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Strategy to get to 21 cards...

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Valued Contributor

Re: Strategy to get to 21 cards...

Haha, I love that guy "Ask Sebby."


@dytch2220 sometimes you gotta tune out the noise here. Look, you want 21 cards? Do you. Nothing wrong with that, or 50, or whatever you wish to do with your profile. Everyone is unique. Is it required in order to hit some necessary milestone? No, but all would agree that what @sarge12 advised about doing it slowly is prudent and works best in the short term as well as the long term. Credit is a marathon, not a sprint, and patience is not only a virtue, but a superpower in the credit world.


The basics always apply... low utilization,  low inquiries,  on time payments. As for what to apply for?  Allow that to organically manifest.  You may move into a new home and see that you benefit from 5% off at Lowe's, or be eligible for a nice balance transfer card at some point with a 0% offer, or some other reason that just makes sense... for you.


I will, however submit that we ALL eventually learn that the slow and steady route is the best approach. As you make changes, monitor the impact and learn, you'll gain a feel for how things work. You'll figure out how to move and there are very smart people here that will advise you on the rest. And know that we all wish for your success.  


Whether all of us are good at, or even interested conveying that sentiment...  

Message 21 of 68
Valued Contributor

Re: Strategy to get to 21 cards...

I guess I've been doing it wrong, last month prior to buying my first new car in well over a decade, I had three credit cards (with just shy of $20,000 in total credit limit), one $3,000 SSL, and no other credit; my scores were all between 820 and 850.  I cannot imagine my scores getting any better if I was to start acquiring more credit cards, much less 18 more.

I categorically refuse to do AZEO!
Message 22 of 68
Frequent Contributor

Re: Strategy to get to 21 cards...

You already have a good line up of cards that can grow via SP. A way that I grow my line-up (14 cards in 4.5 yrs) is as follows:


* apply for 2 cards at a time, so they age together

* apply for pre approvals cards, don't want too many HPs 

* Amex is great, 1st card HP, rest should be SP

* 2nd Disco card, especially the BT one is great for just in case of emergencies 

* Credit Unions approve between 640-670 with decent limits


YMMV- but after achieving a score of 720-740, I only go after cards that have positive use. Ie. Approved for SECUMD 15k. Haven't used the card yet. Was that a waste of a HP or utilization padding?


GL on you credit journey

Message 23 of 68
Valued Contributor

Re: Strategy to get to 21 cards...

@Horseshoez I think the algorithm begins to optimize at 3 cards so... you da man!  😉

Message 24 of 68
Senior Contributor

Re: Strategy to get to 21 cards...

@805orbust wrote:

@Horseshoez I think the algorithm begins to optimize at 3 cards so... you da man!  😉

        There is really nothing magic about 3 cards either, at least not as opposed to say 5 cards or 7 cards. The algorithm, according to what myfico has released says to always show credit use on 1 card reporting, but never 50% of your cards or more. That is where communities like this came up with 3 cards, which is a slight misnomer. It should actually be 3 cards minimum, because with less than 3, it is impossible to show use and never show use on 50% of your cards or more.


      I actually think it is wise to have a bit more than 3, and here is why. BCEP, Chase Amazon Prime, State Farm USbank, Citi Doublecash, and a Bank of America card are used every month. Why? They have elevated rewards for different things. BCEP for Groceries 6%, State Farm my insurance 3%, Chase Amazon Prime for Amazon 5%, Bank of America has my chosen 3% for online purchases, and doublecash is 2% everywhere.


     I like to maximize my rewards, so these cards get used for their higher reward catagories. I am sure that I have a card for 3% or more for eating out, but I can't ever seem to remember which on to use there, so it is often the doublecash. The BCEP is also 3% for gas. With these five cards, sometimes used on the same day even, it would be very hard to assure that under 50% report, unless I remain aware of each cards statement cut date, or have at least 11 cards. 


     We are care givers to my 94yo mother, and I have an Amex Magnet card that me, my sister, and my Neice all have copies of, and we purchase only things for my mother with that card. She gets all the rewards, and I pay that bill with her account. So now we are up to 13 as the minimum needed. I have let my sister use my very low interest CU credit card, and she carries a balance, but pays the bill every month, but that now makes 15 cards needed to insure that under 50% of my cards ever report.


     Of course, a token purchase might be needed on the little used cards to keep them from closing, so that requires more cards to guarantee I do not exceed the 50% threshold. I do pay my cards multiple times a month, so I will settle on always having 17 cards to accomplish this without having to look closely at the statement cut dates.


     The added credit limits on the filler cards are also needed to insure my utilization remains low even if 5 or more cards report. I could go on, but I think I have made my point here. Every card that will see regular use, I need another filler card, usually chosen by it's SUB to sit in the sock drawer.

