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Mint.com just told me my credit score. It says in the advice section:

Try to have a good mix of credit lines open. Creditors like to see that you have both loans and credit cards. If you're low on credit card accounts check out these credit card offers.

Here is how it rates how many it says I should have:

  • Poor 0-5
  • Not Bad 6-12
  • Good 13-21
  • Excellent 22+

I know I shouldn't take on more debt than I can handle. All other things aside, is this a realistic graph of how many credit cards and loans someone should have (assuming they already have great credit)? The numbers seem high to me.

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    Those numbers seem INSANE to me. And what range is your score in? Do you really need to do anything about it, or are you trying to optimize something that is already fine? – keshlam Sep 16 '14 at 2:35
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    more debt than I can handle This is a myth. Debt is not required to have a good credit score. You can pay all your statements in full each month, never pay interest, and still have an excellent credit score. Mint.com They are selling you a service, so take their advice with a grain of salt. I think you can navigate your credit score with an impartial source of information. This includes "financial advisors" that want to sell you whole life insurance. – Sun Sep 16 '14 at 3:26
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    22 credit lines??? Why on Earth would anyone have 22 credit lines? You can have up to 4 mortgages, 1-2 car loans, maybe a HELOC - and what else? 15 credit cards? You should stop believing every commercial you see. – littleadv Sep 16 '14 at 5:25
  • I am fortunate to have good credit. But if it will help my credit, I may go finance a 60 inch TV on a new best buy credit card ☺ – Hoppe Sep 16 '14 at 12:32
  • @Hoppe: Stay away from store cards. They are the worst. They are only good usually at that store. Better off getting a regular credit card and paying off the balance. Do not get a TV if you do not have the cash for it. Use the credit card only for the convenience and security. Store credit cards have unusually high interest. – Brian Sep 16 '14 at 19:21
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Over time, you'll have more loans, maybe a few store cards, mortgage, car loan, etc. I'm a fan of maximizing one's wealth, and the small rebate/reward adds up over time, so I'm not against the store cards, so long as you always pay the bill in full.

As far as FICO is concerned, what they 'like' to see may not necessarily be optimum for you. I'd suggest you go about your business, and over time use the few cards that combine to give to the best benefit combination that works for you.

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Please do not conflate number of credit cards with amount of debt.

Consider two scenarios,

  • Scenario 1: you could have one large limit card ($20k) with high debt ($18k)
  • Scenario 2: you could have ten lower limit cards [$500, 2@$1000, 2@$2000, $2500, $4000, $5000] (total<=2$20k), with $2000 (< 10% utilization) spread across 3-4 cards.

The latter scenario yields much better credit scoring.

Many recommendation sources suggest the following,

  • Have 2-4 credit cards, and keep utilization below 10% (or 20%, depending upon source), as that contributes to credit utilization (about 30% of credit scoring model). Some individuals report excellent scores with large numbers of credit cards, others report excellent scores with fewer credit cards.
  • Have a mix of credit (credit card, personal loan, auto loan, mortgage loan, student loan) types, as that is another factor that contributes about 10% to credit scoring models.
  • Have on-time payment history, as that is about 35% of credit scoring model.

Although your credit score seems very important, it is only important when you have financial interactions (such as applying for credit or services) where the other party makes decisions based upon the score. You should only obtain loans and credit when you want and it makes sense based upon your needs; choosing to live your life to serve credit scoring agencies may not be your happy place.

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I think you are interpreting their recommended numbers incorrectly. They are not suggesting that you get 13-21 credit cards, they are saying that your score could get 13-21 points higher based on having a large number of credit cards and loans.

Unfortunately, the exact formula for calculating your credit score is not known, so its hard to directly answer the question. But I wouldn't go opening 22+ credit cards just to get this part of the number higher!

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    I disagree--I think OP interpreted the advice correctly. – Craig W Dec 23 '14 at 22:13
  • huh. I was just trying to find a way that these numbers didn't seem insanely high... I'm in the same boat as the OP I guess. I don't see anything about it in the mint FAQs. – user2677280 Dec 23 '14 at 22:19

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