Two credit cards?

Question: I use only a single credit card. Another card that I paid off has sent me a new card to renew this account. I have only a small savings account and not a lot in investments. Should I renew this card even though it will carry a zero balance just to have the credit available - just in case...? Jeanette, Shawanese, PA

Answer: I basically believe that most people don't need more than one credit card for their personal finances. However, if you are self-employed or have some kind of side business you also should have a business card. But for personal use one is enough. So, I don't see any reason to keep it now that you have gone through all the hard work of paying it off.

Now, not everyone in the financial advice business agrees with me on this approach. A good number might recommend keeping it open since closing the account might nick your credit score. Still, my own sense is that sensible money management is developing good financial habits and carrying an extra credit card around isn't worth it.

Instead, I'd focus on building up your savings account. By the way, I know that sentence on savings is much easier to write than it's to actually accomplish. But it's the right focus to take.

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.

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