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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 268
Registered: ‎06-26-2009

What is the ideal # of "credit cards" to have?

For someone whose credit score has been obliterated ( 513 TU FICO, 565 EX FAKO, wont know EQ until I get paid again and can get that one ) and working on the future, what is the ideal total # of credit cards/revloving accounts to have? I've read: as few as possible, no more than 3, no less than 3 but never more than 5. Certainly untilization rates come into play, but it would be nice to know what the concensus of opinion is and work towards that magic number over the next couple of years to be in a position of having A++ credit again 4-5 years from now.  Also,currently I have a crown jewelers account which I just opened in May & PIF this month,  I also have a student loan through Sallie Mae in defferment ( 44K ) & bad credit auto loan ( 360 mo for 36 months @ 21% started in May ) for my installment loans. Have reviewed all 3 bureau files and there are no "big" errors and just a few minor ones which will be addressed over the next year.  FYI.... all charge offs/collection accounts/etc are either 2 years old will be by the end of this year. Nowhere to go but up now, any advice greatly appricated.
EQ- 647, EX- 641, TU- 644
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Epic Contributor
Posts: 26,170
Registered: ‎10-23-2007

Re: What is the ideal # of "credit cards" to have?

I say 3 min. but as far as max, no rule, just depends how and when you add them to make sure they help you not hurt you.
Fico Scores 8: EX 694. TU 689. EQ 658. 05/26/2015
Senior Contributor
Posts: 4,831
Registered: ‎04-20-2007

Re: What is the ideal # of "credit cards" to have?

I like 5. Not too many to keep track of and enough not to worry about an issuer getting hinky. It is simple to rotate 5 using 2 each month. 40% of accounts reporting balances is not a killer.
Established Contributor
Posts: 805
Registered: ‎05-11-2007

Re: What is the ideal # of "credit cards" to have?

There not really a limit when it comes to "credit cards we can have." As long all of the cards are NOT reporting balances, excellent payment history, long age in account, and etc... you will be golden. Right now I have 6 open cards and 1 closed. All I'm doing now is just letting them age.
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Valued Contributor
Posts: 1,157
Registered: ‎05-21-2008

Re: What is the ideal # of "credit cards" to have?

[ Edited ]

Jeez 3 years ago I had 1.


Now I have 7 Smiley Sad  Unless I'm forgetting one.  Smiley Indifferent


I feel like there is a maximum number.  I just don't know what it is Smiley Happy  Minimum I would say would be 1 Visa or MC, 1 Discover or AMEX and 1 store card.


[edit]  I knew I was forgetting one!  Make that 8!

Message Edited by thrasher865 on 06-26-2009 07:26 PM

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Moderator Emerita
Posts: 28,098
Registered: ‎04-01-2007

Re: What is the ideal # of "credit cards" to have?

I go with the High Achievers average of 3, although I think this is from pretty old data, and it's probably more like 5 now, because of the proliferation of rewards cards.

1 CU card for high limits and good service
2-3 bank cards, all from different banks, in order to reduce vulnerability to bizarre behavior by an individual bank
1 store card from a store that you use a lot, that has great rewards for card holders
* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Valued Contributor
Posts: 1,671
Registered: ‎05-24-2007

Re: What is the ideal # of "credit cards" to have?

I wouldn't worry about a maximum for a good score. My reports with 26 CC accounts showed 780-795 FICO. I closed two Amex accounts that were reporting from 1982 when I refused to pay a yearly fee. A few other accounts changed. I now have 22 CC accounts that show on my reports, 3 of which show closed. My FICO stays in mid 700s unless I have too many accounts with balances like now - 14 with balances giving me 709. I would never try to keep track of that many for personal use - I have three small businesses. The only one that reports that is not a normal CC is Kohl's.

Established Contributor
Posts: 672
Registered: ‎07-05-2008

Re: What is the ideal # of "credit cards" to have?

Valued Contributor
Posts: 1,291
Registered: ‎02-26-2008

Re: What is the ideal # of "credit cards" to have?

You want to have half or fewer of all lines (installment, open, revolving) showing a balance.

You want fewer than half of Credit and Charge cards (open, revolving) showing a balance with at least one showing a balance, though some scorecards might reward a couple of points for 0 cards showing a balance.

So, the minimum number of cards is 3.

If you want to show a balance on more cards or have more installment loans, you will need more CCs to offset that.

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