For those entering into the credit card arena for the first time, how do you decide which card is right and best to use? There are just so many cards out there, each offering their own sets of rewards and incentives and bonuses, so from all of these options, how on earth do we pick just one card ? Well there’s great news for you, and that news is that you don’t have to stick with just one single credit card ever.
You can have as many cards as your credit will approve you for, but although you can have more cards to your name than you thought you ever could, this doesn’t by any means translate that you should apply and hold onto every card application that you see. Responsibly managing even a single card is hard work as it is, and with every card you add to your repertoire the job only gets harder and more complicated. Below is a breakdown of how you can manage multiple credit cards all at once, and do so responsibly.
Control the cards.
The biggest note to remember is that you need to remain in control of the cards and the “opportunity” that they represent. Yes, a credit card does mean that you spend credit rather than your own money when you purchase things, but like we remind you of quite a bit, credit is not your money but somebody else’s, and they are not looking to do you any favors by having you borrow their money.
When you do use your multiple cards, keep track of what you use them on, and the more cards you have and use, the more methodical you should be when pulling out the plastic. Don’t carelessly use cards based off which one you think haven’t used in a while or which one is your simply your favorite, but rather use them as they help you best.
This method of using cards that serve you best can be quantified by what kinds of purchases offer you the most rewards for specific purchases. Or, if the rewards are for the most part even all across the board for your general purchases, then use one card for every different area of spending: use one card just for fill ups at the gas station, one card just for groceries and necessity purchases of the like, and another card for recreational actives like movie tickets and things of that nature.
Keep the purchases you make on the cards organized, and this will help you keep mental track of how the cards are being used and how much you have spent on them recently that much easier come time to settle up on the monthly bill.
Before you begin to sign up for multiple cards, you should first assess yourself and determine what kind of a spender you are. When you look in the mirror, do you honestly see the face of a responsible spender looking back at you? Even if you have answered yes to this question, you still should reconsider having multiple credit cards.
NOTE: When we say say multiple credit cards, we don’t mean two or three, but rather four or seven or anything more than that. Multiple cards. Second, having multiple cards does not mean that having more cards is a bad idea, because in fact, having multiple cards can be, when used responsibly, a huge help to attain purchases that otherwise would be impossible without upstanding available credit.
So before you consider adding more credit cards to your already existing line up, review how your spending has looked in the past with your credit cards. Is your credit history riddled with late and overdue payments, and even credit limits being reached? These factors are some pretty bright signals that should be considered in the conversation about whether or not you should invite more credit cards into your wallet. Know what kind of spender you are.
Know how credit cards work.
Remember how credit cards work: lenders let you use their money in exchange for the possibility of paying interest on late payments and over-drafting of allowed credit limits. So unless you want to pay up on fees that you very easily could avoid, keep your credit limit in mind when the cards have to come out, and keep your payments flowing on time, every time.
Banks and lenders only make money off of you when you let them, so stay on top of every single card that you have active that your payments are regular and frequent.
Does each card have a real reason to be there?
We all think we need more, and it doesn’t really matter what it is for, we just feel we need more. Yes, you can apply for as many cards as you want (keeping in mind your credit score is effected every time), but do you really need multiple cards? More cards can be useful for various situations, but to have multiple and active cards all at once just to have more can lead to more of a curse than a blessing.
So consider and reconsider if you truly need more cards than what is absolutely essential.
Do the pros outweigh the cons?
Before you open up another credit card, think about having this card forever and never being able to close it. Not that you cannot close out a credit card, thinking about having this card for the long term will help you determine if this card is truly worth signing onto.
Along those lines, you also should consider that some cards have annual fees, so be sure that the benefits and rewards outweigh the fees. Make sure you really are making a wise choice before you sign onto another credit card, and not just signing on to chase more rewards.
To summarize, consider and reconsider the amount of cards you own and be diligent with everything that you swipe on. Keep careful track of everything you place onto a card and try to keep your purchase history organized to specific cards, as this will help you remember what purchase was made on which card. While you swipe, keep in mind what your credit score looks like before and after you sign onto more cards. If not kept track of, your credit score could get ripped to shreds with an abundance of credit cards running unattended to.
As always, remember that credit is not your money, but money that is being lent to you with the condition that anything you spend outside of their restrictions result in you handing them over some of your own money. So regardless of how many cards you have, whether it’s one or 12, keep your payments on time and in full. If you can honestly and responsibly keep track of every single card you have in your wallet and keep them paid up and organized, then there is no reason you should run into any problems, regardless of how many cards you have. Stay alert out there, credit users.