Smarter and Harder

How Many Credit Cards Should Be in your wallet?

With countless credit card options on the market, many serving different purposes, it's hard to tell how many you should have at once.

Is one enough? Is ten too many? How do you maximize the benefits of your card without getting yourself into financial trouble?

The simple, if slightly disappointing answer, is that it's different for everybody. But we can help you figure out the ideal number for your situation.

Start by considering the pros and cons of each extreme, and decide where your comfort level is with peace of mind vs. optimization:

Having very few cards (say, 0-2) is quite easy to manage and keep fees low, but may leave potential benefits on the table.

Having many credit cards (say, 6+) means more bookkeeping, likely more fees, and possibly a great deal more rewards.

Finding your personal sweet spot on this spectrum makes up most of the answer of how many cards you should have, but there are other considerations, too.

For instance, which budget categories do you spend the most money on? Which cards offer the best benefits on those categories?

Do you travel or eat out often? If so, a travel or dining-focused card would be a great addition.

If you run a small business, a card specific to those expenses may be a lucrative one to have, too.

For some people, a single, set-it-and-forget-it credit card with decent rewards across the board is all they need.

Others love to maximize their points, discounts, and other rewards in every category, and are happy to put the extra work into it.

Most will settle around 3-5 total credit cards, with 1-2 "everyday" ones and a couple for more specialized purposes like travel or emergencies.

But remember, personal finance is mostly personal and a little bit finance. Only you will know the right balance and setup for your unique style.

Swipe up for more tips and ideas for improving your financial life and relationship with money!