How many UK credit cards can I have?

Credit cards can be a convenient way to pay for everything from online purchases to grocery shopping, but they are not without their risks.

As the money you spend on them is credit, that means each credit card is a kind of short-term loan. At the end of each month, you must either pay off your credit card bill in full, or you may be charged interest on the remaining balance.

Even if you choose not to repay in full, there is usually a minimum repayment charge – so you could find yourself paying an amount each month while your total bill continues to increase because of interest.

Having said that, there are also some benefits that are unique to credit cards. For example when you buy something big and valuable on a credit card, such as a large piece of furniture or a holiday, if the supplier later fails to deliver what you have ordered you may be able to claim a refund from your card provider.

Credit cards vs. debit cards

Debit cards are different. With a debit card, the money you spend comes out of your account, usually straight away or very soon after your purchase, and there’s no ‘loan’ or bill to pay at the end of the month.

All you might have to pay is a small transaction fee, depending on what you are buying – there may be a fee if the purchase is in a different currency than the card itself, for instance.

For this reason, if you are living in the UK it makes sense to have a debit card (or credit card) in GBP so you don’t get charged exchange fees on the things you buy.

Because debit cards are not a form of borrowing – they just spend your own money from your own account – there usually isn’t a mark on your credit file when you apply for one, unless the account also has an overdraft.

How many cards can I have in the UK?

There is no official limit on how many cards UK accountholders can have. You are not limited to just one credit card and one debit card, for example.

Some people in the past have used this to take advantage of multiple interest-free offers and cashback deals on different cards, so that you have a choice of the ‘best’ card for any particular purchase.

However, when the economy goes through a rough patch, lenders often make it more difficult to get a new credit card in the UK, and this can leave you trapped with big balances on the cards you already have, and no new interest-free deals to switch them on to.

Debit cards are less risky in terms of debt, and it’s normal to get a debit card with each account you open – some banks even issue them for savings accounts, so you can spend directly from your savings.

Credit cards affect your credit rating

Remember that applying for credit cards or failing to pay your bills on time can have a negative effect on your credit rating, making it harder to apply for any kind of credit – even a mobile phone contract – in the future.

Even just applying for lots of credit cards can lower your credit score, because it can be seen as a sign that you are short of cash, so be careful before applying for multiple credit cards.

Again, applying for a debit card is an alternative if you just need a card you can use to buy things, and you don’t need to borrow any money using it.

Get a MasterCard® debit card with an Arro Personal Account

If you’re new to the UK and need a card you can use for online shopping, ATM withdrawals and to buy things in shops, the MasterCard® debit card that comes with an Arro Personal Account is a good place to start.

You can fund the account online, and use your card at ATMs throughout the UK, and anywhere MasterCard® Debit is accepted – and as it’s in pounds sterling, you should not be charged exchange fees for shopping in GBP.

Our instant online ID check means you should not need to send us any paperwork or documents. We can check ID from 160 different countries, and it will not show on your credit record.

We think the Arro Personal Account makes a good secondary ‘spending account’ if you just need some funds in GBP for buying things in the UK – and the debit card means you will not be stuck spending it all in cash only.