Have promises of better rates, perks and lower fees caused your wallet to overflow and your mailbox to be stuffed with hundreds of offers each month?
While most Australians carry between 2 and 5 credit cards, some people carry up to 10 - which would wreak havoc on your credit rating.
So how many cards should you have?
Most experts say that there is no single magic number. Rather it's a question that can be answered by scrutinizing how much you spend and how much you can pay off. But there is an upper limit: credit agencies warn that the more cards you have, the bigger the risk you carry for racking up debt and damaging your credit.
Some people go crazy at Christmas and open lots of store credit cards. Relatively speaking it is a good idea if you pay off the balance and close the card right away. If you don't then you will be costing yourself more money in the long run when your credit rating isn't up to par.
Other credit authorities say that you should open a store credit card if it is a store that you shop at frequently and recommends that you open no more than one favourite store card.
The average person carries 11 "credit vehicles." Typically, seven are different types of cards and four are instalment loans for cars, furniture, student loans or mortgages. Some credit experts see people with 45 or more credit cards -- many of them are high-income earners.
A good rule of thumb is to keep two to six credit cards. Make sure the credit cards you have are Visa, MasterCard or American Express, because merchants will take almost any of them.
Try your best to pay them off, or if you can't pay them off, find a credit card that has a low-interest rate to use for emergencies when you need new tyres or when you're hot water system breaks. It's also a good idea that your other credit card has reward points or similar, something that gives you something back. That card doesn't have to have a low-interest rate if you pay it off every month.
Another rule of thumb to remember is to keep your debt ratio under 50 percent. If your credit card has a $5,000 limit, don't carry a balance of more than $2,500.
Keep credit purchases under 50 percent of the credit limit. (If you have a) $5,000 limit -- and you want to buy a $4,000 furniture set -- split the purchase onto two cards, creditors don't like to see a card almost maxed out; they look at you as a risk, someone who is using too much credit and has trouble paying off debt.
By following these simple rules you should keep your credit rating good, thereby achieving the best chance possible of qualifying for a home loan at affordable rates.
If you are still not sure or think that you will qualify for a home loan today, give Mrs. Mortgage a call and get all your questions answered.