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TheStreet Open House

How to Tell If You Have Too Many Credit Cards

Stocks in this article: VMAAXP

Every credit card will require a payment date and each one could be different. This payment juggling, Howard says, could lead to missed payments or late payments, which could lead to a decrease in your credit score.

Even just one credit card might already be too many for your own good. "The total balance on all cards compared to the total credit limit on those cards is called the utilization rate," Griffin says. "A high utilization rate, whether you have one card or many, is a strong indicator of credit risk and will significantly impact credit scores."

3. Your credit score has been steadily dropping. Several factors influence your credit score: previous payment performance, outstanding debt and the length of time the credit has been open.

Inquiries and new accounts also affect your credit score. Every time you apply for a credit card, an inquiry is added to your report and your credit score goes down a little. "An inquiry is viewed unfavorably because it means you are shopping for credit," Lazarus says.

To find out if the number of credit cards you own is a reason for your low credit score, pull your credit report and look at the risk factors. If "too many revolving accounts" is listed as a risk factor, it might be a good idea to ignore future card offers and think about closing some open accounts.

4. You are having a difficult time getting a loan. Having too many credit cards could be one of several reasons you are being denied a home loan or a car loan. Howard says loan officers nowadays seem to frown upon borrowers with more than five credit cards.


Even if you maintain zero balances on several open credit cards, you can be considered a risk. "The loan officer realizes that you could use all of your credit cards after the loan is approved, and that will affect your ability to repay the loan," Howard says.

Although a high credit score will help prove you are worthy of loan approval, Howard explains it is not always the case. She has observed that since 2008, loan officers have been very careful in approving loans. "They are favoring mostly those with a limited number of credit cards, in addition to having a high credit score."

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