How Many Credit Cards Can I Have?

The advantages and disadvantages of owning multiple credit cards.

Updated: May 18, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

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Have you ever considered adding an extra credit card to your wallet or perhaps two? If you are thinking of obtaining multiple credit cards, it can be an intelligent choice to enhance your financial situation.

One of the most important questions that might have crossed your mind if you want more credit cards is, “How many credit cards can I have?”.

Getting the answer to this question can be the first step towards receiving unique rewards from several providers, boosting your credit score and managing monthly payment schedules more easily.

With these benefits in mind, our experts will reveal the number of credit cards you can have and explain the advantages and disadvantages of owning multiple credit cards in this article.

Can I Own Multiple Credit Cards?

The first factor to understand if you want to add more cards to your wallet is that you can own multiple credit cards. You are not legally restricted or limited to one credit card — 26% of British people have three or four credit card accounts. 

You can get several credit cards from different card providers, which requires you to compare each provider.

Alternatively, you can get more than one from the same credit card issuer. Our experts further explain the process for applying for a credit card in this article, so don't miss those steps if you need more information.

How Many Credit Cards Can a Cardholder Have?

The answer is that there is no set or ideal number of credit cards that a cardholder can have. Having at least one credit card can be beneficial because they have several financial advantages (which we explore further in this article).

However, because every individual has different personal and financial circumstances, there isn't a definitive number of credit cards you may have.

What Should I Consider Before Obtaining Multiple Credit Cards?

Before you obtain multiple credit cards, it's important to consider the increased responsibility of managing them. If you find it challenging to maintain one credit card and make repayments on time, you should think twice before selecting another one.

Adding to your list of repayments can lead to credit card debt, something that many Brits experience. This is reflected in the fact that outstanding credit card balances reached around £55.31bn in 2021.

On the other hand, if you make your payments on time and know that you won't overspend your credit or spend greater sums than you have, you may consider obtaining multiple credit cards.

Are There Advantages to Owning Multiple Credit Cards?

Since there are many advantages to owning multiple credit cards, although you may use a debit card to make your payments, adding credit cards to your wallet may make sense.

Here, our financial experts explore some key benefits you can obtain if you own several cards.

✔️ Multiple card types: Many types of credit cards are available. From travel credit cards and rewards cards to 0% purchase and balance transfer cards, the many options have different benefits. You can choose the card types that best match your requirements. For instance, if you travel frequently, you may consider a travel credit card.

✔️ Receive consumer protection: Many credit cards offer cardholders consumer protection for purchases. If you spend between £300 and £10,000, consumer protection applies in line with the Consumer Credit Act. This protection means the credit card company will return your money if the retailer declares themselves bankrupt or you don't receive the product.

✔️ Boost your credit score: When you manage several credit cards successfully and make payments on time, you can boost your credit score. This works because you can prove to lenders that you can manage multiple credit accounts easily. You can obtain larger loans and more favourable interest rates with greater credit scores. You receive these advantages because you prove you are a reliable borrower to lenders.

✔️ Save more money: Saving money is possible with several credit cards. You can minimise your interest repayments by transferring the balance from one of your credit cards to a 0% balance transfer card. With this method, you could see your monthly repayment balance decrease.

Are There Disadvantages to Owning Multiple Credit Cards?

However, there are a few disadvantages to owning several credit cards and having more than one account.

Here, we look closely at the financial implications of having multiple cards as a cardholder.

❌️ Not easy to monitor cards for fraud: Managing more than one card and monitoring several accounts can be challenging. As a result, you may find it difficult to notice if you are a victim of credit card fraud. The key is to closely monitor your accounts. 

5% of credit card fraud losses in 2020 were due to card ID theft, and 14% occurred due to lost or stolen cards. Therefore, as a credit cardholder with several cards, checking your accounts is crucial for detecting fraud-related issues. Part of this, if you have accounts that you don't regularly monitor, means you should avoid keeping hold of them.

UK Fraud Losses on Plastic Cards
Source: Statista

❌️ Difficult to manage payments: Obtaining several credit cards means you must repay more monthly. With more monthly payments, it is easy to miss one, leading to extra fees. Having to pay additional fees can impact your credit score, making applying for loans and receiving favourable interest rates difficult. 

❌️ Overspending risks: Having several credit cards increases your available credit, encouraging you to overspend if you are not careful. The main result of overspending is the potential to accrue credit card debt. A solution to this is to create and consider a budget to help you manage your finances efficiently.

❌️ Credit score could fall: Each time you make a credit card application, lenders complete checks on your credit report. These checks impact your credit score and reduce your credit score points. If you apply for several cards, your credit score can fall significantly. 

Your credit score can also fall because of a higher debt-to-credit ratio or credit utilisation rate. This rate refers to the amount of credit you use in relation to the total amount of credit you receive.

A high credit utilisation rate may indicate to the lender that you are having trouble paying bills on time. Multiple credit cards affect your utilisation rate. If it increases, you appear a greater risk to lenders.

Is There a Limit to How Many Times You Can Apply for a Credit Card?

You can apply as often as you like for a credit card.

You won't face restrictions on the number of applications you can make, so you can technically apply for credit cards several times in one day.

However, suppose you simultaneously make multiple credit card applications with credit card issuers. In that case, your applications impact the age of your credit history and remain on your report for up to two years. These outcomes imply that you may be a riskier borrower than a cardholder who doesn't frequently apply for credit cards. 

