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Two Credit Cards are Better than One, But More Isn't Always Better

Don't have "too many credit cards." There are good reasons to have at least two credit cards, but some people collect a stack of cards, including those from stores and oil companies, several of which they rarely use. One problem with having a lot of credit cards is that lenders look at the ones with no existing balance or a very low balance and conclude that you have the potential to use them and get into debt. Even if you've proven in the past to be a responsible user of credit, these "extra" cards could come back to haunt you the next time you apply for a mortgage or other loan. Example: You have several credit cards and the combined outstanding balance on them is $15,000 below your credit limit. Then you apply for a home loan. The mortgage lender may question your ability to repay both a mortgage and $15,000 worth of new purchases on your credit cards. And, your overall credit score can suffer, resulting in the lender charging you a higher interest rate or denying the loan altogether.
One solution is to cancel the credit cards you rarely or never use, preferably well before you apply for another loan. Start by closing your newer credit card accounts -- that's because your credit score can be lowered if your credit history appears shorter than it really is. Another option is to ask your card issuers to reduce your credit limit.