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.
How many credit accounts is too many or too few? Credit scoring formulas don't punish you for having too many credit accounts, but you can have too few. Credit bureaus suggest that five or more accounts — which can be a mix of cards and loans — is a reasonable number to build toward over time.
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.
Having too many open accounts to keep track of can lead to forgotten due dates, interest charges from simply forgetting to pay a credit card in full, and other issues. If you have trouble listing your credit cards from memory, you're likely to forget to pay one at some point.
No matter how many credit cards you have, the same rules apply: Keep your balances low, and always pay bills on time. While the number of cards that you carry likely won't affect your score in itself, you should avoid applying for several new credit cards at one time.
"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. Everyone's credit history is different. Lenders tolerate different levels of risk, and different credit scoring formulas have different criteria.
Having too many outstanding credit lines, even if not used, can hurt credit scores by making you look more potentially risky to lenders. You can boost your score in some cases by opening new credit cards if the new credit lines lower your overall utilization ratio.
The standard advice is to keep unused accounts with zero balances open. The reason is that closing the accounts reduces your available credit, which makes it appear that your utilization rate, or balance-to-limit ratio, has suddenly increased.
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).
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.
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.
Most conventional loans require a credit score of at least 620 to buy a house. But, you'll find that there are several other loan types that have much lower requirements. A lot of first-time home buyers worry that their credit scores are too low to buy a home.
Conventional loans require at least three tradelines (any combination of credit cards, student loans, car loans, and so on) that have been active within the past 12-24 months. FHA loans require two tradelines. It's fine to have more, but if you have fewer, you won't qualify for a mortgage.
A 0% credit utilization rate has no real benefit for your credit score. Instead of aiming for no utilization, keep your credit utilization rates below 30%, and preferably under 10%, to help your credit.
Debt-to-income ratio is your monthly debt obligations compared to your gross monthly income (before taxes), expressed as a percentage. A good debt-to-income ratio is less than or equal to 36%. Any debt-to-income ratio above 43% is considered to be too much debt.
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.
New Credit Applications
New credit applications—like for credit cards—could have an impact on your credit scores. That's because a new credit application generally creates a hard inquiry, which can cause your credit scores to drop by a few points and stay on your credit report for up to two years.
The numbers look similar when closing a card. Increase your balance and your score drops an average of 12 points, but lower your balance and your score jumps an average of 10 points. Two-thirds of people who open a credit card increase their overall balance within a month of getting that card.
If you've paid off your credit card but have no available credit, the card issuer may have put a hold on the account because you've gone over your credit limit, missed payments, or made a habit of doing these things.
If you've just started using credit and recently got your first credit card, it's best to keep that card open for at least six months. That's the minimum amount of time for you to build a credit history to calculate a credit score. 1 Keep your first credit card open at least until you get another credit card.
Paying off debt also lowers your credit utilization rate, which helps boost your credit score.
In general, six or more hard inquiries are often seen as too many. Based on the data, this number corresponds to being eight times more likely than average to declare bankruptcy. This heightened credit risk can damage a person's credit options and lower one's credit score.
A 750 credit score generally falls into the “excellent” range, which shows lenders that you're a very dependable borrower. People with credit scores within this range tend to qualify for loans and secure the best mortgage rates. A 750 credit score could help you: Qualify for a mortgage.