Back to learn

Does having multiple credit cards affect your credit score?

3 min read

multiple credit cards

Written By

Courtney Johnston
Courtney Johnston

Your credit score plays an important role in determining whether you’re approved for a loan, mortgage, or other credit account — and at what interest rate. Paying your bills on time and using a credit card and other credit accounts responsibly is the best way to boost your score. But even when doing everything right, improving the state of your credit report doesn’t happen overnight.

Having multiple credit cards can help you level up your credit score more quickly — but they can also significantly damage your credit history, if it’s not used correctly. If you’re considering opening multiple credit cards to try to improve your credit profile, here’s what you need to know to answer the question of 'how many credit cards should I have?'

How Multiple Credit Card Accounts Affect Your Credit Report

You can use a credit card to build a responsible credit history, which over time will boost your credit score. Paying your credit card bill on time is one of the best ways to help your credit score, while also avoiding late fees and penalty APRs. Keeping your credit utilization low — how much you charge on your card versus how much credit is available to you — is another way to improve your score. Experts recommend keeping your usage below 30%, but if you can keep it lower, your credit scores may benefit.

But if you miss a credit card payment or overspend, your credit score will suffer and you may slip into credit card debt. Multiple missed payments or a high credit utilization can both cause your credit score to decrease. Compounding this with multiple credit cards affects your score more quickly and more severely which is something to consider when deciding how many credit cards you want to have open and active. Too many credit cards can be a bad thing if not properly managed.

To avoid slipping into the habit of overcharging on your credit card, consider treating your credit card like a debit card and paying off a purchase in full each time you use your credit card. Or, consider weekly payments instead of monthly payments.

Does Having Multiple Credit Cards Impact Your Credit Score?

Having more than one credit card can impact your credit score in different ways. When you have multiple credit cards, your total line of available credit is higher, which can boost your credit utilization. Since your credit utilization makes up 30% of your credit score, just opening another card can help grow your score. This credit utilization ratio is important to monitor and you of course want the credit utilization ratio low as possible.

But multiple credit cards can also be risky and can have a huge impact on payment history, credit limit, and credit utilization ratio. Juggling multiple cards can make it more difficult to remember payment due dates, which could lead to late payments. If you charge more than you can afford to pay back on multiple cards, it could also lead to credit card debt, which can be expensive to overcome. This is why the decision to have multiple credit cards is one that needs to be carefully weighed.

How Many Cards Should You Carry and Use Regularly?

To build a high credit score, credit bureau Equifax recommends having 2-3 credit cards. However, that doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea to open another credit card account. Your personal credit history and personal lifestyle and financial standing will play heavily into how good an idea it is to increase your credit limit.

Consider getting a second or third credit card when you feel confident about how you’re using your first credit card. If you always pay your statement off in full each month and never miss payments, you may be ready for another credit card with better rewards or other helpful features.

Apply this rule whenever you’re considering getting another credit card. Review the credit card accounts you regularly use and make sure they’re all in good standing and that you aren’t carrying balances from month to month. If you are good with your currently active cards, concentrate on paying down your debt before deciding how many credit cards you are going to open in addition to those.

The Pros and Cons of Having Multiple Credit Cards

Pros of having multiple credit cards:

  • A lower credit utilization ratio: Opening another credit card is the fastest way to decrease your credit utilization rate, by instantly expanding your available line of credit.

  • Ability to maximize rewards: Having more than one credit card can help you earn higher rewards and boost credit score perks and raise credit limit availability.

  • You may increase your credit score faster: If you practice healthy credit habits with multiple cards, you might see earlier gains in your credit score.

Cons of having multiple credit cards:

  • Requires more diligence: It can be more difficult to keep track of multiple bill payments and due dates which impacts your credit limit and overall credit history.

  • Temptation to overspend: Having more than one credit line can make it easier to overspend on purchases, which can lead to expensive credit card debt.

  • You may ding your credit report more easily: If you’re not paying your credit card bills on time for more than one card, it can hurt your credit scores.

Determining how many credit cards you should have is a personal decision that has to be carefully considered. Only you can decide if this is the best option for your credit building journey. Reaching a higher credit score requires paying your credit card bills on time and keeping your credit card balances low. A high credit score takes time, but can help you get approved for loans and other credit products more easily. Opening an additional credit line, like a credit card, could help you reach your goal a little faster and give you more wiggle room with your credit limits and help improve your credit scores

Get Your Own KOHO Credit Building Credit Card

If you’re ready to improve your credit score with multiple credit cards, consider a credit building credit card from KOHO. Not only do you have the options to earn cash-back rewards and interest, but you can also build your credit fast by adding a KOHO line of credit. You can learn more at and start the process of deciding how many credit cards you want to use.

Note: KOHO product information and/or features may have been updated since this blog post was published. Please refer to our KOHO Plans page for our most up to date account information!

Courtney Johnston

Courtney is a professional writer, editor and financial literacy enthusiast. You can find her writing on CNET, Investopedia, The Motley Fool, Yahoo Finance, MSN and The Balance. She spends her free time exploring different cities across the globe or enjoy some downtime with her two cats and one dog.



AboutAffiliatesCareersCommunity DiscountsCultureEnterpriseLearnNewcomersTravelStatusStudent & Graduate Discounts


The KOHO Mastercard® Prepaid card is issued by KOHO Financial Inc. pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard and the circles design are registered trademarks of Mastercard International Incorporated.

By using this website, you accept our Terms and Conditions. Follow these links for more information on our Privacy Policy and Accessibility Policy. © 2024 KOHO Financial Inc.