How many credit cards should you have if you want an excellent credit score? According to Ethan Dornhelm, vice president of FICO Scores and predictive analysis, there's no perfect number.
A credit score is a personal rating that determines the interest you pay for a loan, or whether you qualify for a loan at all. It's calculated based on payment history, how much you owe, your length of credit history, the types of credit you have and how often you apply for new credit.
"The sheer number of credit card accounts that a consumer has is much less important to the FICO Score than how the consumer is managing those accounts," Dornhelm tells CNBC Make It. "Are they paying their bills as agreed? Are they keeping their balances low relative to available credit limits? These actions are the most significant drivers of their FICO Score."
Still, it's useful to consider the wallets of people with great credit. In a recent analysis, FICO found that cardholders with scores above 800 — the excellent range is 750 to 850 — had an average of three open cards, according to Dornhelm. If you include both open and closed accounts, they'd had six cards in total.
Since the number of cards you have can affect your credit score in subtle ways, as well as impact how much you earn with different types of credit card rewards, here are three things to keep in mind when deciding whether to get a new card.