The Pros and Cons of Having Multiple Credit Cards

by Venus Zoleta, on category "Credit Card"

April 30, 2018


Multiple Credit Cards Pros and Cons | Moneymax

When owning credit cards, which is better: “the more, the merrier” or “less is more”?

Thinking if you should get a second, third, or fourth card? It’s tricky to decide whether or not to have multiple credit cards, as it has both its pros and cons. Your needs, financial situation, and spending habits must be considered as well.

Carefully weigh the things you’ll stand to gain and lose with multiple credit cards to avoid racking up debts and hurting your credit history in the long run.

4 Benefits of Owning Multiple Credit Cards

Having more than one credit card isn’t necessarily bad. It can be actually helpful in certain situations if you play your cards right.

1. Spare Cards Provide Convenience and Flexibility

Multiple Credit Cards: Pros and Cons

A backup credit card or two can be a life-saver when your lost or stolen primary card is being replaced. Your spare card will enable you to pay for emergencies or regular expenses while waiting for your new card.

Carrying multiple credit cards is also a great idea if you frequently travel abroad. Imagine the hassle of looking for an ATM or a money exchange center because the taxi only accepts Mastercard, and you have only Visa.

You’ll also save on foreign currency transaction fees and earn rewards on international purchases when you use a separate credit card for overseas spending.

2. Maximize Credit Card Rewards

Having a variety of credit cards at your disposal is a smart strategy to earn maximum rewards for every purchase.

Let’s say you’ll use a credit card mostly for travel, shopping, and fuel. While a single rewards or cashback credit card can earn you rewards points for these expenses, it makes a whole lot of difference when you keep separate cards for accumulating air miles, shopping rewards, or fuel rebates.

It’s easier to rack up rewards points and get higher cashback rates when you use, for instance, a fuel rebate card rather than a regular card for gassing up and another card that offers the highest rebates for groceries.

3. Separate Credit Line for Online Purchases

Multiple Credit Cards: Pros and Cons

Identity theft and other forms of credit card fraud make online shopping risky. If you use a single card for all your online and offline purchases, you might lose a great deal of money when your card is hacked.

You can keep that from happening and protect your primary credit card by getting another card solely for your online transactions. Credit cards designed only for online shopping come with a lower spending limit, a different credit card number, and no annual fee, as long as you get one from the bank that issued your primary card.

Some examples of online shopping cards in the Philippines are the BDO Virtual Card and BPI eCredit.

4. Organized Expense Tracking and Recording

If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s challenging to monitor credit card spending that includes both your personal and business expenses. Manage your expense tracking and recording by getting a new credit card meant for business-related spending only. And even if you’re not running a business, life would be easier when you have a card for paying your utilities, a second card for your shopping, a third for your travel expenses, and so on.

Keep things organized by having multiple credit cards, with each dedicated to a specific type of expense.

4 Risks of Keeping Multiple Credit Cards

Just because you can have multiple credit cards doesn’t mean you should. Consider these risks of keeping more than one card:

1. Hard to Manage

Maintaining multiple credit cards mean more responsibilities—more statements to check, more due dates and credit limits to remember, and more bills to pay. These can be very confusing and time-consuming.

Forgetting one of your due dates and missing a payment lead to late payment fees and interest charges. If you think you don’t have the time, patience, and discipline to manage multiple credit cards, it makes sense to just stick to a single card.

Read more: Credit Card Payment and Fees Every Cardholder Needs to Understand

2. Tendency to Overspend and Wreck Your Budget

Multiple Credit Cards: Pros and Cons

Admit it—the struggle to resist overspending is real when you have multiple credit cards in your wallet. Yes, you have greater purchasing power, but with great power comes great responsibility, right?

Don’t have the willpower to avoid spending more than you can afford? Then carrying multiple credit cards is not for you.

3. Easy to Accumulate Debt

A single missed or delayed credit card payment can snowball into huge debt sooner than you expect. Unless you’re sure you can pay off your credit card balances every month, don’t even think about owning more than one card.

4. More Expensive to Maintain

Multiple Credit Cards: Pros and Cons

Whether you use your credit cards or not, annual fees and interest on the balance can add up. A regular card typically has a PHP 1,500 annual fee. Imagine how much you’ll be paying every year if you keep around five cards or more. So if you’re considering to get another card, compute the credit card fees you’ll have to pay to know if you can afford to keep multiple credit cards.

Final Thoughts

“The more, the merrier” or “less is more”? Should you get another credit card? There are no hard-and-fast rules to know the ideal number of credit cards to own. Consider the pros and cons of having multiple credit cards. If you think you’re ready and capable to get a new card, be sure to compare all your credit card options before you sign up for one.