ATLANTA - Most of us have a credit card these days. Most of us have more than one. But how many is too many?
I realized I have a lot of credit cards. I don't use them all, but I have a lot. Can you have too many? You may have all of the varieties - Mastercard, Visa and American Express. Then there are the cards specific to places that you shop like your favorite retailer. They add up don't they?
Well, there's no magic number when it comes to whether you have too many. But here are few questions you can ask yourself.
1. Do you have a difficult time making minimum payments on all of them?
2. Have you lost track of the balances?
3. Are you late on payments?
4. Do you need your credit cards for pay for basics like groceries?
These are tell-tale signs that you juggle too many credit cards.
But wait! Don't just go closing them out. Not yet anyway. You can cut them up and put them aside so that you don't use them. But don't cancel them, not yet. Here's my suggestion: Work to get those cards to a reasonable credit-to-debt ratio - one that doesn't negatively impact your credit score. Meaning, the total due shouldn't be more than 30 percent of your credit limit. Then you can start eliminating them.
A big part of your credit score is your length of credit history. They want to see a long history with some of these cards. That's why canceling and jumping onto the next card with a better rate - and doing this with frequency - can hurt. Get those few cards you've had forever down to zero and keep them.