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How Many Credit Cards Do Most People Have in Their Wallets?

On average, individuals carry about three credit cards, balancing rewards and credit management. This number reflects a mix of personal preference and financial strategy, ensuring flexibility and security in spending. But the "right" number varies by person. What does your wallet say about your financial habits? Join us as we examine what your credit card count reveals.
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman

The question of how many credit cards you should have in your wallet is a knotty problem without a clear-cut answer. Approximately 82% of U.S. adults have at least one credit card, and some have many more. According to figures provided by Experian, the average American has 3.84 credit cards and has an average credit limit of around $30,000 across all of their cards.

However, there are significant variations based on age, location, income, and other factors. For example, among the members of Generation Z old enough to have credit cards, the average is 2.1 cards per person. Millennials have an average of 3.4 cards, while Generation X and Baby Boomers have an average of 4.4 and 4.6 cards, respectively. Individuals born before 1946 have an average of 3.4 credit cards.

While the average American has 3.84 credit cards, the number you should have ultimately depends on your personal circumstances.
While the average American has 3.84 credit cards, the number you should have ultimately depends on your personal circumstances.

Most experts agree that having a credit card can be a helpful tool for building credit, receiving consumer protection, accessing emergency funds, and earning rewards for purchases such as fuel, airline tickets, and groceries. However, this depends on being able to keep up with monthly payments to avoid getting saddled with fees and interest (especially as the average credit card interest rate is now a whopping 20.53%). For some people, having multiple credit cards may make it difficult to keep track of payments. In certain cases, it may be better to have no credit cards at all and eliminate the temptation to overspend.

Swipe, swipe, swipe:

  • All of this may seem obvious, but the average American carries around $5,733 in credit card debt. In fact, credit card debt in the U.S. recently reach a record high earlier this year, surpassing $1 trillion for the first time ever.

  • As long as you use them responsibly, your credit score shouldn’t suffer in the long run from having multiple credit cards. Having multiple cards may ultimately boost your credit score if this helps reduce your credit utilization ratio.

  • Keep in mind that applying for a new credit card will lead to a “hard inquiry” on your credit report. Doing this too many times, especially if you are denied, can damage your credit score, at least temporarily.

Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...

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    • While the average American has 3.84 credit cards, the number you should have ultimately depends on your personal circumstances.
      By: gpointstudio
      While the average American has 3.84 credit cards, the number you should have ultimately depends on your personal circumstances.