The generation is looking for cards that offer more rewards

The youngest generation that can open a credit card hasn’t figured out how many they should have.

Out of the millennials who have plastic, 48 percent have two or more cards, says a survey from student loan refinancer LendEDU. On the bright side, the number of them who have credit card debt is at its lowest point since 1989.

“One credit card is great, two is fine, three is acceptable, and anything more than four is arguably too many for a young adult,” the study says.

Those who are looking for cards want better perks and higher limits for their spending. Instead, they’re not using them — and proving that too many credit cards could hurt them long term.

Knowing what they want

When it comes to opening a second card, millennials have their reasons. Those include:

  • 34 percent wanted to get better rewards or cashback
  • 32 percent wanted a higher credit limit
  • 10 percent were doing a balance transfer to get a better interest rate
  • 10 percent wanted a new sign-up bonus
  • 15 percent said it was for another reason

In general, 69 percent who initially opened a card wanted it to establish credit, while 15 percent wanted some type of reward program tied to it.

“This [wanting to build credit history] is an excellent reason to have a credit card,” the study says. “You can never be too young to start building credit, and a strong credit score will pay dividends later on in life when you need an auto loan or a mortgage.”

And more millennials are trying to get second cards that fit their respective needs. In 2014, only six percent had two or more cards, says Bankrate. Now, the 24 percent who do are looking for better rewards.

On top of this, it looks like millennials may be influenced by their parents’ financial habits. They’re catching up to their older counterparts, as 39 percent of people over 50 had two or more cards.

A short-term mindset

While millennials may be getting some perks in the here and now, it’s not helping them out in the long run.

For those looking to build a credit history, they could use only 30 percent of their balance every month. This avoids damaging their credit score and the remaining balance is saved for any financial troubles. Instead, 36 percent have maxed out their card before, which means they’re missing out on having more spending power.

By opening more than one card, millennials are messing with their credit scores. A major part of a credit score besides paying bills on time is credit history, including average age of your accounts, which would be negatively affected by several new cards. Using their accounts for longer would provide a better credit boost than a new card.

If you’re in the market for your first card but are unsure where to start, here are six of the best cards when it comes to building credit. And if you open too many cards, you can always get help with fixing your credit.

Meet the Author

Ryan Lynch

Ryan Lynch


Lynch is a freelance writer for

Credit & Debt

budgeting, credit card debt, credit cards, credit score, millennials

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Article last modified on August 31, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Are Millennials Opening Too Many Credit Cards? - AMP.