How many credit cards do you have in your wallet or purse? Zero? Two? Ten?
A few years ago, I discovered that I had over ten open credit card accounts at the age of twenty five. I had two Discover cards, three Citi cards, two MBNA cards (now Bank of America), and three American Express cards (one personal, one business, and one corporate). I had opened more than one credit card a year since eighteen, which is the earliest you can usually get a credit card on your own (minors can't be bound to legally binding contracts on their own), and it was far too many.
They each served a purpose back when I opened them. Several offered 0 percent balance transfer offers that I could arbitrage with a high yield savings account, back when they yielded 5 percent. The corporate credit card was for work and the business one helped organize my business finances. Each had a purpose but several had outlived that purpose.
I kept them because I saw no harm in having a lot of cards. I was also always told that your FICO credit score is negatively affected if you closed an account. If keeping them didn't hurt and closing them did, I might as well keep them right? Fast forward to today and I now carry three cards (two American Express, one Citi), with one card locked away (my oldest credit card, a Discover card).
Why did I close the other accounts? Simplicity. How do you close accounts while minimizing the damage? On the Citi cards, I consolidated my lines of credit into the oldest of the accounts (which happens to have the best rewards), the card I carry now. The others, I ignored the credit score advice and closed them anyway.
I already purchased a home, I had a car, and I didn't anticipate needing a new loan anytime soon. I figured that as long as I kept my credit utilization low, through consolidation and strategic credit line increases, I'd be OK. Today, my credit card finances are simpler, my credit score barely noticed, and I don't have ten credit cards.