How Many Types of Credit Cards Should I or Can I Have?
Whether you’re new to credit or are currently juggling several credit card balances, you may be wondering if you’re getting the most out of your credit cards. There are many types of credit cards available, each with their own benefits. But how many credit cards should you have, and what types of credit cards might work best for you?
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There is no limit on how many credit cards you can have.1 If you’re new to credit, it might be tempting to take advantage of all of that credit that is now available to you. But taking on too much credit card debt could set you back financially as balances rise and bills could start to pile up.
What are some examples of different types of credit cards?
New and different types of credit cards hit the market every year. However, just because there are many options to choose from doesn’t mean every offer is right for you.2 Here are a few common types of credit cards and some information on why they may or may not be right for you:
- Balance transfer cards allow users to transfer a balance from high interest rate cards to a card with a lower interest rate for an introductory period. This is a good option if you’re having trouble catching up on a balance because of quickly mounting interest.
- Low interest credit cards might also offer a low or zero introductory APR (Annual Percentage Rate) that gives users the freedom to make a big purchase without accruing interest during the introductory period. It’s also a good option for someone with little or no credit card experience as it allows you to get used to the process of paying your balance every month. Be sure to read the terms and conditions because your interest rate will increase after the introductory term is over.
- Cash back credit cards offer cash rewards for simply using the card to make purchases. Most cash back cards earn a flat percentage cash back on all purchases while some may offer a higher percentage for specific purchases such as gas or groceries. This is a good option if you’re using your card for everyday purchases and are able make all your payments on time.
- Hotel and airline credit cards offer users rewards for staying at certain hotels or flying with specific airlines. As you earn more points, your stays and flights might be discounted, upgraded or even free of cost. This is a good option for someone who travels for business, but annual fees can make it a bad investment for those who don’t travel as much.
- Retail or store rewards credit cards offer users rewards for purchases at specific retailers. These rewards can be used to earn rewards or discounts from the retailer while everyday purchases may earn fewer rewards, if you are even able to use the card outside of the specific retailer. Interest rates are typically higher on these cards, and the rewards programs can be more limited. These cards are a good option for someone who is loyal to a specific brand or makes several purchases through one retailer.
Every situation is different, and there is no perfect number for how many credit cards to have. If you’re new to credit, starting with one low interest credit card could be your best option. If you can responsibly manage several cards, having more types of credit cards could allow you to take advantage of different types of rewards programs. You should research credit cards thoroughly and make an informed decision as to which card would benefit your lifestyle the most.
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