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Is there such a thing as too many when it comes to credit cards?

As hard as we may try to avoid it, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements for credit cards. While these solicitations often take the form of personalized entreaties arriving via the mail and email, they can also take a more subtle and indirect form like Internet banner ads and, of course, television commercials.

No matter the form, being inundated with credit card advertisements naturally raises the question as to whether the idea of taking on a second or even a third card is a good idea from a fiscal standpoint.

According to financial experts, there is no definitive answer as to whether a person should have more than one credit card. Indeed, like most other things in life, the decision ultimately varies based on the priorities of the person.

For example, if a person values keeping their finances as simple as possible, one credit card may be the way to go, while if a person values diversifying their spending options, more than one card may be the best option.  

Those still having trouble may want to consider some of the following pros and cons:

Pros for multiple cards

  • You can build a strong credit history by using multiple credit cards and making regular payments.
  • You have greater flexibility as far as purchasing power is concerned and a backup in case of unforeseen financial emergencies.
  • You can earn more rewards (cash back, air miles, hotel points, etc.).

Cons

  • You may find it harder to keep spending in check and monitor your statements.
  • You may have multiple due dates, meaning the chances of incurring late fees and interest are much greater.
  • You may run up too high of a cumulative balance, which can actually damage your credit score.

As interesting as this is, the fact remains that anyone -- regardless of how many credit cards they hold -- can run into money problems very fast thanks to unforeseen events like prolonged illness, divorce or loss of a job, to name only a few.

When this happens, it's important for people to understand that they are not without options. Indeed, personal bankruptcy can help eliminate debt and provide a fresh start. To learn more about why this might be a viable option, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.  

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