Having a credit card is essential, having two is common but not really necessary, having three or four is just a bad idea altogether. Still, most people carry multiple cards for no good reason other than having funds available in the event that something they need becomes available. We are so accustomed to living beyond our means that the issue of having several credit accounts is not really an issue, it is natural.
Keeping a list of what we buy using credit and then doing the math at the end of the month or whenever the bills comes will reveal the true purpose of credit cards, to make someone else wealthy by paying them a percentage of everything we buy. Think about that for a second. What would you say to me if I came to you and said "Hey, how about if for every dollar you spend, you give me ten cents". Sounds like a great idea for me! In reality you would probably laugh at me and think I was insane for even asking. Well, how is that different from the interest you pay on purchases made with your credit card.
Granted, we all need emergency funds at some point. And being able to make purchases online, saving travel expenses, and having an expanded inventory to choose from because there are usually a hundred websites selling whatever it is you are looking for, is definitely worth paying that extra ten cents. But is this the extent to which most people use their credit? Hardly. We use our credit cards for gas, food, clothes, pretty much everything. And yes, we are paying some person we have never met that extra ten, fifteen, TWENTY cents for every dollar we spend. This is the nature of credit.
With years of absolutely brilliant marketing, pervasive availability, provider incentives and participation, the credit card has become a common item on par with the doorknob, and the rug, and all things that occur naturally in the average American household. The fact that they enable us to live well beyond our means to pay is beside the point, and thats the way they want it. We have been trained well. We pay huge amounts of our hard earned money to some dude we don't know for the privilege of using a little card. I will venture to say that it is rarely the actual purchases that get us into trouble and into debt, rather, it is that extra ten cents that compounds month to month. It is am awesome plan and should be admired as such.
Do your self a favor, get a low interest balance transfer card. Move all high interest balances over then pay it off. Repeat this until all your cards are paid in full then cut up the cards and cancel the accounts. Now get a debit card, it works the same, it has the Visa or Master Card logo, it does not incur interest, and it only uses money that you actually have in your account. Stop the bleeding.