Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


(95,131 posts)
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 05:23 PM Jul 2021

How many credit cards do you have?

I've see some discussion at Experian that five cards are optimal for your Credit Score. Personally, I have two in my name, each with a purpose: an Amex which gets me status points on Delta, and a Barclays card with Chip and PIN technology for Europe.

59 votes, 2 passes | Time left: Unlimited
7 (12%)
10 (17%)
17 (29%)
10 (17%)
6 (10%)
5 or more
9 (15%)
Show usernames
Disclaimer: This is an Internet poll
44 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
How many credit cards do you have? (Original Post) brooklynite Jul 2021 OP
This thread is useless without PIN numbers included. Solly Mack Jul 2021 #1
Fair point, but the Nigerian bank I'm in touch with says not to reveal it... brooklynite Jul 2021 #3
Ha! Well played. Solly Mack Jul 2021 #4
I have 4 that I only use for balance transfers when they are offered. yellowdogintexas Jul 2021 #2
I work in finance, at least for the next 5 days until my new job on the 12th. Jedi Guy Jul 2021 #5
2 cards with a 820 fico SYFROYH Jul 2021 #6
I've lost track, but only one has a balance and that's paid off in full every month. Most are Vinca Jul 2021 #7
Your credit utilization dropped so your score did as well. Jedi Guy Jul 2021 #10
Thanks. I appreciate the information. Never thought I'd be penalized by the credit reporting Vinca Jul 2021 #34
You're welcome! Jedi Guy Jul 2021 #35
I have one just for priority boarding on United liberal N proud Jul 2021 #8
Two debit bank cards. Scottie Mom Jul 2021 #9
Just One ProfessorGAC Jul 2021 #11
I don't believe the number of cards is all that important. tritsofme Jul 2021 #12
About 5 or 6. roamer65 Jul 2021 #13
I have two cards... I never use one, and the other is paid off monthly... secondwind Jul 2021 #14
2 cards, both of which I use regularly Mr. Ected Jul 2021 #15
Four KentuckyWoman Jul 2021 #16
Here is a smart person. roamer65 Jul 2021 #17
4 cards DetroitLegalBeagle Jul 2021 #18
We use one cash back credit card to buy just about everything marie999 Jul 2021 #19
I've never had one. Debt free for the last 25 years. BluesRunTheGame Jul 2021 #20
Just two cards. Tomconroy Jul 2021 #21
17. I'm a points hacker, and I open cards to get the signup bonuses. Dial H For Hero Jul 2021 #22
Can you explain how I can become you? Tomconroy Jul 2021 #23
HA!!!! MyOwnPeace Jul 2021 #24
I have 8 of them. DenaliDemocrat Jul 2021 #25
Same card, since 1998. MerryBlooms Jul 2021 #26
Old school, just like me! Tomconroy Jul 2021 #27
I'm only 58, but yeah, super old school when it comes to finances! MerryBlooms Jul 2021 #28
Bravo! Tomconroy Jul 2021 #31
None... Mike Nelson Jul 2021 #29
I hate credit/debit cards, but have three DFW Jul 2021 #30
We have 3. One we never use and should cancel. GulfCoast66 Jul 2021 #32
Don't cancel it; it will bring your credit score down JenniferJuniper Jul 2021 #33
just got a Lowe's card scarytomcat Jul 2021 #36
Credit cards are a threat to democracy. Roisin Ni Fiachra Jul 2021 #37
Making them illegal would be absurd. Dial H For Hero Jul 2021 #40
Mine are all small limit and mostly store cards Marrah_Goodman Jul 2021 #38
Two credit cards Norbert Jul 2021 #39
I have two and my H has two. Raftergirl Jul 2021 #41
I get "free stuff" from LLBean if I use their MasgterCard. I use it to order stuff. I fine it useful CTyankee Jul 2021 #42
I would never give out this kind of info on the internet. milestogo Jul 2021 #43
I have eight credit cards PlanetBev Jul 2021 #44


(22,297 posts)
2. I have 4 that I only use for balance transfers when they are offered.
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 05:27 PM
Jul 2021

They are in a desk drawer and I never use them to buy anything.

I achieved a long standing goal this week: I got all of them on the same balance transfer card at 0% interest until 9/22 !

Jedi Guy

(3,290 posts)
5. I work in finance, at least for the next 5 days until my new job on the 12th.
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 05:29 PM
Jul 2021

I've never heard that five credit cards is optimal. I was taught that what's much more important is your DTI (debt to income ratio) and your credit utilization (balance vs. limit). For the latter, you want to carry a balance that's roughly 30% of your limit or less. More than that and it may actually lower your score even if you're making payments on time.


