You only need one credit card for good credit because simply having an open credit card account is the most efficient way to build and maintain a good (or even excellent) credit score. But the actual number of credit cards you have doesn’t make up a huge part of your credit score – roughly 5%-10%. The more important factors are your payment history, the total amount of your debts, and the total of your credit limits.
As a result, having fewer credit cards that you use responsibly is better than having more cards yet worse performance. But if you have multiple credit cards and use them all responsibly, by paying your bills in full by the due date every month and not maxing out your credit limits, then having multiple credit cards will absolutely help promote good credit.
Here’s how that works: Multiple credit cards means more total credit. More total credit gives you a bit more leeway with your credit utilization (the amount of credit you’re using vs. the amount extended to you). Utilization – overall and of each credit account separately – makes up about 20% of your credit score, so it’s best to keep that number low. And simply paying your bill on-time makes up about 35%-40% of a good credit score. The more on-time payments you have on your credit report, the better it is for your credit score.
If you’re planning on getting multiple credit cards to boost your credit score, it’s worth considering that the age of your credit accounts makes up roughly 15% of your score. Credit age matters because a longer credit history means you have more experience with credit in general, and lenders have more information to assess when determining your creditworthiness. If you add a few new cards to your history, your score may take a hit because your average credit age will get younger.
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