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Is it ok for an individual to open many (10+) current accounts with different banks? I have no business.

The reason behind that is that I usually get a credit card with every new bank account I open, which is to me like insurance in case something happens and I need to pay my bills quickly I live in the UK

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    Do you really need 10+ credit cards' worth of "insurance"? Also, you can get credit cards without opening extra bank accounts. – BrenBarn Jul 9 '15 at 19:29
  • Are you sure that you get a credit card with each account being opened? Or is it s debit/ATM card which looks like a credit card (maybe it has a Mastercard or VISA logo on it) but actually takes the money out of the associated current account whenever you use it (to pay for insurance or groceries or whatever)? – Dilip Sarwate Jul 10 '15 at 12:51
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    @DilipSarwate I might be stupid but not that stupid :p – Ulkoma Jul 10 '15 at 16:40
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Its actually a good thing. The #1 factor to your credit score is your credit utilization. So if you don't spend money unwisely and they don't have any annual fee I would keep them and use them each twice a year to keep them in your credit mix.

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You should not open bank accounts just to get additional credit cards. You should be careful about carrying too many credit cards and incurring too much debt as you could find yourself in a situation whereby you may not be able to pay off your monthly interest, much less the principal balance. Credit cards are not insurance. With many years of experience under my belt I can tell you that the best approach is to live within (or below) your means and avoid carrying a balance on credit cards. I carry only one credit card (really a charge card) and I pay off the balance every month. Treat a credit card as a 30 day interest free loan and pay your balance off in full every month...as you progress through life you will save yourself a lot of heartache (and money) if you take this approach.

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    +1 "Treat a credit card as a 30 day interest free loan..." If this were only taught to children there would but much less heartache in the world. Also, if you find a CC with rewards, you get a bonus for taking [and paying back] that 30 day interest free loan. – Anthony Russell Jul 10 '15 at 12:42
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Another thing to factor in are deals provided by banks. In general, banks care about new customers more than their existing customers. Hence they explicitly restrict the best deals on credit cards, savings accounts, etc, to new customers only. (Of course, there are occasionally good deals for existing customers, and some banks choose not to discriminate.) If you have many different bank accounts, you are making yourself unavailable for switching bonuses and introductory rates.

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I don't think there's any law against having lots of bank accounts. But what are you really gaining? Every new account is a paperwork hassle. Every new account is another target for con men who might steal your information and write bad checks or make phony credit card purchases in your name.

Yes, it's not unreasonable to have a credit card or two that you keep for emergencies. I'd advise anyone with running up debts while having no idea how you will pay them off. But to say that you might keep some credit available so that if you have a legitimate emergency -- like, say, your car breaks down and you don't have the cash to fix it and you can't get to work without it -- you have some a fallback. But do you really need ten credit cards for that sort of thing? And how much credit are they giving you on each card? I don't know how the banks work this, but I'd think if they're rational, they'd consider your total credit before giving you more.

I have three credit cards that I use regularly -- two personal and one business. And I find that a real pain to keep track of, to make sure that I keep each one paid by the due date and to keep a handle on how much I owe and so forth. I can't imagine trying to deal with ten. I suppose you could just stuff all these cards in a drawer and only use them in case of emergency.

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The original poster indicates that he lives in the UK, but there are likely strong similarities with the US banking system that I am more familiar with:

  • In the US, when you open a checking (aka "current", in UK speak) account, you normally incur an inquiry with ChexSystems. Banks normally do this to ensure that you don't have a history of writing bad checks, negative balances, and other items that could result in bank liabilities.
  • In addition, to the ChexSystems inquiry, US banks often run an inquiry on your credit report - this ostensibly to provide an overdraft line of credit.

The result is that you are likely going to be unable to be approved for 10 checking accounts opened in rapid succession, at least in the US.

Finally, in the US, there is no need to have checking accounts with a bank in order to open a credit card with them (although sometimes it can help if you have a low credit score).

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