The number of credit cards under your name does not necessarily determine your credit score. This is because they are not the only factor in your credit rating.
On the other hand, items used to calculate your credit score can be affected by the number and how cards are used, thereby affecting your score.
To understand the correlation, let’s look at the different factors in relation to credit cards.
For you to have good credit, make sure you pay your credit bills and loans on time. Your payment history accounts to 35% of your credit score, making this one of the major determinants of your credit rating.
However, having too many cards can be difficult to keep tabs on, leading to default or late payments. This will consequently lead to poor credit in the long run.
Also, not having open credit accounts or cards is not good since it will lead to a zero score. Therefore, have just enough credit cards that you can manage efficiently.
Your credit utilization should not be more than 30% of your allowable income. The number of cards you hold do not really determine your score, but factor in the total credit held.
You may have a few cards that are not within the 30% debt to Income ratio threshold, hence poor credit while another may have many credit cards but the total credit is within the 30% DTI hence good credit.
Therefore, the amount owed, no matter the number of your credit cards, is very important.
Credit History Length
Your credit score is also determined by how long you have been using credit accounts. The length accounts for 15% of your credit score. Ideally, you need to keep your credit cards open, active, in good standing, and with less balances.
As such, you can have few credit cards that you have held for a long time, leading to a good score. On the other hand, another person can have many cards, for a short period of time hence, a poor credit.
The reason is, closing an old account can hurt your credit score. It is preferable to keep using old cards for small purchases and making payments on time rather than closing them.
The longer you diligently maintain a credit card, the better your score gets.
New Credit Applications
Credit card applications go through a hard inquiry that goes into your credit report. These inquiries have the capability to affect your credit score for a maximum of 2 years, regardless of whether your application was approved or denied.
Having too many credit cards indicates that hard inquiries were undertaken, which could have negatively affected your credit score. Therefore, avoid applying for many credit cards at a go.
Generally, new credit accounts factor in 10% of your credit score.
To build a strong credit history, consider having a mix of secured and unsecured credit. Note, secured loans have a high impact on your credit score when paid on time compared to unsecured loans.
Having different loans also shows the lenders that you can handle multiple payments efficiently.
However, although credit mix accounts for 10% of your credit score, it is worth noting that having many credit cards may not necessarily positively affect your credit score if not mixed with other types of loans such as mortgages.
The trick is to have a few credit cards and other types of loans making up your total credit.
Having a few or many cards is relative to the cardholder. We cannot clearly pinpoint what is a few or too many cards. A cardholder should therefore adhere to making payments on time, keep track of the credit utilization to be less than 30%, have a good credit mix, and avoid new credit.
Additionally, many credit cards do not mean a good mix of credit hence you should aim for a good mix rather than concentrate on the number of cards in your wallet.
Lastly, it is good to note that credit score is dependent on individual circumstances and having multiple cards has its pros and cons. No matter the number of cards in your possession, be responsible, disciplined and time conscious.
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