Which Americans hold the most credit cards? [2024 Data Study]

Almost all financial experts agree that having at least one credit card is an important financial tool. However, the question of how many cards a person should carry is more complicated. According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the vast majority of cardholders (about 69%) hold between 2 and 8 cards. In contrast, only 26% have just 1 credit card and only 6% have 9 or more cards.

If managed correctly, having multiple credit cards can have practical and financial benefits. An extra card can come in handy if one is lost or needs to be canceled, and having multiple lines of credit available can be helpful when unexpected expenses arise. Today, most credit card companies also offer benefits to their cardholders to help motivate credit card usage.this means Cardholders can maximize cash back on certain spending categories on one card while accumulating travel rewards points on another card. However, holding multiple cards can also pose risks if the cardholder is not careful.

Disadvantages of having a lot of credit cards

Cardholders with more than nine cards are more likely to spend more than they earn and have trouble paying their bills.Image source: Upgrade Points

Tracking balances, card limits, and billing cycles across multiple cards can be challenging. If cardholders can't keep up with how much they spend on each card, fees and interest rates can quickly add up and add to their debt load. Additionally, the process of opening multiple accounts requires a rigorous credit check, which may adversely affect an applicant's credit score and may result in lower interest rates in the future.

Additionally, increased availability of credit may encourage individuals to overspend. Compared to all cardholders, People with at least 9 cards are more likely to spend more than they earn (31.6% vs. 18.2%) and more likely to have significant difficulty paying bills (14.5% vs. 7.5%). These challenges often heighten people’s sense of financial vulnerability. According to the same FINRA survey, Cardholders with nine or more cards are approximately 1.5 times more likely to feel anxious about their financial situation Twice as likely to think they have too much debt.

Number of credit cards by age and gender

Young men are most likely to hold a large number of credit cards.Image source: Upgrade Points

The propensity to hold a large number of credit cards varies by demographic group, with younger people holding the most frequently. especially, 10.8% of men and 9.4% of women aged 18 to 24 hold more than 9 credit cards respectively, exceeding the national level of 6%. In contrast, Less than 4% of adults 55 and older hold more than nine cards.

While men are generally more likely to hold a large number of credit cards, this trend is driven by the under-55 age group.

States with the most credit cards

Most Credit Cards Infographic
Residents of the Southeast and Nevada hold the most credit cards.Image source: Upgrade Points

The proportion of cardholders with a large number of credit cards also varies by geography. Generally speaking, southern states tend to have a higher proportion of adults with more than nine credit cards. Louisiana (8.8%), Florida (8.4%), and Texas (8.3%) leads among Southern states, Nevada (8.5%) is also among the highest in the country.States with the fewest residents holding cards include Michigan, idahoand west virginia.

Here's a complete breakdown of credit card holdings by residents in all 50 states. This analysis was conducted by Upgraded Points using data from FINRA. See the Methods section below for more information.


This study used data from the FINRA Foundation's 2021 National Financial Capability Study (NFCS) and Experian's average state-by-state FICO scores. To determine the states with the most credit cards among residents, researchers at Upgraded Points calculated the percentage of cardholders with nine or more credit cards. In the event of a tie, states with a higher percentage of cardholders with 13 or more credit cards will be ranked higher. The Credit Cards Per Person data field is an estimate of the median number of credit cards held by each cardholder based on available grouping frequency data.

final thoughts

Financial experts agree that having at least one credit card is a valuable financial tool. However, the optimal number of cards to carry varies from person to person. Most cardholders hold 2 to 8 credit cards, 26% hold only 1 card, and only 6% hold 9 or more cards. Having multiple credit cards can provide a variety of benefits, such as backup options if a card is lost or canceled and the ability to maximize rewards in different spending categories. However, managing multiple cards can come with challenges, including tracking balances and billing cycles, which can lead to increased debt and financial stress.

Cardholders with nine or more credit cards face a greater risk of overspending and financial hardship. These people are more likely to make ends meet and have trouble paying their bills. Young people, especially those aged 18 to 24, are more likely to hold nine or more credit cards than older people. Additionally, the number of credit cards held varies by geography, with southern states such as Louisiana and Texas having a higher proportion of residents with nine or more credit cards.

refer to

1. FINRA Investor Education Foundation. (2024). Measuring America's financial capabilities Retrieved April 20, 2024, from https://www.finrafoundation.org/knowledge-we-gain-share/nfcs.

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