Money Confessions: I Have 16 Credit Cards But I’m Not In Debt

Denise Bay

Denise Bay

Last updated 25 March, 2022

Real stories about money from real people. Money Confessions, a SingSaver series, will excite you, inspire you, and leave you wishing to get financially woke.

How many credit cards should you have? Is it bad to have many credit cards? Find out how our interviewee manages 16 credit cards like an ace. 

How many credit cards should a person have? To be frank, the answer is different for each individual, and the ideal number for you may not be the same for someone else. This figure can also change as your finances, spending, and savviness evolve. 

I own 16 credit cards, but I'm not in debt

1. What made me get so many different credit cards?

Singapore banks’ proactive offering of cards is the key reason why I have so many credit cards. It was much harder to acquire credit cards when I was living in the US. Things are more straightforward here, and Singapore banks are pretty aggressive in offering cards. 

2. Do I have plans to get more credit cards?

This depends on the card benefits, really. Any potential new credit card that I add to my wallet should offer benefits that I currently don’t already enjoy.

I used to hold more than 20 credit cards, but I’ve taken the liberty to rebalance my credit card portfolio. For example, I cancelled the OCBC Cashflo Credit card as it started to charge processing fees for my insurance premium instalment payments

3. How do I keep track of my credit cards & expenses?

Foremost, I do not indulge in making extravagant purchases. I typically use one to two primary credit cards, and most of my cards have statement due dates at the end of the month — this makes it easier when it comes to credit card housekeeping matters.

In case you’re wondering, I don’t GIRO my credit card bills. It’s just easier for me to avoid the credit card annual fees and more convenient in the case of payment disputes. 

4. Do I pay the annual fees for my credit cards? 

No. The only exception is the American Express Platinum Card, despite its hefty annual fee of S$1,712. The benefits pay for themselves. 

5. How do I decide which card to use for which purchase?

It all depends on the purpose of the expense. I know my cards really well. Hence, I am able to maximise my credit card rewards. Case in point, I use my American Express True Cashback Card to top up my GrabPay account as it is the only card that gives me cashback for this purpose. Thereafter, I’d use GrabPay for my dining expenses, further earning GrabRewards points. 

I also make it a point to check out SingSaver’s promotions and deals articles, such as the ones on Klook promo codes, Lazada promo codes, Foodpanda promo codes, GrabFood promo codes etc. 

For groceries, I’d reach for SCB Unlimited Credit Card, Citi Cash Back+ Card and American Express True Cashback Card. As I shop at NTUC FairPrice regularly, I’d pair it with the NTUC Plus! card to earn LinkPoints.   

As I travel a lot with my wife, the two travel credit cards that I reach for include the Citi Prestige Card and American Express Platinum Card. The exact credit card I use depends on the airline that I fly with. 

6. What made me decide to keep so many cards instead of cancelling some?

It’s all about utility for me. For example, I use the Singtel-UOB credit card and the Citi M1 Card to save on my Singtel bills and M1 bills respectively, plus enjoy extra privileges. 

While SCB Unlimited Credit Card, Citi Cash Back+ Card and American Express True Cashback Card offer comparable cashback rates of 1.5% and 1.6%, I keep all three credit cards for the different discounts and promotions available. 

7. Am I more prone to overspend with such easy access to credit? 

Not really. I have a Double AA credit score rating, and having so many cards doesn’t affect my credit score negatively. 

8.How do I stay debt-free?

This is easy. Be disciplined, settle all bills on time and be smart with my credit cards. I don’t carry balances and always make it a point to allocate time to settle all my credit card bills at the end of the month.  

9. What are some tips I’d like to share on managing credit cards?

Use your credit cards where you can to gain from your expenses instead of using cash and debit cards. However, be very disciplined with your spending — you have to pay back whatever you’ve charged to your credit cards in full and on time to avoid hefty interest charges. 

Go with plain cashback cards if you’re unsure how to maximise your rewards. Another tip? Adjust your credit card billing cycle so all your bills would arrive around the time you get your salary. This makes things easier when looking through your bills and making payments.

Singapore is great for offering rewards when you use credit cards, both in terms of rewards, dining, retail and travel deals and promotions. 

It’s really not a bad thing to own cards in Singapore if you make it a point to keep tabs on your expenses and bills! 

As told to Denise Bay, by Sandeep. 

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How many credit cards should you have?

There’s no fixed answer, really. The number of credit cards you should have depends on your financial situation, spending habits, ability to manage your cards, and the potential rewards you’re looking to earn. 

While almost 75% of Singaporeans hold a credit card, most credit card users in Singapore have more than one credit card. In fact, 10% of credit card users have six or more cards!

Credit building credit cards: How do they work? 

Apart from offering convenience when making payments, credit cards are a great way to build up your credit score. A good credit score will go a long way in helping you obtain additional credit when you need them most, such as a home loan, car loan, or study loan etc. 

How do you build up your credit score with credit cards? Simply ensure that you consistently pay off each month’s credit card bills in full and on time before their due dates! Make paying off your credit card bills promptly a habit. 

How many credit cards should you have to build your credit? You only need one credit card, to be honest. However, it works even if you have a few credit cards. The more responsibly you use your credit cards, the more chances you have to boost your credit score. 

How many credit cards is too many? Is it bad to have a lot of credit cards?

It isn’t bad to have multiple credit cards, but signing up for too many cards within a short time may be detrimental to your credit score — the banks might wonder if you’re facing financial issues even though you could be in a perfectly comfortable situation.  

As a credit card user, the onus is on you to keep track of your credit card spending and bills and know your limitations. It can be tricky to manage payments for multiple credit cards, especially if different banks have issued you cards and have different payment due dates. 

Is it good to have multiple credit cards?

This depends on how savvy and how financially responsible you are as a credit card user. If you know which cards are good for what types of purchases and do a stellar job at keeping track of expenses, rewards, and bills, you’ll likely benefit from holding multiple credit cards. 

As it stands, credit cards aren’t designed to be equal. Some credit cards offer higher rewards for certain purchases (e.g. online shopping, travel, dining, contactless transactions etc.), while others offer a flat rate cashback across all spending categories. 

Don’t want to be overwhelmed with so many different cards? Consider using a straightforward cashback credit card for your daily expenses and perhaps another one dedicated to dining out, shopping, or travel. The cards you pick should ideally reward you according to the lifestyle you lead. 

Read these next:
Top Credit Card Promotions And Deals On SingSaver
Do Credit Cards Still Have A Place In Your Life?
What Really Happens If You Skip Credit Card Bills, Loan & BNPL Payments
Buy Now, Pay Later vs Credit Cards: Which One’s More Dangerous?
3 Tips For Using ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Facilities Like A Real Shopping Pro

While Denise has a thing for travel, K-dramas, 0% sugar bbt (with boba!), Japanese cuisine and flat white, her curious nature means all sorts of random tabs are open on her phone 24/7. She doesn’t like to pay full price for anything, too.


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