FICO needs at least 3 lines of credit

Starting a credit score

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FICO Needs at Least 3 Lines of Credit

Starting a credit score is relatively easy.  In order for the FICO credit scoring system to know you exist and open a file on you there must be an account open for at least 6 months with some activity during that time.  There is more than one way for those who are invisible to the credit scoring system to begin starting a credit score.  The best way to become visible to the credit scoring system when starting a credit score is to take out and begin regular use of a secured credit card.  Most banks will do this for you.  Many credit cards offer the secured credit card option.  You can find them at such sites as and  Make sure they report to all 3 credit bureaus!

Starting a Credit Score with Secured credit cards

A secured credit card is not the card you can pick up and buy for a little more than face value at convenience stores.  These are really debit cards.  They do nothing towards starting a credit score.  A secured credit card is a card issued with a credit limit up to the amount of cash you deposit.  Some credit card companies will open them for as little as $200.00.  This gives consumers a chance to establish a track record. You can use cards like this to charge a pizza or gasoline every month to keep it active.  You don’t have to worry about falling into credit abuse.  After all it’s your money anyway. Whatever is charged is really just guaranteed by your own money. Even though the money is yours you must make the payment by the due date.  Now you’ve begun the process of becoming a person with a credit file on which you can build.  Beginners starting a credit score have the advantage of not having to overcome past negative information.

There is a way to establish some age on your credit files right away if you have a family member or friend that will help you. The factor of no “time in file” means no years long credit track record.  This can be overcome by becoming an authorized user on an older account of a close friend or relative.  You can tell them you are not going to use it.  You don’t even want an actual card.  Their good track record will be credited to you.  This is only a good idea if they have a perfect payment record and don’t carry a large balance relative to their credit limit.

Types of Credit for Starting a Credit Score

FICO computers like to have at least 3 open and active lines of credit in order to have enough data to crunch.  Those with only 1 account will be scored as a person with a “very thin file.”  Those with 2 accounts will be scored as a person with a “thin file.”

FICO “high achievers” are people with a credit score of 760 or above.  On average high achievers have 7 credit cards. To achieve a high credit score the computer likes for you to have a good mix of credit including several open ended accounts in the form of credit cards, and a closed-end account like a car loan or an installment or personal loan.  You can ask your bank or credit union about a secured installment loan for starting your entry into the credit system.  Don’t get too many store accounts.  One or two may help if you’re just starting a credit score as long as they are paid responsibly.  Of course the credit scoring system highly favors people with mortgages who pay them on time.  This article is not for them.  They are past the stage of starting a credit score.  Maybe that will come for you later.  You must crawl before you walk and walk before you run.

For a high credit score down the road demonstrate that you can handle multiple types of credit responsibly.  This means very consistently paying on time and keeping your credit card balances low in relation to their credit limit.


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After practicing law for 37 years Edward F. St. Onge, Sr. now devotes all his time to helping consumers achieve a high credit score with amazing speed. Learn the counter-intuitive secrets to credit scoring through his down to earth instructions backed by extensive knowledge of the laws and trends. All of the latest tricks and techniques that they don't want you to know now at your disposal. At last a level playing field for the consumer!

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