Five Signs You Might Have Too Many Credit Cards

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Last updated on August 24th, 2023

Credit card offers are everywhere – both online and when shopping in-store. You can even get offers when flying, thanks to many airlines offering co-branded cards through major banks like Chase, American Express, Barclays, and others. With so many offers available it can be easy to acquire more credit cards than you need. Here are five tell-tale signs that you might have too many credit cards:

#1: You Struggle to Remember Which Store Cards You Have

One of the easiest ways to tell you currently have too many credit cards is that you can’t recall which stores you actually have some from. Retail credit cards are everywhere – both closed-loop and open-loop. Because so many stores offer credit cards – and ask customers if they’d like to apply in-store for instant rebates – it’s easy to rack up a considerable number of cards.

Having to sort through dozens of cards in your wallet (or even your sock drawer) when purchasing to see if you have a retail companion for that store is frustrating – and a sign of being far too deep into the credit cards rabbit hole. Instead, consider shifting your spending to a general-purpose rewards alternative, such as a cash back or travel card.

#2: You Have Difficulty Keeping Track of Rewards Programs

Do you have multiple rewards cards but struggle to keep track of how those rewards programs operate and where your best redemption values lie? Understanding the best redemption value for rewards can be tricky even with the simplest of rewards programs, so holding too many credit cards can only make matters worse.

#3: The Rewards You Are Earning Aren’t Enough for Redemptions You Want

Similarly, a sure sign of having more credit cards than you need is that some of your cards just don’t provide enough value to make them worthwhile. Most programs require a minimum number of points or cash back before you can redeem, making them difficult to justify for those who simply do not spend enough to cash out.

General travel cards or cash back rewards programs usually don’t have too many issues, as the rewards earned never expire. However, some retail card rewards systems have relatively quick shelf-life, meaning points may expire in a year (or even less).

#4: You Keep Paying Late Payment Fees

Several credit cards means multiple monthly payments (if you use all of them, that is). And multiple payments each month can quickly lead to forgetting to make some payments – and that means late fees and potentially penalty APRs. If you find yourself struggling with late fees, missing payments, or even consistently making payments within the grace period window, you might have too many credit cards.

#5: Banks and Retailers Begin Rejecting Your New Credit Card Applications

Maybe you keep finding your new credit card applications turned down, even though you have a good credit score. Various factors play into how banks and lenders judge creditworthiness, with one factor your seeking of new credit.

Opening many new credit accounts in a short window is a major red flag for banks, as it may indicate you are struggling for money and have an over-reliance on credit. “New credit” accounts for 10% of your FICO Score and a whopping 30% of your VantageScore. So, if your credit card applications are being rejected, it may be a sign that you have far too many cards – and need to take a break from getting more.

Related Article: Here Is What Happens If You Don’t Pay Your Credit Card Bill

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About: Cory Santos
Cory Santos

Cory is the senior credit card editor at BestCards, specializing in everything credit card-related. He’s worked extensively with credit cards and other personal finance topics, including nearly five years at BestCards. Cory’s extensive knowledge is an essential part of the BestCards experience, helping readers to live their best financial lives with up-to-date insights and comprehensive coverage of all facets of the credit card space, including market trends, rewards guides, credit advice, and comprehensive credit card reviews.

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