because it will get them into trouble. For others, alcohol is fine because they have self-control and enjoy an occasional drink. Alcohol can also be used in various ways like cooking to optimize for flavor.  

Time

The other constraint is time. Some people think managing multiple credit cards is too time-consuming. There are a lot of ways to automate monitoring your accounts on a daily basis by setting up email notifications.

Some banks like Chase show all of your Chase accounts when you login, so you don't have to create a new log in for each card. 

You can also set up a password manager like OnePass or LastPass to keep track of your account logins. 

Automation

1. Tracking Purchases

If you're concerned about someone making unauthorized charges on your credit card, you can setup email alerts each time you have a card transaction. 

2. Automatic Payments

Most credit card companies allow you to setup auto-bill pay.

3. Keeping your cards alive

Use your credit card at least once every six months. If you have multiple subscription services like Hulu, Netflix, or GSuite, you can set up a different credit card for each service. Another option is to automate monthly Amazon gift card reloads.

Bottom Line

There's not a specific number of credit cards you should have; it all depends on your circumstances and time constraints to manage the cards.