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Old Aug 12, 11, 11:18 pm   #1
 
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How many cards is too many? [Consolidated]

Hi all,

I just started getting into this sign-up-for-miles credit card game. I was wondering how many cards you normally sign up for at one time. I know too many sign-ups can affect your credit. In the last three months I've signed up for three cards (Amex Aeroplan, Amex SPG, and Chase Marriott), and I still wanted to do the 15K membership rewards Amex as well. Basically, now is a good time for me to apply -- I'm moving to the US for a couple of years and I thought I could get miles here in Canada, then (after building some credit in the US) cancel my Canadian cards and get miles in the US, before returning to Canada and signing up for the same cards again (and hopefully get the bonuses again).

I have tip-top credit so I would think a few more credit pulls shouldn't matter? (Actually, I got a credit report today and while Chase pulled my credit, there does not appear to be any record from Amex at all). Would anyone have any idea?

Thanks for your help. This really is a wonderful forum.
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Old Aug 13, 11, 2:04 pm   #2
mia
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Originally Posted by mabramovich View Post
I got a credit report today and while Chase pulled my credit, there does not appear to be any record from Amex at all).
There are three nationwide credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Most card issuers report accounts to all three, but typically they only pull reports from one bureau per application. If the American Express inquiries do not appear on one report they probably did not use that agency on that occasion.
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Old Aug 14, 11, 12:12 pm   #3
 
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When you sign up cards, you d better do several on the same day. The inquiries remain on the reports for 2 years, but only affect your credit scores for 6 months. So do a bunch at a time, wait 6 months and do another bunch - this will minimize the damage of opening new cards. In theory, it does not matter how many cards you open, since their effect on credit scores will be zero after 6 months. However, each credit card issuers will have a limit of how many active cards you have with them. There is no clear policy, but you can get an idea from other people's experience. Also note that some creditors do not rely solely on credit scores, they may factor in other things on your credit reports. Having too many inquiries within the recent 2 years MAY affect your chance of getting approved.
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Old Aug 14, 11, 1:42 pm   #4
 
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Lol I don't know how people keep track of all these credit cards. I only have three accounts, and have had them since the early 80s. (Actually the PC Mastercard I opened in 2000-something)
To the OP.. Don't cancel your Canadian credit cards.. When I worked [I never officially established a residence] in the US, I relied solely on my Canadian cards (more specifically, my AMEX). If your intention is to return to Canada, don't cancel the cards.. You can do business in the US just fine... Many banks cater to Canadians (RBC, Harris, and TD are some)..
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Old Mar 4, 12, 6:58 am   #5
 
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How many cards is too many?

As the title implies, how many is generally considered too many, when talking about credit scores and maintaining a good one? How long should one generally keep a card open before closing it, if ever? Any tips on how to manage the knock on my score from applying so much lately? Bellow is a list of my current cards, with their age and status:

Amex Platinum - 10 years - daily card
Discover - 3 years - balance w/ 0% finance
Citi Platinum - 3 years - no use / balance
Barclay's - 1 year - closed 2 months ago
HSBC - 1 year - balance w/ 0% finance
Chase Sapphire - 3 weeks
Citi AAdvantage x 2 - 1 day
Barclay US Airways - 1 day

Any input is appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Mar 4, 12, 7:35 am   #6
 
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Rule of thumb with credit cards is as few as possible. I highly suspect if you ran you FICO score, you already will be flagged for too many cards as I have seen FICO scored flagged for even less cards. It is easy to fix, by cancelling your cards down to 2.

The other important thing to do is not go over 50% of your credit limit on your cards. If you need more credit and have paid on time, most credit card company will up your limits. If you cancel you other cards, they also will up your credit limits because you have lowered you outstanding total credit.
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Old Mar 4, 12, 9:35 am   #7
 
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There is no such thing as too many. The more I've added over the years the higher my FICO scores have gone. The effect of new accounts on FICO scores is temporary and will be outweighed by the positive effects of an aging tradeline.
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Old Mar 4, 12, 10:01 am   #8
 
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Originally Posted by camhabib View Post
As the title implies, how many is generally considered too many, when talking about credit scores and maintaining a good one?
First, #1 is pay on time. Never miss a payment.

The number of cards with activity may be more important than the total number, up to a point. If you have some larger number of cards but only show a balance on 2 cards that's different than showing balances on all.

A note on 'showing a balance': Even if you pay it all off when you get your bill, you will show a balance carried. If you pay a day before your card closes, then you probably would show zero balance.

Cards with no activity may be closed by the issuer. It's probably better if you close them yourself, or charge something every 6 months and pay it off to make sure card stays open.

1% to 9% is the target per card and total for a balance to carry for best score. Over 10% isn't the end of the world, but 90% isn't going to help.

Quote:
How long should one generally keep a card open before closing it, if ever?
The longer you have an account, the more it helps your Average Age of Account. So don't close the AMEX; if for some reason you must, you should try and convert it to a gold or green.

