When it comes to credit cards, there’s no magic number you can have or blanket rules that will suit everyone.
For some people, having even one credit card may mean there’s too much temptation to spend, while others may like having several which they can use for different purposes – such as earning credit card reward points or taking advantage of a special offer.
What’s most important is how your credit cards help you manage debt and build your credit score.
That said, there are some factors that can help you make the decision about whether or not another credit card is a good idea.
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Credit cards can help build your credit history
If you haven’t borrowed before, it can be difficult for lenders to tell how likely you are to repay debts. Having a credit card or loan and meeting your repayments can help build your credit score by proving you’re reliable.
Credit cards can let you access extra funds, which can be helpful
Each credit card will have its own credit limit, which means that you’ll have that money available should you need to spend it. This can give you confidence that if something (costly) happens you’ll be able to handle it. However, if possible, it’s a good idea to build an emergency fund to give you this added security.
Keep in mind, the more funds you have available the more temptation you may have to spend. It’s important to consider that before applying for any new credit card.
You don't want to have too many credit cards
When making a decision about whether to accept your application for a credit card or a loan, a lender may look at how much credit you already have available. If you have multiple credit cards, they may look at the total limit on all of the credit cards combined rather than just the money you’ve borrowed. If you have multiple credit cards that are unused, this may also raise some questions and potentially impact your credit score.
Managing multiple repayments can be tough
If you borrow money on multiple credit cards, you’ll have to make multiple monthly repayments. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it may increase the chance of you forgetting one.
Before taking out a new credit card, think about your current situation. Do you find making repayments time consuming or overwhelming? If so, it may not be a good idea to add another repayment. Or are you comfortable with the way you manage your money? If that’s the case, adding a credit card may not have much of an impact.
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The right answer will depend on your circumstances and also your money habits. Some good questions to ask yourself can be:
why do you want the card?
what will the benefit be?
will it make managing money harder?
will you be tempted to spend more?
Get to know what a rewards credit card can offer you, and how much it could cost you to use one.
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Get to know the differences between the main types of credit cards and how they could match your needs.
This document is issued by HSBC, Sri Lanka and is intended for reference and illustrative purposes only. It does not constitute an offer or advice for you to purchase from or otherwise enter into a transaction with HSBC.
Please note you should make your own independent assessment prior to opting for any product or using the product.