(50,345 posts)
7. I've lost track, but only one has a balance and that's paid off in full every month. Most are
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 05:33 PM
Jul 2021

purely for convenience like buying gas, keeping track of office supplies and to have in case of some dire emergency. A few months ago we paid off our mortgages, too, and when I checked the credit rating while paying the Citicard, the rating went down 30 points. Go figure. I thought once all your bills are paid off it would go up, but apparently if you don't have recurring payments they keep track off they figure you're dead or something. LOL. I don't really care since the score is still very good and I don't want to incur any debt anyway.

Jedi Guy

(3,290 posts)
10. Your credit utilization dropped so your score did as well.
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 05:43 PM
Jul 2021

If you pay your credit card off in full every month and never revolve a balance, it has no impact whatsoever on your score because as far as the bureaus can tell the account isn't being used.

As for the mortgages, when a trade line is paid off and closed, it can result in a drop in your score because your utilization dropped, but also just because the trade line is closed. The longer the trade line has been active, the bigger the potential impact when it's closed. Closing a credit card that's been open for a year will have way less of an impact than a 20-year-old mortgage. Not a perfect comparison since it's secured vs. unsecured, but still.


(50,345 posts)
34. Thanks. I appreciate the information. Never thought I'd be penalized by the credit reporting
Mon Jul 5, 2021, 07:41 AM
Jul 2021

agencies for paying my bills. LOL.

Jedi Guy

(3,290 posts)
35. You're welcome!
Mon Jul 5, 2021, 07:56 AM
Jul 2021

And yeah, credit is wonky. The rules are often counterintuitive and contradictory, and they're 100% designed to favor the lender over the borrower.

liberal N proud

(60,355 posts)
8. I have one just for priority boarding on United
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 05:35 PM
Jul 2021

Considering switching to a card to provide similar services on Delta.
I just need to use my United miles first


(65,525 posts)
11. Just One
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 05:45 PM
Jul 2021

Use it for unexpected expenses when I'd rather not tap into cash safety stock.
We use three debit cards but those are, of course, directly linked to checking accounts. There's no line of credit involved.
Our FICO score is not remotely an issue needing improvement.


(17,453 posts)
12. I don't believe the number of cards is all that important.
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 05:49 PM
Jul 2021

The most important factor is credit utilization, keeping this under 3% will lead to optimal credit scores. Even assuming you pay off credit cards each month, the balance is still reported, meaning depending on your monthly spend habit, you may require significant amounts of available credit.

The average age of accounts is also an important factor.

I regularly use five cards, that offer rewards for different categories of spend.


(36,748 posts)
13. About 5 or 6.
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 05:51 PM
Jul 2021

Given the MASSIVE amount of identity theft nowadays, I NEVER EVER use debit cards. I would much rather lose a credit card number in a data breach than a debit card one.

When its your money stolen, the banks don’t give a shit. When it’s their money stolen, they certainly DO care more MUCH MORE even to the point of having fraud protection on their credit cards.

Plus if I ever have to file bankruptcy, unsecured credit card is usually right there along with medical bills for heavy write off.

Mr. Ected

(9,675 posts)
15. 2 cards, both of which I use regularly
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 06:06 PM
Jul 2021

I know when the credit bureau sweeps come in on each one every month and I pay each down to 10-15% utilization each month before those dates, then again before any interest is due. Brought my credit score up 130 points in a year using this method. I hate the games I have to play- and the time consumed- but the rules provide only a narrow window to optimize your score without costing you money.


(6,701 posts)
16. Four
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 06:06 PM
Jul 2021

1 for online purchases with good protections, and also great for international travel - if I do.

1 for everyday, in person chip purchases but it's got the best terms and if I ever decide to carry a balance, this is it.

1 is actually a Visa /Debit card and I only use it if I am at my own bank's ATM.

1 hardly ever use it anymore, but used to all the time. I use it a few times a year just to keep it active. I've had since November 1974, right after President Ford signed allowing women to get credit without a husband. I didn't need a credit card at the time but by golly I could and I did. I keep it because it means something to me.

Edit to add I have never carried a balance over in my life and don't recommend it. However, access to credit is the difference between getting through a temporary hardship and not. The key being temporary.


(36,748 posts)
17. Here is a smart person.
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 06:10 PM
Jul 2021

You are right on target. Good job!!!!!!!!

