Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Can credit cards hurt your credit score? And how to minimize the effects

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While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how many credit cards you should have, it is essential to understand how multiple cards affect your credit score. Credit cards are excellent financial tools that provide convenience and security.

They are helpful when you don’t have any cash on hand or bring some money with you when making purchases.

They can also be convenient when purchasing large items such as a new TV or significant appliance. They’re incredibly beneficial when traveling, as they can provide you with a variety of travel-related benefits such as zero liability fraud coverage, stolen or lost card replacement, as well as auto rental insurance, not to notice ways to earn rewards.

This information can assist you in deciding whether to open a new card. How to manage the cards you already have correctly.

You accept more risk when you have more than one credit card. You must understand the various terms of service and hold track of multiple bills and due dates. And how you handle critical aspects of your credit cards, such as paying bills or carrying a balance, can affect your credit score.

Below we discussed how is credit cards influence your credit score. So let’s dive right into it.

Multiple credit cards affect your credit score!

  • Having just so many outstanding credit lines, even if they are not used, can harm your credit score by making you appear riskier to lenders.
  • Have several active accounts can make it increasingly challenging to keep track of spending and payment due dates. In addition, credit utilization that exceeds 30% of credit card credit lines, as well as late payments, can dramatically lower credit scores.
  • Closing older accounts can reduce your average age of credit and lower your credit score.
  • In some instances, opening new credit cards can improve your credit score if the new credit lines lower your overall utilization ratio.

Consider the Following Factors

Many factors help you define the number of credit cards that are appropriate for you. 

Some people believe that a small number of cards—one to three—is adequate. Others end up opening multiple cards over time due to response to new offer incentives that arrive in the mail or online.

However, handling them and the conditions under which you gain them are more important than the number of credit cards you carry.

It may make sense to build a primary card for most expenditure and one or two secondary cards for a backup or specific purpose.

It’s also important to note that having too many open credit lines about your income. Even if they’re not used, they can make you appear potentially risky to lenders and lower your credit score.

It can be challenging to keep track of multiple due dates.

Because payment history is the most crucial component in your credit score, you must pay all your credit card bills on time. Aside from improving your credit score, a history of on-time payments allows you to avoid late fees and penalty interest rates.

It may be more challenging to manage multiple due dates if you have more than one card. However, there is a simple solution: change your due dates.

Many card issuers customize the day your payment is due online or in-app, allowing you to select the best day for you.

This could mean setting all of your due dates to the same day, so you don’t have to keep track of multiple dates. And you are also spreading them out throughout the month based on when you get paid.

You can arrange autopay for at least the minimum due to ensure payments are made on time in response to adding your due date.

The average length of your credit history will decrease your credit score!

The average length of your credit history will decrease. As a result, every new credit card you obtain reduces the average size of your credit history.

While new card accounts generally lower your credit score by about five points, it usually recovers within a few months. Even so, if you often open new cards, the negative impact can accumulate.

For example, if you opened the Chase Freedom® in 2010 (10 years ago) and then the Citi® Double Cash Card today, the average length of your credit history would be reduced from 10 years to 5 years.

That is a significant disparity that may result in a drop in your credit score, particularly if you open numerous accounts in a short amount of time.

It would help if you also tried to keep your oldest credit card open as long as possible. Because it increases the average time, you have credit. Also, if you don’t use your most senior card regularly, it may become inactive. 

The most straightforward solution is to keep your account active by adding a small recurring charge to your card and enabling autopay.

It will increase the number of credit inquiries.

Once you apply for a new credit card, lenders typically conduct a complex inquiry into your credit history, which will show up on your credit report. 

These inquiries, whether accepted or rejected, have the potential to reduce your credit score significantly. And questions will remain on your credit report for two years. However, because the effect lessens over time and credit scoring models from FICO and VantageScore reject inquiries after one year, your score may recover within a few months.

Access to more credit

The proportion of overall credit used, also defined as amounts owed. And also, credit utilization rate is the second-most significant factor in deciding your credit score.

You will receive a new credit limit for each new card you open, increasing your available credit. This can be an effective way to enhance your credit utilization rate and credit score. But only if you continue to spend the same or similar amount just as you opened the new card.

If you overspend on the extra line of credit, you risk increasing your utilization and thus harming your credit score. Therefore, whenever it comes to opening multiple cards, the most excellent solution is to keep a coherent spending of 10% or less of your overall credit limit.

Opening new credit cards can help your credit score in some cases if the new credit lines lower your total utilization ratio.

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