Almost half of Brits think having multiple credit cards is bad

  • More than half of surveyed consumers (52%) believe people only have one credit score
  • This myth is most commonly believed by those aged 25 to 34 (63%)
  • Almost half (47%) think having more than one credit card is bad

New research from Sainsbury’s Bank reveals that 52% of consumers think you have only one credit score. The research also revealed that almost half (47%) think having multiple credit cards is bad, and 43% think having a high credit limit is bad.

The survey* presented 2,000 people from across the UK with some of the biggest credit card myths, identified through extensive desk research**. The goal was to debunk these myths and help consumers make informed decisions when tackling their household budgeting.

To do this, Sainsbury’s Bank worked with personal finance expert Andrew Hagger, founder of MoneyComms, a money news and advice website, to offer actionable tips about how credit cards really work. The below table shows how many people agree with each myth and reveals the scale of misinformation about credit cards:


Credit Card Myth

Percentage That Agrees


I think credit cards can lead to a lot of debt



You have one credit score



Having more than one credit card is bad



Having a high credit limit is bad



Once you’ve paid off your credit card, you should close the account



Interest is payable immediately after a credit card purchase



I think you get a better deal on a credit card if you’ve never had one before



Your credit card interest can’t change


Above: A table containing survey data from Sainsbury’s Bank

Jason King, chief customer officer at Sainsbury’s Bank, said: “There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding credit cards, and financial products more broadly, which can make it a difficult space for customers to navigate. We want to help people make more educated financial decisions by tackling credit card myths and offering accurate information to those who need it most.”

Hagger took a closer look at the top three myths and has provided helpful financial advice below.

I think credit cards can lead to a lot of debt -75%

Three in four of those surveyed think credit cards lead to a lot of debt. This is most commonly believed by people aged 35 to 44 (83%).

Hagger said: “A credit card is designed to give you some financial flexibility – it is a safety net to use if and when you need to. Yes, you can borrow up to your maximum limit if you wish, but most cardholders use their plastic responsibly and pay off their balance in full each month, thus not incurring any interest on purchases made.

“If you do happen to run into difficulties in managing your credit card balance, always talk to your lender rather than burying your head in the sand. There may be measures that they can suggest to help you get back on track.”

You have one credit score – 52%

More than five in ten of those surveyed think you only have one credit score. This is most commonly believed by people aged 25 to 34 (63%).

Hagger said: “There are three main credit reference agencies operating in the UK and each of these calculates your credit score based on the information contained in your credit report. However, they do so using their own methodology and calculations and each may have access to slightly different information about you. This all means you will have at least three different credit scores: one for each credit reference agency.

“When you apply for credit, lenders don’t use the score from a specific UK agency in isolation. They use your credit report information, your application details and any recent history of previous accounts with them to calculate an overall score. This helps them to decide whether to accept you or not, and what terms they will offer and the rate they will charge you.

Jason King added: “If you are worried about your credit history, it’s a good idea to look for companies who have an eligibility checker on their website which performs a soft credit search without affecting your credit history, so you are not turned down for a card. A soft search will not be visible to lenders or impact your credit score.”

Having more than one credit card is bad – 47%

Nearly five in ten of those surveyed think having more than one credit card is bad. This is most commonly believed by people aged 35 to 44 (54%) and least by people aged 45 to 54 (34%).

Hagger said: “It’s quite usual for people to have three or four different credit cards and if they are all used responsibly it’s a good sign as far as prospective lenders are concerned. It shows you have the financial skills to manage multiple credit accounts. These days, it’s unusual to find one credit card that’s the very best for all circumstances and that’s why some people have multiple cards – using each one for its individual strengths such as earning points or for good rates for foreign travel.”

The full myth-busting report is available on the Sainsbury’s Bank website.