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Why Your Credit Mix Matters

Written by Diane Moogalian on August 31, 2015 in Credit  |   10 comments

While it’s true that all you need to start building a credit history is one credit account, maintaining a mix of multiple accounts with different credit types is an important part of establishing healthy credit behavior. Your credit mix consists of different accounts, sometimes called…

CreditMixMattersWhile it’s true that all you need to start building a credit history is one credit account, maintaining a mix of multiple accounts with different credit types is an important part of establishing healthy credit behavior.

Your credit mix consists of different accounts, sometimes called “tradelines” on your credit report. Beyond seeing if you have more than one line of credit, creditors are also typically looking for borrowers who can handle different types of credit.

The most common types of credit are classified as either installment or revolving.

Installment credit can refer to any debt where the borrower pays in installments over a period of time. This could be a student loan, mortgage, home equity loan, car loan, or other personal loan.

Revolving credit typically refers to a credit card, though there are other types of revolving credit as well. With revolving credit, a bank or other financial institution lends you money up to a maximum amount. This credit line remains open and accessible, so that you can use it when you need it in the future. A home equity line of credit (HELOC) can also be referred to as revolving credit, as can a retail charge card because it works much like a regular credit card.

Showing diversity within your credit report

When you open and use a variety of credit lines over a long period of time, your credit report will reflect this diversity. The longer you have these accounts open, the more time you have to show how you can be responsible with different types of tradelines.

How you handle different types of credit can also show potential lenders how you might manage any new types for which you apply. For example, a consumer who has only ever used a credit card (revolving credit) but who then applies for a mortgage (installment credit) won’t have much information on his credit report to show his ability to pay off this type of tradeline.

The other factor that is reflected in your credit mix is how many types of each tradeline you have. Ideally, you will have four types of credit lines so that you can show lenders your reliability. For example, you may have a student loan, a credit card, a retail credit card, and an auto loan.

While your credit mix plays an important role in your credit history and ultimately calculating your credit score, the following five factors also play important roles:

• The number of accounts you have

• The types of accounts

• Your used credit vs. your available credit

• The length of your credit history

• Your payment history

Diane Moogalian is vice president of operations for Equifax Personal Information Solutions. Prior to joining Equifax in 2007, Diane held several strategic roles with leading financial services companies.

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.


  1. Deb says:

    We recently moved a 20k balance to a zero percent credit card. We want to close the paid card. Is this a good move? We do not want 2 20k credit lines open and we only want 1 credit card. Thank you. Will it hurt our fico score to close it?

    • Anonymous says:

      That is a horrible idea. Closing any credit card will hurt your score. You will have a $40,000 line of credit as opposed to 20,000. The debit to credit ratio will not look good after closing one card. Plus your credit usage should always be kept under 30% of your maximum available credit. Your score will take a huge hit if you have a 20,000 dollar CC maxed out at 100% usage.

  2. Mark says:

    Is it possible to have too many accounts reporting, opened or closed, that would negatively affect your FICO score?

  3. joyce k says:


  4. Willie J. says:

    Excellent information, well worth my time. This was very informative.

  5. PE Kohler says:

    A couple of years ago my credit scores were in the high 800’s with one in the 900’s. since time I have retired, purchased a new car and sold my home 3 months ago. I have no late payments, use revolving credit minimally – usually paying the balances in full each month. Now my credit scores are in the 700’s. Since my credit practices have not changed greatly is this because of my age, the fact that I retired and now have a monthly fixed income? My cash reserves have greatly increased but I don’t use those funds

  6. Tim says:

    When is the best day of the month to pay off a credit card balance each month and more importantly what day of the month is the cutoff for Equifax to take a snapshot of your balances at credit lenders and use it for FICO scoring?

  7. Gary S. says:

    I have for 2 years had a home mortgage, my lender does not report to anyone. I was told by them if Equifax were to send them a request they would report my perfect payment performance. How can I get Equifax to make a request…

  8. Jude B says:

    I had a question similar to the one above but I didn’t see an answer – You say not to close credit cards but what if have quite a few even with no balance? Should you just leave and let the bank take it away for non use?

    Thank You,
    Jude B

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