TU fico08=808 11/16/22
EX fico08=795 11/16/22
EQ fico09=810 11/16/22
EX fico09=794 11/16/22
EQ fico bankcard08=833 11/16/22
TU Fico Bankcard 08=831 11/16/22
EQ NG1 fico=802 04/17/21
EQ Resilience index score=58 03/09/21
Unknown score from EX=784 used by Cap1 07/10/20
Message 25 of 68
Established Contributor

Re: Strategy to get to 21 cards...

There is nothing special about 21, unless you want to match it to your age or something similar Smiley Happy. My suggestion is applying for ~2 excellent cards per year. In this case, the credit score would be maximized and the approval chance would be high to qualify for the best cards or loans.

Fico8: EX~EQ~TU~810 (12 month goal~840).
BOA (Custom Cash Rewards, Better Cash Rewards, Premium Rewards), Chase (CFF, CSP, Amazon), US Bank (Cash+, Altitude Go,Ralphs), Affinity CR, Discover, Citi (Premier), Amex (BCE, HH), Walmart/Cap1, Barclay View.
Message 26 of 68

Re: Strategy to get to 21 cards...

@dytch2220 wrote:

To many of you that gave valuable and respectful input, thank you.


For those of you that gave scolding responses or tried to make me feel stupid for asking questions towards what I thought was a legitimate aim, shame on you.  Is this not a place to be mentored?


The root source of the information may well be Credit Karma, however, I got it from a YouTube channel called "Ask Sebby".  See chart below.


I don't believe it's been mentioned yet, but given the plethora of online resources and the abundance of social media content, the one thing that is for certain, AskSebby is seldomly accurate with any of their content. They have been known for providing misleading advice on numerous occasions. Of course, their YT channel is monetized so no surprise there. However, it never hurts to ask your questions here since you'll get some meaningful feedback based on a variety of members' anecdotal experiences.

Message 27 of 68
Senior Contributor

Re: Strategy to get to 21 cards...

@Who_wuda_thought wrote:

@dytch2220  I think where the misconception comes into play (with interpretation of that chart, for instance) is this:  Those numbers referenced are what the  "average highest achievers" in each rating category maintain.  It does NOT mean that in order to have an excellent rating in credit mix, you have to have 21 cards.   That chart, and the corresponding VantageScore 3 "explainers", simply indicates the average high acheiver with excellent rating has an average credit age of 9.5 years and has 21+ accounts, which by the way includes any student loans, installment loans, lines of credit, auto loans, mortgages, in addition to any store or bank issued credit card accounts.  These 21+ accounts are normally acquired organically, as/when needed, over that average 9.5 yr time span.

That was a great explanation of how-to and how-not-to read that chart, @Who_wuda_thought!. New accounts are just part of a normal, healthy long-term credit build.  But the new accounts are only a small part of what affects the score. As in my example, I show (45) accounts but only (20) open and I've never had more than (21) cards open at one time including (2) current business cards. Many of those closed accounts are indeed mortgages, auto loans, and Student-Parent loans. 

Length of Credit > 39 years; Total Credit Limits > $700K
AoOA > 29 years (Jun 1993); AoYA (Oct 2022)
* Hover cursor over cards to see name & CL, or press & hold on mobile app.
Message 28 of 68
Epic Contributor

Re: Strategy to get to 21 cards...

@xenon3030 wrote:

There is nothing special about 21, unless you want to match it to your age or something similar Smiley Happy. My suggestion is applying for ~2 excellent cards per year. In this case, the credit score would be maximized and the approval chance would be high to qualify for the best cards or loans.

Well, if credit cards aren't a hobby, I wouldn't even set a goal like that.  More "get a credit card when you find a real need, but not more than about two a year" so zero for 20 years is fine too!

Message 29 of 68
Mega Contributor

Re: Strategy to get to 21 cards...

@dytch2220 wrote:

@SouthJamaica wrote:

@dytch2220 wrote:

What is the best strategy for getting to the magic #21 cards.  I have 7 currently and am still in the late stages of repair before I will have "good" credit so I can start applying for cards I really want to keep.  I'm looking for the most efficient without hindering my ability to get increases or impacting my credit scores unduly.


If you dont' mind sharing, would also like suggestions of cards I should apply for from good through excellent.  I'm mainly looking for cash back and/or no annual fee type cards.  I do have accounts with USAA and PenFed, but no credit lines as of yet.

The best thing you can do is to NOT apply for so many cards.  I don't know why you think 21 is a magic number. 

Thank you for the reply.  Considering your signature shows that you have 33 revolving lines of credit, how/why did you acquire so many?  Why was this the magic number for you, and why should I avoid doing the same?

I did it because when I started I was stupid, believing the false propaganda spewed by Credit Karma. 





Total revolving limits 721200 (619200 reporting) FICO 8: EQ 725 TU 723 EX 700

Message 30 of 68
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