Limiting a debit card to only your bank’s ATMs is creating a good firewall against identity theft.

Only put the bank’s money at risk for online shenanigans, not your own.


(1,932 posts)
18. 4 cards
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 06:46 PM
Jul 2021

MLife Rewards Mastercard for our Las Vegas trips. Delta Skymiles card for flying Delta. Amex Platinum for all other travel/hotels. And a Chase Freedom unlimited.



(3,334 posts)
19. We use one cash back credit card to buy just about everything
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 07:22 PM
Jul 2021

and to pay for such as cell phones, property and auto insurances. Our bill runs between $4,500 and $5,000 a month and we pay it on time. We get between $1,000 and $1,200 back each year.


(1,631 posts)
20. I've never had one. Debt free for the last 25 years.
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 07:23 PM
Jul 2021

I have no idea what my credit score is and I don’t care.



(7,611 posts)
21. Just two cards.
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 07:24 PM
Jul 2021

One I use for everything and pay off every month. One has a low interest rate and in the extremely rare instance I think might not be able to fully pay off a purchase in a month I'll use that. Could never figure out the point of a debit card. Why wouldn't you enjoy the short free ride?


Dial H For Hero

(2,971 posts)
22. 17. I'm a points hacker, and I open cards to get the signup bonuses.
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 07:43 PM
Jul 2021

This enables me to fly internationally in business (and occassionally first) class around three times per year. The hotel credit cards also enable me to quite frequently stay for free.

I'm flying to Thailand a month from now. I'll be in the Qatar Airlines Q-Suite all the way from Atlanta to Doha to Phuket. Once there, I'll stay at the Hilton for 8 nights. I have Diamond status, so I'll get a free room upgrade and free breakfast every day. A quick flight to Hong Kong connects me to a British Airways flight (business class), and I'll stay in London for a few days (Hilton again) and catch a couple of shows (Sutton Foster in Anything Goes!). Take the Chunnel to Paris, stay 5 nights (Holiday Inn). Fly to JFK on Swiss Air, connecting through Zurich (business class again). Stay overnight in NYC, hop on Delta (1st class) to get home.

Total cost for all hotels: $0 and a bunch of points.
Total cost for all airfare: About $800 (tax, fuel surcharges) and a bunch of points.


(1,478 posts)
25. I have 8 of them.
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 09:26 PM
Jul 2021

I use them promotionally for the rewards. I don’t carry a balance. Amazon orders on Amazon card. I travel a lot so United and Delta cards. Marriot for hotels. Costco for everything else because the cash back is awesome. You CAN do this, but you must be very disciplined or you can get yourself in trouble quickly.

That’s kind of what they are counting on. If you play this game be disciplined


(11,778 posts)
26. Same card, since 1998.
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 09:37 PM
Jul 2021

Same car insurance for 20 years, home owning same insurance for almost 30 years, just now have a new email address since 1997... My credit score is excellent and I am dull as dirt.


(11,778 posts)
28. I'm only 58, but yeah, super old school when it comes to finances!
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 10:05 PM
Jul 2021

Last of my class of stenography/transcription and high school business classes. Probably the last who knew how to fill out a ledger, balance a check book, write a check, etc... I taught my sons the basics, because they weren't taught in school. Everything is online now, and I rarely use cash, but I still use my shorthand in notes to myself, and can still type 120 without errors if I'm relaxed.


(54,564 posts)
30. I hate credit/debit cards, but have three
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 10:14 PM
Jul 2021

One is on our Euro expense account, and is only used for work-related travel in Europe billed in Euros, Swiss Francs, or a Scandinavian currency.

Then there is a work-related Amex card. I can‘t even remember when the last time I used that was. Then there is my US credit card I only use when I’m here and run low on cash. I hate getting bills, so I have an automatic deduct from some account I maintain in the States. But since I’m rarely here, that’s just for short periods. I try to pay cash for everything I can. Groceries, entertainment, gas, eating out, whatever. A record is kept (probably more like twenty records) of every credit card transaction. I don’t need to map out my every move and preference for some database that will soon be used to harass me, or to sell me something. If I buy ANYTHING with a credit card, I am bombarded with offers to sell me something similar. If I pay cash, at most, I get asked for my zip code. I give them 40878, which in the USA must be in the Midwest somewhere. In Germany, it’s in the Rheinland near Düsseldorf, but they always assume there’s nowhere else on earth than America. Too bad. They ask for my Zip Code, they get it.

