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How Many Credit Cards Does the Average American Have?

We’re all familiar with debt from credit cards, and the current economic status of the country – while still in a slow recovery – has made it very tempting to apply for credit cards to try and cover our bills or even help to get our credit score on the right track. Of course, then the problems arise if the credit card bills start to add up to a serious problem, and as soon as we get the new plastic in the mail, we’re in a mountain of debt. It’s been shown that the average American has 3.5 credit cards in their wallet, but we don’t need that many.

How Many Is Too Many?

It’s a tough question to answer: how many credit cards become too many credit cards? That answer depends on the person and their financial standing. Of course, someone who is young and trying to build up their credit score could benefit from having one credit card that has a balance being paid on time every month. However, someone who has already established credit and can apply for more credit cards probably shouldn’t press their budgets by having another balance to pay off every month. In fact, getting another credit card to help transfer balances could end up backfiring on you in the long run. If you have one or two balances that you’re paying off on time every month, keeping your balance positive will be better for your budget – and your mental health.

Do Multiple Credit Cards Help?

While it may seem like a good idea to have multiple credit cards in order to build a good credit score, in fact it might not be a positive for you if you plan to apply for a loan or are looking to qualify for a mortgage. According to FICO, when you apply for a new credit account, your credit score will temporarily drop, so it’s a good idea not to run up balances or apply for new cards right before applying for that loan or mortgage. On the other hand, keeping low balances on a couple cards can be a safety net for the banks. If one of your other cards were to be suddenly closed by the bank, you’d have one card to keep your credit score in line.

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By |2017-08-24T11:20:04+00:00March 25th, 2012|Becoming a Postconsumer, Budget and Finance, Consumerism|2 Comments