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3 Card Question - just to be clear

Frequent Contributor

3 Card Question - just to be clear

When people mention having 3 "credit cards" for an optimal score do you mean only credit cards or does that include charge and signature cards too?

What would be the difference in the combination reporting and calculating, if any?


I have an AMEX PRG (charge), AMEX Gold Delta Skymiles (credit), a BBRZ (credit) and just today upgraded to BofA 1-2-3 Signature card. (See signature.)


Should I be worried that my mix of cards wouldn't be good enough to maximize my credit score? 

Amex Platinum - Amex BCP - Chase Freedom - NFCU Platinum -
Message 1 of 3
Established Contributor

Re: 3 Card Question - just to be clear

First, all the cards you listed count. Second, the "three cards" thing is really just a recommendation based on what works for most people. It is not any sort of absolute. People are placed into different "buckets" within the Fico scoring system. Within each bucket, the ideal criteria to maximize scores are different. There are people on this forum with 20+ credit cards who have scores >780. Is it possible they would be 781 with only 3 cards? I guess, but at 780 who cares.


I got a huge bump (25 points) when I went from all loans to loans plus 1 card. I got another bump (10 points) with a 2nd card. I got no bump with the third, fourth or fifth. When I then cancelled one, dropping back to 4, I got a 5 point bump. When I then added two more, there was no change. For me, there was a clear benefit having two cards vs 1 or none, but no real change above that amount.


If you have 1 or zero cards, by all means get to 2. If you need a few more points at that point to qualify for a mortgage later on, consider adding a 3rd. But beyond that, let your credit needs and spending pattern dictate your decisions, not the supposed impact on your FICO score.

In wallet: Ink Plus 10k, AMEX TE 25k. In bag: CSP 16k, USAA WMC 15k, Hyatt 13k, United MPE 12k, AMEX HHonors 3k. In SD: Cap 1 QS 5k, Discover IT 7k. FICO 08 says my EQ is now 844, was 510 in 2010.
Message 2 of 3
Established Contributor

Re: 3 Card Question - just to be clear

A mix of credit lines is important. When people say 3 they should say 'at least 3'. The more the better IME. As many as you can reasonably handle managing. The guy that holds the Guiness Book of World Records for most credit cards has an almost perfect credit score. He has around 1,500 credit cards - he uses 1 and PIF's every month.


Link to the story:

AMEX SPG $30K | Citi TY Premier $20k | PenFed PlatRewards $25k | Barclay Arrival+ 40k | Chase Freedom $20k | BofA AMEX $15k | Discover IT $20k | | NASA Platinum-Advantage $20k | CapOne Quicksilver $15k | Amazon Card $10k |

My Journey from Sub-600s:
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