How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?


Q: Is there such a thing as having too many or too few credit cards? What’s the magic number?

It’s a tricky balance. While going on a crazy, account-opening binge is sure to hurt you, not having enough credit cards could, too.

For example, I once had clients who were applying for a mortgage. They earned good incomes and had more than enough savings for a down payment, but almost didn’t qualify because they only had one credit card each and no other debt.

Most major lenders—especially mortgage lenders—want to see at least three lines of credit on your credit report, which can also include student loans, a personal loan or an auto loan. If you don’t have any of those, my advice is to work up to three credit cards.

Applying for another card can also lower your utilization ratio, which is one of the biggest factors in your credit score. Generally, this ratio should be 30 percent or less (i.e., if your limit is $1,000, your balance should be kept at or below $300—though ideally you’re paying it off every month). Otherwise, you’re signaling to lenders that you may be living off your cards and are flagged as a risk.

Remember, though, that applying for new cards results in a “hard inquiry” on your credit report—even if you don’t get approved. So applying for several at once can negatively affect your rating. One other downside: More credit means more temptation to spend. This is where having a clear picture of your spending and discipline to stay on budget (and pay off the balance) becomes important.

In the end, maintaining multiple accounts only makes sense if you’re taking care of your credit at the same time. Otherwise, make a plan to pay down any debt and develop good habits using the cards that are already in your wallet.

Grow Financial Advisor Panel participants are responsible for the content expressed and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Acorns Grow, Inc., Acorns Securities, LLC or Acorns Advisers, LLC. Content is provided on an informational basis and should not be construed as investment advice. Individual circumstances will vary. Please consult a financial advisor before acting on any opinions expressed. Participation in the panel is voluntary. Editing of advisor responses is for brevity and clarity; no editorial privilege is exercised.

acorns+cnbcacorns cnbc

Join Acorns


About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. The contents presented herein are provided for general investment education and informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any specific securities or engage in any particular investment strategy. Acorns is not engaged in rendering any tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice.

Any references to past performance, regarding financial markets or otherwise, do not indicate or guarantee future results. Forward-looking statements, including without limitations investment outcomes and projections, are hypothetical and educational in nature. The results of any hypothetical projections can and may differ from actual investment results had the strategies been deployed in actual securities accounts. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Advisory services offered by Acorns Advisers, LLC (“Acorns Advisers”), an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Brokerage and custody services are provided to clients of Acorns Advisers by Acorns Securities, LLC (“Acorns Securities”), a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”). Acorns Pay, LLC (“Acorns Pay”) manages Acorns’s demand deposit and other banking products in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank, a bank chartered under the laws of Iowa and member FDIC. Acorns Advisers, Acorns Securities, and Acorns Pay are subsidiaries of Acorns Grow Incorporated (collectively “Acorns”). “Acorns,” the Acorns logo and “Invest the Change” are registered trademarks of Acorns Grow Incorporated. Copyright © 2021 Acorns and/or its affiliates.

NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns Grow Incorporated.