3 Reasons to Have Multiple Credit Cards

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Many Americans  became rather credit shy after the Great Recession, believing that using credit cards would only lead to more debt and eventual financial ruin.

While there is certainly an argument to be made about limiting your credit options, Ken Lin, CEO of CreditKarma.com, points out that there are advantages to having more than one credit card in your payment arsenal.

“Many financially responsible people can see the benefits to having several cards,” Lin says. He explains that a higher number of credit card accounts can actually lead to a higher credit score, provided that they’re used responsibly.

But it’s more than just your score that stands to gain. Here are some other ways that having multiple credit cards can make your life easier. 

Financial peace of mind. Lin explains that having a second card stored away somewhere can offer a consumer peace of mind should his or her wallet get stolen or credit card account get hacked, since it would mean an alternative payment option at his or her disposal while waiting for a compromised card to be replaced by the issuer.

“Sometimes, things go wrong,” Lin says. “Having a backup credit card stored safely at home gives you crucial flexibility.”

Security while traveling. A second credit card can come in handy when traveling, since many credit card companies make a habit of flagging a card for fraud when any unusual purchases, such as those happening overseas or simply far from home, show up unexpectedly. Even if you told your bank beforehand that you would be traveling, it’s possible that overseas purchases will get flagged anyway.

“Banks will temporarily freeze the credit card until everything is sorted out, which can take time,” Lin says. “This can cause problems if you’re traveling and are trying to pay for essentials, such as a hotel room or a meal. In this instance, having another card can make your trip go more smoothly.”

Split bill payments. According to Lin, a giant payment on a single card at the end of each month can be daunting, especially if the bill’s due date doesn’t coincide with your paycheck. Having multiple accounts can help reduce stress since you can pay out smaller bills over a longer period of time.

“Having multiple credit cards allows you to divide and stagger your bill payments so they match other bill cycles, offering more financial wiggle room,” Lin says.

Credit cards also offer better protection than debit cards if your card is stolen or a mistake on it is made. You can find out how you are protected in MainStreet’s breakdown of how to deal with debit card fraud.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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