You may think that having a wallet full of credit cards is just a financial disaster waiting to happen. In fact, if you use the cards wisely, you might actually be building a strong credit report and increasing your credit score. Here’s how to make the most of that pocketful of credit, without burying yourself in debt.

Spread out your applications

You want a low-interest credit card, as well as one that collects movie points and one that rewards you with air miles. That’s fine, but you need to apply for these cards throughout the year. Don’t do multiple applications at once or it will have a negative impact on your credit rating and make lenders think that you are rather desperate for credit. Do your research to choose which cards you need, and then only send in one application every six months or so, until you have them in hand.

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Use your credit wisely

Once you have multiple credit cards in your name, make sure you use each one of them at least every few months or this will impact your credit rating. You have to be extremely disciplined and organized or you might lose track of payments. Monitor your spending on each card every month and make sure your running balance is less than one-third the allowable limit on each card. Put your payment due dates in a calendar on your smartphone or better yet, schedule automatic payments to come out of your bank account. Don’t miss a payment and, as always, try to pay more than the minimum amount required. These tips will help build your credit rating as they show you are a wise user of credit and dependable at paying it back.

Reap the benefits

Having more than one credit card is definitely a source of security and convenience. If you are out of the country and one card isn’t accepted, you can try another. Having a dedicated credit card for online purchases can help you to discover and correct fraud more quickly. When changes are made to your annual percentage rate (APR) on one card, you can use another that is more affordable. Watch for 0% balance transfer deals and move your credit over to a new card if it’s more economical.

Credit is used in every aspect of our society, for security purposes, identification, and convenience. The goal is to carry a few credit cards and spread your spending out over all of them. Keep your balance low or pay them off in full each month. Keep a close eye on any changes to APR and don’t be afraid to switch to a new card if it makes more financial sense. If you can organize yourself so that you are using each card at least every few months, your running balances are low and you never miss a payment, you will be mastering the credit system like a champion.