The choices seem almost endless when it comes to credit cards, as if there were options out there to cater to almost every conceivable need. And if you feel the need to have multiple credit cards, you’re not alone. As of late 2022, the average American has approximately four credit cards.[1]

Then it becomes less about placing an arbitrary limit on the number of cards in your wallet and more about understanding your own limits on how you’ll use them. When it comes to the question, Lakhbir Lamba, PNC Bank’s Head of Retail Lending, has good advice.

"Having multiple credit cards offers several advantages, including optimized credit utilization, diverse rewards, and backup options during emergencies, However, it is essential to treat cautiously and consider the associated risks."

Ultimately, your number of credit cards should be based on your personal financial goals, discipline, and ability to manage your finances effectively.

In other words, some soul-searching is required, especially when it comes to your habits with money and spending. But here are just a few things you should consider as you decide what your magic number is.

Advantages of Multiple Credit Cards.

First and foremost, a credit card is a financial tool. And there are different tools for different purposes. Here are just a few of the advantages to having several credit card accounts at the same time:[2]

  • Enhanced Credit Utilization. As Lamba continues, “Simply put, the less of your credit limit you use on individual cards, the better your overall credit utilization ratio. Having multiple cards allows you to spread purchases across several accounts.” This demonstrates responsible credit management, which could lead to increased future borrowing power.
  • Diverse Rewards and Benefits. Programs such as cash back, travel rewards, or loyalty points can vary. That means using the card to maximize the rewards on specific purchases. For example, one card may provide higher cashback on groceries, while another is better suited for airline reservations.
  • Backup and Emergency Fund. As Lamba advises, “It’s good to have multiple credit cards in case of the unexpected. That way one lost, stolen, or temporarily suspended card doesn’t bring your financial life to a screeching halt.”
  • Specialized Uses. Some credit cards may offer exclusive perks such as airport lounge access, concierge services, or travel insurance. By strategically selecting different cards, you can enhance your lifestyle and experiences.


What Are The Disadvantages?

On the other hand, a sheaf of credit cards in the wrong hands could spell trouble. Before you start amassing your array of cards, consider how multiple cards could backfire when it comes to your financial health.[3]

  • More Temptation. With multiple credit limits at your disposal, Lamba offers, “It is even more important to exercise discipline and avoid overspending beyond your means. Carrying substantial balances on multiple cards can mean spending lots on interest payments, not to mention the financial stress that comes with it.”
  • Greater Complexity. Having multiple cards means juggling due dates, minimum payment requirements, and terms and conditions. Slip up, and you could have late payments and penalties, with effects on your credit score.
  • Annual Fees and Maintenance Costs. Some credit cards have annual fees or require minimum spending thresholds to maintain rewards and benefits. With these costs adding up, assess whether the rewards and benefits you gain in the bargain are worth it.
  • Potential Impact on Credit Score. Poorly managed credit utilization over several cards can lead to being viewed as a higher risk. What’s more, each application for a new card may result in a small, if temporary, dip in your credit score. As Lamba advises, “This means you should acquire new credit cards judiciously, not apply for cards unnecessarily.”


Count On Common Sense.

In summary, there isn't a specific number of credit cards that can be universally classified as "too many."

Instead, it’s important to look at your current financial situation and needs, while carefully considering your ability to manage finances responsibly. Then have sound reasons to apply for each credit card. With the right balance of credit cards—and the right approach to managing them—you get to maximize your benefits. And, that way, you can use credit cards wisely to fit your unique personal situation and life objectives.

Visit Personal Credit Cards: Apply Online & Compare Offers ( to learn more.