How many credit cards should you have?

Here is how the number of cards you have can affect your finances and credit record, and what you can do about it.

Share this guide
Woman sitting on sofa looking at two credit cards with her laptop on her legs.

How many should you have?

There is no limit on how many credit cards you can have, but the number can affect:

  • Your credit record, which could stop you getting other cards, loans and mortgages

  • The amount of time you need to spend managing your cards

What are you using your cards for?

You can use cards for different purposes, including:

What are the drawbacks?

Having multiple credit cards can be useful, but there are several drawbacks you should consider:

  • Spending more than you can afford, as it makes it easier to spend money you do not have, especially if you lose track of how much you have spent.

  • Missing a payment is more likely because it can be harder to manage and keep track of multiple cards. This can also have a negative affect on your credit record.

  • Annual fees or charges for not using a card could still cost you money.

  • Theft or other fraudulent use is more likely and harder to notice if you have lots of cards to keep track of.

  • Exclusive offers for new customers will not be available to you if you have kept a card open with the provider.

Should you cancel them?

If you close too many cards you could be left without access to funds you might need in an emergency.

However, it is worth cancelling cards you never use or that you think are harming your credit record.

Do not cancel too many at once because lenders look at how long you keep your accounts open, so closing several will bring this figure down.

Which cards should you keep?

When you want to cancel one or more of your cards, work out which ones are worth keeping. This will depend on how you use your credit cards:

  • If you always pay your cards off on time, keep the ones that offer you the best incentives for spending, like rewards, cashback or air miles.

  • If you use them to borrow, pay off and cancel cards with high interest rates and keep those that offer a low APR or interest free periods.

You should also check for cards with fees, especially if you do not use them enough to get benefits like cashback or air miles.

How to cancel your card

Cutting up the cards is not enough to cancel them. You could still be charged fees and the card will show as open on your credit record.

Instead you need to pay off the card's balance and then contact your card provider to close your account.

Find the best credit card for you, whether you're looking for 0% card for balance transfers or purchases or day to day spending and rewards