A good rule of thumb, according to most certified finance experts, is to manage just one credit card, at a time. After all, such tip is proven to help reduce the risk of incurring a huge credit card debt among cardholders, these days.
Still, it is worth mentioning that managing more than one line of credit, at a time, can also be beneficial. How come? To know the answer, let’s take a close look at the pros of managing at most two credit cards, as well as the tips that will help make them work to your advantage.
When You Need More Than One Credit Card
There is no magic number as to how many credit cards you should have. The answer will depend on your personal needs and financial capacity. What are the advantages of having multiple credit cards? Consider the following:
Financial cushion. If you own only one credit card, you may not have a lot of options during times of emergencies. Once you’ve maximized your credit line, you cannot use the same credit card to pay more bills or make new purchases. On the contrary, having at least two or three credit cards provide you with an extra cushion when the situation requires you to use a credit card.
Reward opportunities. There are different types of reward programs available and sometimes it is better to get at least two types of reward credit cards to enjoy bonuses, savings, perks and privileges which are exclusive only for the reward cardholder. For instance, if you drive a car, you may get a credit card with gas rewards along with a non-rewards card with a lower rate. This way, you can use your gas rewards card for gasoline purchases and other qualified purchases which will earn you reward points and use your non-rewards card for other purposes.
Avoid maximizing your credit limit. If you own just one credit card, there is a risk that you will maximize or exceed your credit line at some point. This can be avoided by spreading your charges with at least two or three credit cards. By keeping your charges minimal, you can protect your credit score since 30% of the FICO score is based on credit utilization.
How to Manage Multiple Credit Cards Effectively
How can you manage multiple credit cards and keep away from bad debt? Plan in advance. Avoid charging unplanned purchases to any of your credit cards. See to it that you can afford to pay all your debts on time should you want to keep a balance on two or more credit cards. Make it habit to check each of your accounts regularly. Carefully examine your monthly credit card statements to make sure that all charges are correct.
Keeping track of your payment schedules can also prove to be a challenge if you have multiple credit cards. Hence, it is a good idea to arrange for automatic payment to ensure that you will not miss a single due date.
The key is to only get the credit cards that match your personal needs and lifestyle. Before signing up for a credit card, make sure that it offer features and services which you can benefit from. Read the fine print and understand the Terms and Conditions of each card. Last but not the least, do not acquire more credit cards than you can handle.