Most of us have a credit and/or debit card to carry out our daily operations. Thus, for example, Spain has 46 million inhabitants, of which some 35 million are of legal age. Do you know how many cards circulate in our country? Approximately 70 million, of which 45 are credit and 25 debits.
In other words, it comes out to about two cards per adult, on average (it should be taken into account that many young people and the elderly do not have any, so, in practice, the average number of cards per person is higher).
Owning a card can provide us with various advantages (although, as we will see, we must also be careful with the inconveniences that they can entail).
So, the question we ask ourselves is: if working with one card is advantageous, why not do it with several, and thus take advantage of the advantages of each one? What is the number of cards that we can manage adequately?
Advantages and benefits of having several credits and/or debit cards
Just as it is good to work with more than one bank, having several cards can be advantageous.
Some people do not like to have credit cards because they think they will spend more that way. It is possible that handling cash makes us more conscious when it comes to spending, but paying by card does not necessarily mean that we become compulsive spenders.
As always, we insist on the need to control our money, know what we do and properly manage our finances.
- The positive part is that, if we control our economy well, we can save using a credit card. And if this is the case, we can go a little further and benefit from the use of several cards, since each one will have its advantages.
For example, we can have a card that allows us to access discounts on some purchases and/or in certain stores, which will allow us to obtain additional savings.
- Credit cards allow us to control the spending we make monthly since we can see how much we have spent each month and on what.
This, in addition, makes it easier for us to measure and monitor each type of expense (for example, how much we spend in restaurants, or on fuel).
- They serve us to demonstrate a good credit history. If we make regular use of our card(s) and we have never had problems when paying, and we do not usually defer payments, our record when requesting a loan from a financial institution will be more favorable.
In the United States, this credit history is essential, even to rent an apartment or to get a job (curiously, a couple of years ago former President Obama had his credit card rejected in a restaurant due to lack of use). Although in Spain these extremes are not reached, it can be a point in our favor when negotiating with an entity.
- Having more than one card can be useful when paying, if one of them fails or if a store does not accept a certain type of card (for example, American Express).
- If you regularly travel abroad, you can use one of them for that purpose (it would even be recommended that you travel with more than one, for the same reason explained in the previous point). In this case, you should make sure of the conditions offered by each card abroad, so as not to pay more commissions.
- You can also use one of them for daily payments (which you will pay at the beginning of the following month) and another to carry out financing.
- Also, if we have a mishap with one of them (it breaks down, we lose it, they steal it…) we will have an alternative until we solve it.
- If you are self-employed, you should have at least one person and one “company” card.
Disadvantages of having multiple credit cards
In addition to providing us with all these possibilities, having several credit cards can cause us inconveniences if we are not able to control them properly:
- It can lead to us spending more since we have different credit limits.
- It can cause us to pay more interest if we do not properly control when we pay and with which card we do it (in the case of deferring payments, we should be clear about which card is the cheapest in that regard).
- In the case of cards with a maintenance fee, it can cause us an excessive annual expense for this concept.
How many cards to have?
In practice, this may depend on each person. There will be those who make a mess with more than two, while there are people who can manage four or five without any problem.
As in the case of accounts, having two or three cards can represent a good balance between the advantages we get and the work that controlling them can give us.
For example, a common scheme could be to handle three cards:
- One, the main one (preferably one of the most used, Visa or MasterCard).
- A second card, to use in case the first fails.
- A third, of those are usually issued by businesses, which offer discounts on purchases.