How Many Capital One® Cards Can You Have?

By: Mike Randall • May 21, 2017

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Capital One is among the most popular and diverse credit card companies in the world. They issue cards with both the Visa and MasterCard labels, aimed at business owners, consumers, frequent flyers, students and even people trying to rebuild their credit. Of course with all of this popularity come a few questions about the rules and restrictions Capital One may set for their credit cards.

Two Card Limit | Choose a New Card

Two Capital One Credit Cards Per Cardholder

Capital One limits the number of directly issued cards available for any cardholder to two. While this is a fairly straightforward policy, it has caused some confusion among consumers, as some Capital One cardholders claim to have three, four or even more valid cards in their wallets. There are a few explanations for this apparent discrepancy in Capital One’s rules.

  • When the rule limiting cardholders to two Capital One cards was implemented around 2011, members who held more than two cards at that time were allowed to keep them.
  • Some cardholders had credit cards issued by banks that were acquired by Capital One (Chevy Chase Bank and HSBC to name just a couple). Cardholders were allowed to keep these cards even as they were reissued with the Capital One logo.
  • Some co-branded store cards for retailers like Sony, Saks and others are issued by Capital One but don’t count in the two-card limit. The same is true for secured credit cards issued by Capital One.

When we talk about co-branded credit cards these are usually partnerships between a retailer, airline, or other business and the issuing credit card company. The purpose of these cards is for retailers to take advantage of brand loyalty and, in return, to give cardholders rewards in the form of perks at that retailer.

These are just some of the ways in which someone might end up with more than the limit of two Capital One cards in their wallet. However, try to get more than two Capital One direct-issued credit cards today, and you’ll be told no.

There are Many Capital One Cards to Choose From

If you’re looking for a second Capital One credit card to complement one you already have, there are quite a few to choose from. Whether you’re looking for unlimited reward points, a 0% introductory APR, or a cash-back bonus on all purchases, there’s a Capital One card that’s made just for you.

+See more Capital One cards

Responsible Use of a Credit Card Trumps Quantity

According to the latest survey by Gallup, the average number of credit cards that Americans carry in their wallets is between 3 and 4 (3.7 to be exact). This includes cards from the major networks like Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express, as well as co-branded cards. So, what’s the “sweet spot” for how many cards we should carry?

Experts say it isn’t really about the number of cards you have, but your overall credit utilization. So, if you have a credit limit of $4,000 and are carrying a balance of $3,000, this means your credit utilization is 75% – and that’s too high. In fact, it’s probably hurting your credit score. In this case it may be worth getting another credit card to increase your available credit line. Getting another card with a credit limit of $2,000 would instantly bring your credit utilization down to 50%.

Final Thoughts

We Americans love our plastic. We love the convenience of making quick purchases anywhere, we love the benefits of all the rewards programs, and we love the flexibility of using different cards for different buying situations. And even if you can only carry two Capital One credit cards, there are other reward cards and co-branded cards you can get that have the same great benefits from the same great credit card issuer.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

About the Author

Mike Randall

Mike Randall is most knowledgeable in the areas of credit scores and credit cards, having written on those topics and others for the past eight years. He graduated from California State University with a degree in English literature, and he has an extensive background in personal finance studies. When he's not keeping readers informed of changes in the subprime market, Mike’s hobbies include sailing and gourmet cooking. Connect with Mike on Google+.