How many credit cards should I have?

Are there any benefits to having multiple credit cards?

There are a variety of credit cards available and each have their own specific purpose. If you effectively manage having multiple cards, you can take advantage of different credit card benefits.

Debt management

If you want to save on interest charges and manage your debt more effectively, balance transfer credit cards can be helpful. You can reduce interest expenses by transferring balances from high-interest credit cards to those with lower interest rates or a promotional interest-free period.

Earn rewards

When you have different credit cards, you can enjoy a variety of rewards programs. These rewards can include benefits like cashback offers, rewards points or product discounts. Using a mix of credit cards, you can maximise the rewards and get more out of your spending.

Build credit score

Whether you pay via Internet Banking or in-person, making on-time payments across multiple credit cards shows responsible credit management. Timely payments positively impact your credit score, proving to lenders that you can repay borrowed money.

Can having multiple credit cards impact your credit score?

Managing multiple credit cards can have both positive and negative effects on your credit score.

On the positive side, having multiple credit cards with a history of timely payments demonstrates responsible credit management and can boost your credit score.

However, opening multiple credit cards within a short period can temporarily lower your credit score as your credit report needs to include these new accounts. Having multiple accounts can also tempt you into overspending, lowering your credit score if you can’t pay back the money owed.

Questions to ask yourself before getting another credit card

Before applying for another credit card, it’s important to consider whether it’s the right decision. Ask yourself these questions before applying:

  • What do I need the card for? Knowing why you want a credit card can help you choose the right one. For example, a balance transfer credit card would be more helpful than a credit builder card for consolidating debt.
  • Am I eligible? Applications for credit cards go on your credit record and can lower your credit score if you’re rejected. If you’re unsure if you’re eligible, use an eligibility checker before applying.
  • Do I have existing debt? If you’re struggling to pay off your current cards, you must consider if you can afford to make payments on another credit card.
  • Are there any fees? Many cards have extra fees for withdrawing cash and foreign transactions, so you need to know how you’ll use your credit card before applying.

If you need more help with credit card applications, visit our support page.

Issues with having multiple credit cards

Managing multiple credit cards can be challenging and time-consuming. It means staying organised and vigilant about payment due dates, balances and promotional periods to avoid late payment fees and spending after your interest-free period ends.

How many credit cards are too many?

There’s no set rule about how many credit cards you can have, but owning more than two may make it more challenging to keep up with payments. If you organise your credit cards effectively, there’s no limit to how many credit cards you can have.

If you’re interested in applying for a new credit card with M&S Bank, you can learn more by visiting our M&S Credit Cards page.

Published August 2023