Therefore, since credit card applications can cause your credit score to fall, it's important to apply cautiously.

What Are the Key Types of Credit Cards?

We have mentioned some examples of the main types of credit cards borrowers may apply for. However, the list is more extensive, and several more are available. Here are the main credit card types to choose from for easier credit card comparison.

Rewards Cards

Rewards credit cards provide rewards you earn each time you use the card. For example, you can receive cashback with some rewards cards after you make a purchase, airmiles when you use the card for travel or redeemable points.

Travel Credit Cards

You can use travel credit cards abroad without having to pay transaction fees for purchases. You accumulate points when you use this credit card, which you can redeem for flights or hotel stay discounts.

Credit Builder Cards

Credit builder cards are ideal for individuals who do not have a credit history or lack a good credit score. They have low credit limits and high annual percentage rates. You must pay high interest rates if you have an outstanding balance on a credit builder card.

The ideal way to use credit builder cards is to pay your balance on time and avoid exceeding your credit limit.

Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Balance transfer credit cards permit cardholders to make balance transfers from one card to another. For example, if you want to move a credit card balance from one of your cards with a high APR to a card with 0% interest rates, you can do this with a balance transfer card.

Purchase Credit Cards

Purchase credit cards enable cardholders to spend money to make purchases. If you have a purchase credit card, you must repay your credit card purchases after a specific period.

How to Obtain a Credit Card

Obtaining a credit card takes a few specific steps.

Here, we look closely at the processes you should follow to add a credit card to your wallet.

Look at Your Credit Scores

How important is looking at your credit score before obtaining a credit card? It is a key step because a card issuer will look at your score to evaluate your creditworthiness. 

Knowing your credit score lets you determine which credit cards best match your personal circumstances and credit report. This information helps you know which card providers will more likely approve your application.

The simplest way to review and consider your credit score is to use credit reference agencies such as Experian. It will cost you nothing to check the report, but if you want a full copy, it is free once every 12 months.

Complete Credit Card Comparison Processes

Ensure you complete a credit card comparison process before selecting a provider. This process might begin with you looking at the various types of credit cards to align your preferences to the card you choose. 

As you compare credit cards, remember to think about the following factors:

  • Many credit card providers expect you to pay annual fees and annual percentage rates.
  • If you travel abroad frequently, consider a credit card that has no transaction fees.
  • Each card's rewards and bonuses may be different.
  • Higher credit limits are ideal for significant purchases.

Many credit card providers offer comparison tools for clients. Consider using these tools for easier card comparison before you select one.

Consider the Approval Requirements

Approval for a credit card depends on several requirements. Credit card providers expect you to meet three main requirements: age, good credit scores and annual earnings.

For example, some card issuers expect you to earn at least £7,500 each year and have an excellent credit score of 720 points. Ensure you check the approval requirements to know how the credit card company will review your application.

Fill Out an Application

You can quickly complete your application for a credit card in many ways, depending on the credit card issuer. Many providers offer online application processes, but others may expect you to do this by entering a branch or over the phone. Fill out the application accurately, avoiding mistakes that can cause delays in your application process.

Check the Offer You Receive

Finally, check your offer from the credit card issuer. The approval and offer will show the annual percentage rate, the due dates for payments, any fees you must pay and a percentage that indicates the minimum monthly repayment.

If the card issuer rejects your application, it's worth looking closely at your credit report. This action will help you determine why they declined to issue a card to you. You can then consider which actions to take, such as building a credit history or improving your credit scores by other means, before you reapply for a credit card.

How to Cancel a Credit Card

Our Compare Banks financial experts mentioned that removing unused credit cards from your wallet is an ideal way to avoid becoming a victim of credit card fraud, but how can you cancel one? Consider the following steps to achieve this.

  1. Clear the remaining balance: Before you cancel a credit card, you must first pay off the remaining balance. If you still owe money to the credit card provider, you should pay this back.
  2. Redeem rewards: You can now claim the rewards or loyalty points accumulated on your credit card to avoid wasting them. Take this step before you cancel the card and avoid losing the points with it.
  3. Cancel repeat payments: If you have set up any repeat payments on your card, make sure you cancel them before you cancel the card.
  4. Request a card cancellation from the provider: Contact your card issuer by phoning them or entering the bank branch to request that they cancel the card.
  5. Confirm the cancellation process in writing: You can now email the card issuer to confirm that they have started the cancellation process. This step is important, as the email you send will prove that you intended to cancel the card if there are any issues with the cancellation process.
  6. Dispose of the credit card: Dispose of the card by cutting it. This is another important step, ensuring others do not discover or use your card to commit fraud or identity theft.

Obtaining Multiple Credit Cards: The Verdict

Obtaining multiple credit cards is a question of considering your financial situation and aligning the number of cards you select to this circumstance.

Yes, there isn't a specific number of credit cards you can or should have, but it is important to manage your credit card accounts responsibly.

Ensure you compare credit cards, get familiar with the different types of credit cards, weigh the advantages and disadvantages of obtaining and holding multiple credit cards mentioned in this article, and review your credit history. With these steps, you can choose the right cards and the right number of cards that put you in the best position to thrive financially.

Related Guides:

FAQs

Is it Possible to Have Too Many Credit Cards?

What Are Late Payment Fees and How Can You Avoid Them?

How Should You Use Multiple Credit Cards?

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