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Freedom from Debt

Do I Have Too Many Credit Cards?


Do I Have Too Many Credit Cards?

Credit cards can have a big impact upon your credit scores. Because of this fact, many credit savvy consumers often wonder about the ideal number of credit cards to have open. These consumers often pose questions such as “do I have too many credit cards?” or “should I open more credit cards?” or even “should I close some of my credit cards?” However the question is worded, what the person asking the question really wants learn is the perfect number of credit card accounts needed in order to achieve the best credit rating possible. Unfortunately, the idea that there is a magical number of credit cards needed in order to reach some credit score sweet spot is a bit of a myth.

Managing Your Credit Cards

Instead of focusing your energy on finding the right number of credit cards to open, you should instead shift your focus to how you should manage your credit cards. Credit scoring models, like FICO, pay a whole lot of attention to something called your revolving credit utilization ratios. For all of you non credit nerds, revolving credit utilization ratio is a credit industry term used to describe the relationship between your credit card balances and your (open) credit card limits.  The formula used to calculate your revolving credit utilization ratio can be a little complicated, but the principle behind the formula is pretty simple to understand. It is important to keep your revolving utilization ratios low at all times. The higher your credit card balances, the worse the impact will be upon your credit scores. As a rule, you never want to revolve credit card debt from one month to the next.

How Does My Number of Open Credit Cards Impact My Credit Scores?

If you have been paying attention so far then you may already realize that the question above is actually a trick question. Remember, how you manage your open credit cards determines the impact which those cards will have on your credit. The truth is that there is no right number of credit cards to have open. You could have 20 open credit card accounts, all with zero balances, and have very good credit scores. Conversely, you could have a mere 2 credit cards which were maxed out (meaning that you charged the cards up to the full, available balance) and your credit scores would probably be impacted very negatively.

What If I Don’t Have Any Credit Cards At All?

If you currently do not have any credit cards, then it is a good idea to start “shopping” for a little plastic. CLICK HERE to compare credit card offers, rates, and benefits. Find the cards which are the most appealing to you and apply. Note: if you currently have no credit or bad credit then starting out with SECURED CREDIT CARDS may be your best option. Once you have the cards, be sure to manage them well and commit to never charging more than you can afford to pay off that same month.

You will find people who disagree with me and believe that credit cards should be avoided at all costs. And yes, credit card debt should be avoided. I agree 100% that credit card debt is a bad thing. Credit card debt will cost you a lot of money and it will harm your credit scores. However, properly managed credit cards with zero balances are an excellent way to build positive credit. Building positive credit can help to set you up for success in life (i.e. lower interest rates on your mortgage, lower insurance premiums, lower utility deposits, etc.). In fact, building healthy credit is one of the most important goals you can have.

Michelle Black is an 12+ year credit expert with HOPE4USA, the credit blogger at, a recognized credit expert on talk shows and podcasts nationwide, a contributor to the Wealth Section of Fort Mill Magazine, and  a regularly featured speaker at seminars up and down the East Coast. She is an expert on improving credit scores, budgeting, and recovering from identity theft. You can connect with Michelle on the HOPE Facebook page by clicking here. 

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When Debt Collectors Attack!


When Debt Collectors Attack!

Debt Collectors Do NOT Have the Right to Harass or Threaten You!

Don't let your creditors take advantage of you. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a law designed to protect you against unruly creditors and collection companies. YOU have a ton of rights under this act which will help stop harassing creditors and debt collectors in their tracks. Here are just a few of the things which debt collectors are not allowed to do:

  • They are not allowed to tell others details about the consumer, including that they owe a debt.
  • They cannot communicate with anyone other than the consumer more than once.
  • They cannot communicate through post cards nor can they have ANY markings on the outside of their envelope indicating they might be a debt collector.
  • They cannot use the fact that they are a debt collector to bully you into paying.
  • They cannot identify themselves as a debt collector to your employer.
  • They cannot send things in the mail to identity they are a debt collector with the intent of embarrassing or causing other hardship to you.
  • They cannot call you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.

Debt collectors are also required to immediately cease and desist contact with you if you are represented by an attorney, or if you notify them to do so in writing, or if you notify them that you refuse to pay the debt. Any violations of the FDCPA can be costly to the debt collector, especially in the civil and class action aspects. And, these are only a few of the aspects of how this law protects you.

Contact us today at 704.499.9696 to learn how you can have the exceptional credit you deserve or click here if you would like to schedule a personal credit analysis with a HOPE Credit Expert.



HOPE for a Debt-Free Life (Part 1)

HOPE for a Debt-Free Life!Part 1 By Michelle Black

Does the mere mention of “debt” make your blood pressure spike a little? Do you begin to mentally kick yourself when you think about the amount you owe to creditors on a monthly basis? Is the stress of having more bills than money causing you to be unhappy or, even worse, causing tension within your entire family?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above then I am very excited to be sharing some great debt-payoff-tips with you over the next few weeks. The good news I would like to begin with is that, no matter what your current debt situation looks like, there is a way to turn it around. At the HOPE Program one of our favorite phrases is “There’s no such thing as a HOPEless situation!” There is so much truth in that powerful statement. If you could just take that single statement to heart and know that, with a little hard work and a solid plan, you can turn your financial and credit situation around, it would offer you a tremendous amount of stress relief!

Are you ready to hear some more? Then let’s get started with tip #1:

Track Your Spending.

My next tip is going to involve setting up a workable budget for your household. However, before a workable budget can be properly established you must have a clear idea of where your money is going currently. The easiest way I have found to track your spending is to carry a 3X5 card in your purse or wallet for a period of 4 weeks. Every time you spend any money (cash, charge, or check) be sure to write down the location of the purchase and the amount of the purchase on your 3X5 card. Remember to spend normally during this 4 week period. You will want an accurate picture of your spending habits when you get ready to plan your monthly budget.

Check back soon for my next tip to help you move closer to your debt free lifestyle!