In order to pick the best second credit card, you must first check your credit score and narrow down your choices to cards you have a shot at qualifying for. Then, you must determine what your primary need is with your second credit card, such as 0% financing or rewards, and choose the best card that meets your needs.
Narrow down your options. Only consider cards that are accessible with your current credit score.
Figure out how you want to use the card. You might want to finance purchases with a 0% APR, earn rewards, or just continue to build credit with a $0 annual fee, for example. For most people, the best option is going to be a good rewards card with no annual fee. Ideally, you should be paying your bills in full each month and trying to minimize the cost of your second credit card in order to maximize savings.
Get pre-approved. If possible, get pre-approval for a few cards you’re interested in that meet your financial needs. Pre-approval shows you which cards you’re likely (but not guaranteed) to get approved for.
Compare terms. Of the cards you’ve selected and been pre-approved for, pick the one that offers the best value based on its fees, rewards, benefits and APRs.
Once you have your second credit card, there’s no need to get rid of your first credit card, as you’ll keep building credit with it even if you don’t use it. Plus, canceling a credit card can hurt your credit score by lowering the average age of your accounts and raising your overall credit utilization. You also might want to continue using your first credit card for certain purchases, depending on what rewards and benefits it offers.
On the other hand, if your first credit card has an expensive annual fee and you don’t use it enough to justify paying that fee, it is worth closing in that case.
It’s best to apply for a credit card about once per year, assuming you need or want a card in the first place. And you shouldn’t apply for more than one card at the same time. If you apply more often, the repeated hard inquiries into your credit history will hurt your credit score. Creditors will also see you as desperate to borrow, making you a greater risk and less likely to be approved for a loan or line of credit.… read full answer
Every time you apply for a credit card (with only a few exceptions), the issuer will do a hard pull of your credit, which temporarily lowers your credit score. Normally, this isn’t a big deal, because your score will bounce back after a few months of responsible credit use (e.g. paying on time, low utilization, etc.). But hard pulls become problematic when there’s a bunch at the same time. The damage is more significant and lasts longer – up to 12 months, according to TransUnion. And that can wind up costing you a lot of money if you need the best possible credit score in the near future, such as if you’re going to shop for a mortgage or car loan.
So careful planning is important, in terms of both which card you apply for and when you apply. If you’re rejected for a card, one option is to wait until your credit score rebounds before trying again. And you can track your credit score for free on WalletHub, the only site with free daily updates, to see when that happens. Alternatively, you could apply for a card with lower requirements.
For example, people with limited or damaged credit may want to consider a secured credit card. They require you to make a security deposit that acts as your credit line, and this collateral gives them the highest approval odds of all credit cards. As long as you can fund the deposit and make minimum payments, your chances are decent no matter what your credit score is.
If you’re not approved for a secured card, there are other ways to get your hands on credit. For instance, you can become an authorized user on someone else’s account or try to find a cosigner to apply with.
“Too many” credit cards could be anywhere from 2 to 5 or more, depending on the individual. Everyone should have at least 1 credit card for credit-building purposes, even if they don’t use it to make purchases. But it’s hard to say exactly how many credit cards is too many because the … read full answernumber of cards you should have differs from person to person. It depends on how well you can manage 1 credit card, then 2, and so on.
So while 3 credit cards could be too many for one person, someone else might be able to comfortably manage 6. The average adult has 4 credit cards, according to a 2020 Experian report.
If you’re not sure how many credit cards is too many for you, there are a number of factors you can think about when making your decision. In particular, consider your recent spending and payment history. If you’re having trouble paying the full statement balance by the due date on each account you already have open, think twice about applying for another credit card account.
Here's how to determine how many credit cards is too many for you:
Look at your credit report and score. If you have a history of financial mistakes, such as missed payments, you probably don’t want to get more than one card until you prove yourself to be a responsible borrower. Besides, it may be hard to get more than one worthwhile cards with damaged credit, anyway.
Review your utilization and payment history. If you’re maxing out all the cards you have, credit card companies probably won’t want to give you more spending power. Plus, credit card debt can be very expensive, and you don’t want to rack up balances that exceed what you can repay comfortably.
What does the credit card company think? Some issuers have unofficial rules regarding how many credit cards is too many for an applicant to have. If you have too many cards – either overall, or with that specific card issuer – they may deny your application. There are lots of rumors floating around that Chase will deny a credit card application if you have too many credit cards, for example.
Determine how well you’re keeping track of your credit cards. Even if your credit is good and you’ve never forgotten to pay a bill, that doesn’t mean you never will. Having too many open accounts to keep track of can lead to forgotten due dates, interest charges from simply forgetting to pay a credit card in full, and other issues. If you have trouble listing your credit cards from memory, you’re likely to forget to pay one at some point.
There are benefits to having more than one credit card account. Having several credit cards can help you save money by allowing you to get the best collection of rates and rewards for your biggest transactions. For example, you could get a flat-rate cash back credit card for everyday expenses, a bonus rewards card for travel, and a balance transfer card to reduce the cost of existing debt. Having multiple cards can also help your credit score if you keep your utilization low and your payments on time.
What you should watch out for is applying for too many credit cards too quickly. It’s best to not apply for more than one or two per year, as each application puts a hard inquiry on your credit report and temporarily hurts your credit score.
The more data that’s at your disposal, the easier it will be to decide how many credit cards you should have. WalletHub can help with free daily credit score updates and personalized credit-improvement advice.
Finding the right credit card can be stressful, with so many offers to consider and so much jargon and fine print to decipher. But as long as you follow these simple pointers, you’ll be fine.
Compare credit cards before applying. Otherwise, there’s no way of telling whether you’re getting the best deal. Marketing can be deceiving, after all. … read full answer
Make sure your credit is match. You should only consider applying for a credit card if it matches your credit standing. For example, don’t apply for an excellent-credit credit card if you have fair credit. Getting turned down will only make it harder to get approved the second time around.
Don’t apply in bulk. You should not submit more than a couple credit card applications within a short period of time, as this can lead to a roughly six-month dip in your credit score.
For more tips, check out WalletHub’s guide on finding the right type of credit card for your needs. And for your convenience, here are some benchmarks to consider as you wade your way through the credit card comparison process:
Market Snapshot: 1,000+ Credit Card Offers
You can learn more about the average terms offered by credit cards in popular categories from WalletHub’s latest Credit Card Landscape Report.
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