The average American have 4 credit cards, according to the 2019 Experian Consumer Credit Review.
There is no universal number of credit cards that is “too many.” Your credit score won't tank once you hit a certain number. In reality, “too many” credit cards is the point at which you're losing money on annual fees or having trouble keeping up with bills—and that varies from person to person.
The average American has two to three credit cards, and Credit Karma members have nearly five. See how you compare and learn how opening and closing accounts can affect your credit.
It's generally recommended that you have two to three credit card accounts at a time, in addition to other types of credit. Remember that your total available credit and your debt to credit ratio can impact your credit scores. If you have more than three credit cards, it may be hard to keep track of monthly payments.
Key credit card statistics
The average American has 3.84 credit cards, according to the most recent data from Experian. There were 365 million open credit card accounts in the U.S. as of the end of 2020, according to data released in May 2021 by the American Bankers Association.
Even though household net worth is on the rise in America (at $141 trillion in the summer of 2021)—so is debt. The total personal debt in the U.S. is at an all-time high of $14.96 trillion. The average American debt (per U.S. adult) is $58,604 and 77% of American households have at least some type of debt.
The average credit score in the United States is 698, based on VantageScore® data from February 2021. It's a myth that you only have one credit score. In fact, you have many credit scores. It's a good idea to check your credit scores regularly.
“Too many” credit cards could be anywhere from 2 to 5 or more, depending on the individual. Everyone should have at least 1 credit card for credit-building purposes, even if they don't use it to make purchases, but the exact number of cards you should have differs from person to person.
Having a lot of credit cards can hurt your credit score under any of the following conditions: You are unable to service your current debt. Your outstanding debt is more than 30% of your total available credit1 You have added too many cards in too short a time.
A credit card can be canceled without harming your credit score; just remember that paying down credit card balances first (not just the one you're canceling) is key. Closing a charge card won't affect your credit history (history is a factor in your overall credit score).
Although ranges vary depending on the credit scoring model, generally credit scores from 580 to 669 are considered fair; 670 to 739 are considered good; 740 to 799 are considered very good; and 800 and up are considered excellent.
As with almost every question about credit reports and credit scores, the answer depends on your unique credit history and the scoring system your lender is using. "Too many" credit cards for someone else might not be too many for you. There is no specific number of credit cards considered right for all consumers.
What is the 5/24 rule? Many card issuers have criteria for who can qualify for new accounts, but Chase is perhaps the most strict. Chase's 5/24 rule means that you can't be approved for most Chase cards if you've opened five or more personal credit cards (from any card issuer) within the past 24 months.
Is It Bad To Have a Lot of Credit Cards With Zero Balance? Unfortunately, it can be. Keeping a low credit utilization ratio is good, but having too many credit cards with zero balance may negatively impact your credit score.
Closing a credit card with a zero balance may increase your credit utilization ratio and potentially drop your credit score. In certain scenarios, it may make sense to keep open a credit card with no balance. Other times, it may be better to close the credit card for your financial well-being.
In general, it's best to keep unused credit cards open so that you benefit from a longer average credit history and a larger amount of available credit. Credit scoring models reward you for having long-standing credit accounts, and for using only a small portion of your credit limit.
While the number of cards you carry likely won't have an effect on your score in isolation, avoid applying for several new credit cards at one time. That can negatively impact your credit score in the short term.
Only about 1 in 6 American consumers has a FICO credit score of 800 or higher.
Age well for best results
While six months is the minimum age before you're fully scorable, that's the bottom of the range -- way at the bottom. Most lenders (and scoring models) consider anything less than two years of credit history to be little more than a decent start.
“Shark Tank” investor Kevin O'Leary has said the ideal age to be debt-free is 45, especially if you want to retire by age 60. Being debt-free — including paying off your mortgage — by your mid-40s puts you on the early path toward success, O'Leary argued.
Former Société Générale rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel owes the bank $6.3 billion.
If your total balance is more than 30% of the total credit limit, you may be in too much debt. Some experts consider it best to keep credit utilization between 1% and 10%, while anything between 11% and 30% is typically considered good.
The easiest Chase credit card to get is the Chase Freedom® Student credit card because applicants can get approved with limited credit. This means the odds of approval are good even for people who are new to credit, making the Chase Freedom® Student credit card much easier to get than other Chase credit cards.
Credit card churning is the practice of repeatedly opening and closing credit cards to earn cash, rewards points or miles. Often, you can qualify for a large intro bonus after opening a new credit card, which is something "churners'' exploit to try to amass a lot of rewards.