Also, on the charge cards, the more you have, the lower your total revolving utilization is. Example: you have $2000 outstanding on $10,000 total credit. If you did nothing else but ask for Credit Line Increases (CLI) say to $22,000 total credit, you'd reduce your utilization from 20% to just under 10%. (The CLI's would generate hard pulls, which would low your score, but the reduction in utilization could raise your overall score.)

Any new creditor could be nervous if you have too much credit relative to your income, and may decline you for that reason, and not your score. This would be a reason to close accounts, but some folks suggest you don't do this until you've actually been turned down. It could be also something to analyze before you apply for a real estate mortgage.

Your score matters when you want to apply for new credit. If you want to be able to jump on a hot deal, you want your credit report to be show you're worthy. If you're not planning on any new credit in the short term, then just pay on time and let your accounts age.
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Old Mar 4, 12, 11:24 am   #9
 
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Originally Posted by GatorTravel View Post
Rule of thumb with credit cards is as few as possible. I highly suspect if you ran you FICO score, you already will be flagged for too many cards as I have seen FICO scored flagged for even less cards. It is easy to fix, by cancelling your cards down to 2.

The other important thing to do is not go over 50% of your credit limit on your cards. If you need more credit and have paid on time, most credit card company will up your limits. If you cancel you other cards, they also will up your credit limits because you have lowered you outstanding total credit.
I'm sorry GatorTravel, but your comments about only having 2 cards is false!

The OP has 8 credit cards, of which 7 are actually open accounts. You actually want to have multiple credit cards because this INCREASES your credit score. While you will initially take a hit when you apply for new cards (because of the inquiry and the lower average age of accounts), having more available credit (as long as you pay your bills on-time and don't charge up too much of your credit limit) shows creditors that you are responsible with your finances and that other institutions are willing to give you credit.
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Old Mar 4, 12, 2:31 pm   #10
 
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And keep in mind, Biz cards don't count on your credit score AS LONG AS you actually have a legit business with an EIN, and don't use your Social in your app.
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Old Mar 4, 12, 2:38 pm   #11
 
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Having worked in the industry, I have seen FICO scores over 800 with very little credit depth to them...maybe two items, that's all.

I also have seen credit reports 4 pages long, yet again they had good credit scores.

The key to a decent credit score is a combination of things, but the most important are:
1. Pay all bills on time, all the time.
2. Don't run up debt quickly. The scoring algorithms realize when someone is running up debt quickly (and it does not really matter if you are using one or several credit sources to do that)
3. Don't over utilize your limits.
4. Don't sign up for small fry credit cards just to get some discount or spiff. Stick to the main players. (that is not neccessarily going to lower your score, but for many types of credit a set of human eyeballs still look at the report..and they don't like to see low grade credit cards (bottom feeding discount stores, jewellery stores and the like)
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Old Mar 4, 12, 3:05 pm   #12
 
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In January, my son got a jewelry store CC, saved $400 on his fiancee's engagement ring, and will now never use it again. From a "keep my credit score high" standpoint, should he keep the card (~4K CL) or close it?
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Old Mar 4, 12, 5:39 pm   #13
 
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Originally Posted by reft View Post
Also, on the charge cards, the more you have, the lower your total revolving utilization is.
I do not see a credit limit on my charge card, where do you on yours?

Quote:
Originally Posted by reft View Post
Any new creditor could be nervous if you have too much credit relative to your income, and may decline you for that reason, and not your score.
[/quote]

Creditor issuing credit cards does not verify your income other than what you put on the application. So if it is higher than what the application says the minimum required, then no problem. No application indicates that too much credit is the reason for not approving the new card.

If low utilization is good, then large credit limit can not be bad.
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Old Mar 4, 12, 5:41 pm   #14
 
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Originally Posted by GatorTravel View Post
Rule of thumb with credit cards is as few as possible. I highly suspect if you ran you FICO score, you already will be flagged for too many cards as I have seen FICO scored flagged for even less cards. It is easy to fix, by cancelling your cards down to 2.

The other important thing to do is not go over 50% of your credit limit on your cards. If you need more credit and have paid on time, most credit card company will up your limits. If you cancel you other cards, they also will up your credit limits because you have lowered you outstanding total credit.
You are wrong on all points. If you have no idea regarding this subject why provide erroneous comments.
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Old Mar 4, 12, 5:52 pm   #15
 
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Originally Posted by reft View Post


Also, on the charge cards, the more you have, the lower your total revolving utilization is.

Any new creditor could be nervous if you have too much credit relative to your income, and may decline you for that reason, and not your score.
Good points other than the two above which are more YMMV.

Charge cards do not affect utilization the same way credit cards do. I've never had charge card balances effect my FICO scores deleteriously. They are not reported as revolving credit.

We have over 800K in available credit on credit cards and no creditor -- credit card, auto lender or mortgage -- has ever raised an issue.
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