How Many Credit Cards Do You Need for a Good Score? #CreditScope

Do you have questions about credit?

Join our live video chat every Tuesday and Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET on Periscope. Rod Griffin, Director of Public Education at Experian, is available to answer your questions live.

Here are some of the key questions Rod addressed in today’s scope:

How many credit cards do you need for a good score?
From a credit reporting and scoring standpoint, you only need one or two credit cards. Make sure to use them responsibly. If you make a purchase, pay it in full each month and keep your balances low. You don’t need to have a lot, just a couple are sufficient for building a strong credit history and good credit scores.

Do student loans affect your credit score? 
Yes. They are just like any other installment loan. Paying them on time and paying them off over time can help improve your credit scores.

Which credit cards should you pay off first: small or big? 
The math says you should pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate first because that is the one that is costing you the most. If you can, that’s going to save you the most money over time. However, the math doesn’t account for human emotion.

Making payments on a high interest rate card with a high balance can sometimes result in slow progress that leads to frustration and eventually surrender. Many people are more successful paying off the card with the lower balance and then adding that payment amount to the next highest balance and pay that one down. A little success leads to a bigger success and keeps you from getting discouraged. In the end, the best thing to do is whatever works for you.

I am a college sophomore with student loan, how do I build credit? 
If you have a student loan, you probably have a credit history already. The lender is likely reporting the student loan as “currently not in repayment” or “deferred.” If so, you will have a credit report showing that student loan.

If you are renting an apartment, you might want to look into getting your rent payments reported. The apartment complex manager or landlord can report your positive rent payments, which will also start a credit history. You can learn more at

Does credit repair really work? 
No, credit counseling is more beneficial over the long term.  The FTC says you can’t pay to have negative information removed from your credit report if it is accurate.  Be sure you know your rights under the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA). Learn more here.

Check out the scope to hear answers to all the questions asked today:

Scoped on: 01/28/2016

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