Pop quiz: Residents of which major U.S. city have the highest average monthly credit card balance?
It's not New York. New Yorkers hold more open cards than folks in any other U.S. metropolitan area, but don't have the highest average monthly balance to show for it. A new study from Experian shows that out of the top 20 U.S. metropolitan areas, Phoenix residents own the fewest number of open credit cards, with an average of 2.78 cards, while New Yorkers have the highest number, with an average of 3.77 cards. Yet people in Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio, owe the most on revolving accounts, with an average balance of $6,753 and $6,734, respectively. San Francisco residents have the lowest average monthly balance, at $5,323.
Experian researchers also found that in most of the cities studied, the number of open bank credit cards exceeded that of store cards, except for Pittsburgh, Miami, Columbus and Atlanta residents.
Should you have more than one credit card?
In the study, city dwellers had three to four open cards on average. Yet is it smart to own more than one credit card?
There are several reasons why it makes sense to carry multiple credit cards, such as having a backup in case one card isn't accepted, or to benefit from several credit card rewards programs. You also might be glad to have other cards should one issuer close down your account or slash your credit limit. In addition, having unused credit cards helps lower your debt-to-limit ratio, which can boost your credit score.
Then again, having more than one card means keeping track of additional due dates, fees and balances. Having so much available credit can also create temptation to spend, so having more than one card isn't for the fiscally irresponsible.
How many cards are in your wallet? Share your opinion on how many is too many.
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