Otherwise, I hate using plastic. I can’t remember every transaction when I’m on vacation, and I can’t be bothered to spend an hour every month on the phone with the fraud division going over every time I got my wife a cappuccino at some café in Provincetown, MA. As for political contributions, I never use a credit card, and Act Blue can go shove it. I send checks, period. I do not need to get hit on by every Democratic candidate for dog catcher in North Platte, Nebraska.


(11,949 posts)
32. We have 3. One we never use and should cancel.
Mon Jul 5, 2021, 01:36 AM
Jul 2021

One from our credit union we charge maybe $100 dollars a month.

And one that pays every bill we have which we pay off. It costs us $450 a year, but we get $300 a year free travel and meals covered. Pays for our Global traveler pass and the concierge service is worth it’s weigh in gold. Has got me reservations in France, Italy and Germany. Call them up. Ask for a reservation on a day and time and within hours they come through. I guess that would work domestically but never tried.

Plus travel insurance and all that jazz. Discounts on car rentals and hotels. And more.

Best part is we earn enough rewards to have free flights to Europe every year. Because of Covid we can afford to go business class next time if we choose.


(1,706 posts)
36. just got a Lowe's card
Mon Jul 5, 2021, 08:02 AM
Jul 2021

my wife uses one and I use the other and Lowe's is for home improvement
always pay them off every month never pay interest

Roisin Ni Fiachra

(2,574 posts)
37. Credit cards are a threat to democracy.
Mon Jul 5, 2021, 08:28 AM
Jul 2021

They are contrary to my personal spiritual beliefs.

I've seen too many young people borrow their way into lives of permanent indentured servitude by accumulating massive debt to credit card corporations. They should be illegal. Yes, some people can use them wisely, but the pain and destruction they cause to innocent people's lives is not worth the small convenience they bring the more prudent among us.

Credit agencies, such as Experian, and their "credit scores" should also be illegal. As private corporate entities, they have no right to invade our privacy by having the power to freely access our personal information, and subsequently be used by our government and various private commercial entities as a source used to identify us. Our Social Security Numbers are enough for that purpose, thank you very much.

"You load 16 Tons, and what do you get? Another day older and deeper and debt. St. Peter don't you call me because I can't go, I owe my soul to the company store." - Merle Travis

Cut the card. Live free and prosper.


(1,586 posts)
38. Mine are all small limit and mostly store cards
Mon Jul 5, 2021, 08:30 AM
Jul 2021

I am trying to build up my credit. Unfortunately they are allowed to use credit scores for way to many things. Employment, housing, car insurance....it's insane. I am 51 and have never made an insurance claim. I still pay more for car insurance because I dont have a good credit score yet.


(6,047 posts)
39. Two credit cards
Mon Jul 5, 2021, 08:42 AM
Jul 2021

One card carries a low balance and I usually pay off every now and then.

The other is a store credit card that rarely carries a balance, mainly because I just don't need much any more.

I am in the high end of a good credit score and hope to make it even better.

One of the reasons (among many) I'm glad tRump didn't get a second term is I thought he would relax credit like it was 13-30 years ago where you could get several credit card apps in the mail every week. It was a near disaster for our family as debt was run up and in trying to pay them off my credit rating took a hit. I never want to go through that again.


(1,294 posts)
41. I have two and my H has two.
Mon Jul 5, 2021, 10:44 AM
Jul 2021

We don’t carry balances on any of them.

Haven’t checked credit score since last summer when leased a new car. Both are in the 800’s.

I put everything on one of my cards that I get miles. Even for very expensive items like a whole house generator. Then I immediately pay the bill in full. Since the start of the pandemic I’ve had just over $100k in charges. Now, if only I felt safe to fly anywhere.


(63,942 posts)
42. I get "free stuff" from LLBean if I use their MasgterCard. I use it to order stuff. I fine it useful
Mon Jul 5, 2021, 12:10 PM
Jul 2021

and I earn "bean bucks." I can get stuff hubby needs and really useful items. We're so old now that the days of Bloomingale's and Macy's are far in our past.

I never carry a balance. LLBean just automatically gets paid. Fine with me. No problems so far.


(4,104 posts)
44. I have eight credit cards
Mon Jul 5, 2021, 12:49 PM
Jul 2021

Which I use sparingly. Somehow, I’ve managed to hold onto a Fico of 835.

On edit, I’ve got nine. Mustn’t forget Amazon.

Latest Discussions»General Discussion»How many credit cards do ...