Updated & Verified: April 2021
There isn't a specific number
There isn't a specific amount of credit cards that you should have - even if you're trying to build credit. However, the more credit cards you have, the more difficult it can become to manage them all.
The most important thing is to use your credit cards responsibly by making your payments on time and by keeping your balance below 30% of your total available credit.
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How many credit cards does the average American have?
Based on a TransUnion report, Americans have on average between 2 and 3 credit cards. However, this number can vary based on where people live. Below are some of the larger American cities and the average number of credit cards residents of each city has.
Average Credit Cards Per Person
St Louis, MO
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Source: TransUnion LLC
Will Paying My Full Credit Card Balance Every Month Help My Credit Score?
In short - yes. Paying your full credit card balance each month will typically help improve your credit score.
A common myth suggests that carrying a balance on your credit card is ultimately good for your credit score. However, that isn't actually the case.
In fact, carrying a high balance on your credit cards will typically have a negative impact on your credit score because it will increase your credit utilization ratio - which is the second most important factor used in determining your credit score.
What is credit utilization ratio?
Credit utilization ratio refers to the total amount of credit used in comparison to how much credit you've been extended by lenders.
Paying down the balances on your credit cards and reducing your credit utilization ratio will help improve your credit score.
In general, you should only be using at most 30% of your credit limit. Anything more than that will typically have a negative impact on your credit score.
Reddit: How many credit cards is too many - specifically for someone in their twenties?
There really isn't an ideal amount of credit cards to have no matter what your age is (assuming you're over the age of 18 anyway). You can have one credit card or 20 credit cards.
The more important thing is to use the credit cards you have responsibly by keeping the balances low and by making your payments on time.
There is a downside to having a lot of cards though. It can make your life way more complicated because you'll have more bills to manage - which can ultimately lead to missing payments as a result.
Reddit: Should I really have 5 or more credit cards?
A common myth is that people think you need to have multiple credit cards to build credit fast. This simply isn't true.
You really only need to have one single line of credit and then use that credit responsibly and make your payments on time to build credit.
Keep in mind, your credit utilization ratio is an important factor when determining your credit score. In addition, your average credit age is important as well and when you open a new credit card, it will often decrease your credit score because it decreases the average age of your credit.