How many cards?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/25/2008 - 18:59

I am working on rebuilding my credit. 2 years ago I opened 4 small "rebuilder" cards with balances from 250 to 500. Since then I have opened 3 more carefully, but now I have 7 cards with balances from 300 to 800. I have just taken a second job whose proceeds are 100% to pay off all revolving debt (my score is stuck until I get my balances lower). So my question is do I close the 3 lowest balanced cards? or keep them all just paid down? I worry that leaving them open will be a temptation to charge them up again.

You can tear the card up but keep the accounts, if you don't have the cards you would not be as tempted to use them. Why do you have 7 cards, this is not good, you should not have this many. Maybe you should go ahead and close a few, but tear them up in the meantime so that you don't use them while trying to pay them off.

Fri, 01/25/2008 - 19:25 Permalink
Ism (not verified)

I ended up with 7 because I know higher limits are better, so when I would be offered a card with a higher limit I would take it to boost that portion, and then I thought that having so much available credit was good, but I am getting nickeled and dimed to death with charges and fees (not late or overlimit, just yearly fees, etc).

Hrmm I think I just talked myself into cancelling most of them. Maybe my question should be what is a good number of revolving tradelines to have open? Maybe I should concentrate on the 2 best cards rate wise and just keep those?

Fri, 01/25/2008 - 19:48 Permalink

Welcome to the forum ISM, you say that you are working two jobs, can I entice you to register here, as you post you will earn money, money that you can put towards that credit card debt. Just click the log in button and tell it you are a new user, you may as well make a few dollars while you are here posting.

any way, back to the subject at hand, you have pretty much answered your own question sounds about right. You must be paying an absurd amount to these companies of fees. You really need to lay it all in front of you and see which is the best two cards to fit your needs and get rid of the rest.

No matter what the temptation is while you are paying them off, do not use them. Excellent advise from lunchtime, tear the cards up and then you won't have them in your wallet to use. It is a struggle to get your credit back in shape after having a set back, but you can do it, a lot of people have, they have survived and come out with better scores and ratings. It takes some time. Be patient. You are doing a great job.

Fri, 01/25/2008 - 23:31 Permalink

Hi Ism, I really feel your topic. I had just recently recieved a credit card to use for gas to back from work and its just too easy to use. I really have to keep self control not to spend on other things that I really really really need. I do not know how I got through the times before I had a credit card but somehow I did (I suppose it was my parents that I would have to ask). It feels real nice not to have to ask others for cash but at the same time I am worried that I will spend more than I can keep up with. So, I basically use a journal to jot down all of my transactions which keeps my spending in perspective and it has worked for me thus far. No more credit cards for the both of us ha! Take Care

Sat, 01/26/2008 - 03:20 Permalink

Hello Ism,

Our problem is we get panicky once things start going wrong. Too many cards are okay if you can maintain them in a proper way. Keeping the balances low is the best way to maintain many cards at the same time keeping your rate low as well.

However in you case 7 cards is too much because you are having problem in paying even the yearly fees. I would do what lunchtime has mentioned. Closing down accounts might affect your credit. So for now you can keep them without using. For all the other cards keep the balance low at around 10% of the credit limit. This pays off pretty well.

Sat, 01/26/2008 - 05:17 Permalink

I like the jotting it down and in your case with 7 cards that would be a good idea. You may be better off seeing if you can get a loan to pay them all off and building credit by paying the loan payments on time, it may be the cheaper route for you at this time.

If you have been working on your credit for a while, this should not be a problem getting a loan, if you tell them it is for debt consolidation and they see that you have been keeping up with the payments and the yearly fees, they may offer you a better rate than when you add up everything that you are paying for the seven cards.

Sit down and jot out everything that you are paying on them and see if a loan may be a better choice and if you think that you would qualify alone, if not, can you get a co signer?

Mon, 01/28/2008 - 11:47 Permalink
Ism (not verified)

Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I know what I need to do, I think I just wanted some reassurance. It's not always easy to look at your own finances impartially!

I am going to lay it all out tonight, figure out which cards are best for me in regards to fees and rates, then cut up the rest to pay off and close. I think I was so focused on trying to have a high limit on a card I lost sight of the goal, which is to be able to show I am responsible to potential lenders, which will lead to the limits I want.

I will let you know the results!

Mon, 01/28/2008 - 20:28 Permalink

Personally, I would try to avoid keeping a balance, but I would make an effort to use a couple of cards once a month for small purchases, and pay them off immediately. While I would try to keep the higher limit cards, I would also try to keep cards that had the highest balances carried in the past.

Mon, 01/28/2008 - 21:29 Permalink

I also think 3-5 is a better number than 2...unless you have to pay annual fees; those cards are junkers.

Mon, 01/28/2008 - 21:34 Permalink

I'm in a debate with my husband. We have one card with high limit we use for everday stuff (and pay off each and every month). But I have bad credit and I have one small ($300) credit limit card, one small business credit card ($3000), and a Mervyn's card ($300). All get paid off each month, if used at all. So my question is.... am I right in wanted to keep what I have open and under control, or is he right, wanting to close all but the main one, credit score wise?

Wed, 01/30/2008 - 23:24 Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

You can build your credit without paying interest, just use a card for gas and things you normally buy and pay in full every month.

Thu, 01/31/2008 - 00:36 Permalink

Suprtlchk, I would have to side with you, not your husband. Each additional card means additional monthly payments, and these are all calculated in your FICO. Age of accounts is another factor...

Thu, 01/31/2008 - 01:07 Permalink

I would look at your cards and only keep the ones that have "benefits" and close the rest of them.

Fri, 02/01/2008 - 15:37 Permalink

never have more than three cards and never i meqn never run them to the limit. that will make bad credit.

Sat, 02/02/2008 - 23:37 Permalink

I think you have way too many, you should get rid of like 6 of them.

Sun, 02/03/2008 - 15:51 Permalink

It can really boost your score if you have many cards but maintain it well. But for the time being manage the ones you have.

Mon, 02/04/2008 - 11:07 Permalink


It is of course very good if the card has been paid off but a card which is being used and maintained has more value.

Hi Ism,

If you want to close down any card by choice, close a new one which is not being used. The effect on your credit score will be lesser. Do not spoil your credit history by canceling old cards.

Tue, 02/05/2008 - 05:37 Permalink
working (not verified)

I have 8 credit cards, 2 of them I have had for 5 years and each is $300.00 and then I started getting offers with more money and that is how I ended up with these other cards. If I close the new cards, this would affect my credit score right? What should I do? I had debt problem and kept maxing the cards and now I am paying them off and I am working hard on that. What should I do, keep the cards or close some of the cards. I want to buy a house in the future.

Mon, 03/03/2008 - 20:20 Permalink

From all I have learned in the past couple of weeks, ask yourself a couple questions first. Is your immediate goal raising your credit score? or are you looking 2 years out at buying a house? Credit cards are only good for your score if they are empty. If you can't make the payments and keep them empty, then close a couple and leave the highest limit ones open and work on keeping those balances low.

You have to be honest with yourself - if you have 8 cards available, are you going to be able to NOT use them? If you pay off and close a couple, your score will drop in the short term, but as the balances fall on the remaining ones, and hopefully the limits increase, your score will go up too.

Mon, 03/03/2008 - 21:20 Permalink
Alkaraker (not verified)

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Tue, 12/04/2012 - 11:40 Permalink