Q: My husband is always annoyed with me for opening store credit cards. He says that our credit score is going to suffer because of all these cards. I always pay off the balances on them, and we actually save money by receiving special offers with these cards. Is he right or is he just nagging me about my spending?
A: Contrary to what you may think, it isn’t how many credit cards you have but the balances on them. If you have credit card balances that are more than 30% that can hurt your score.
Also, the number of times your credit history is checked can have a negative impact on your credit score. And, each time you open any type of charge account, credit card or otherwise, your credit history is going to be checked. So, if you’re going to apply for a lot of credit cards, do this in a very short period of time. Don’t apply for one card then go back and do the same thing two to six months later. The companies that set the scores will notice this, and will change your credit score to reflect this.
So, again, it’s not how many credit cards you have, but how much you owe and how often you apply for them. But, another reason for not having too many credit cards is that the more you have, the harder it may be to keep up with payments. And, falling behind on just one payment can have an immediate effect on your credit score. Pay off as many of the smaller balances as you can before applying for a new card.