Is it bad for credit score to only use Amex charge cards?

American Express forum. Talk about AmEx credit cards like Blue, Gold, Platinum, Centurion, and more.
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AmexUser
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Is it bad for credit score to only use Amex charge cards?

Postby AmexUser » Wed May 23, 2012 12:02 am

Ever since I got an Amex charge card, I've been using it almost exclusively (together with my bank's debit card, only for places that don't accept Amex). So, shortly after that, I closed all of my credit cards, and now I have no revolving accounts. I notice that my FICO scores (all 3 currently in the mid-700s) have not improved at all in the past year or so.

My question is: Can I ever hit an 800+ FICO if the only cards I have are my Amex charge card and my bank's debit card?

Some additional info: There are no negative items in my 3 credit reports. The first credit card I got was back in 2004. When I still had credit cards, I always kept credit utilization below 10% and never had a late payment. I have no loans (no mortgage, no auto loan, no nothing).


m20e3087
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Postby m20e3087 » Wed May 23, 2012 6:52 am

You shouldn't have closed your old credit card from 2004. Thats a key factor of hitting 800+. In 2014 it would have showed you had your account opened for 10 years, which is good in FICO scoring systems. I made the same mistake my self, My 1st card was from 02, then i closed it around 05. Now my oldest is 04. If your above 760 on FICO, you should be able to get any types of loans with a great rate. Since you closed your other accounts, FICO will make your AMX you 1st card and add the time you have had your account open.
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MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Wed May 23, 2012 9:44 am

AmexUser wrote:Ever since I got an Amex charge card, I've been using it almost exclusively (together with my bank's debit card, only for places that don't accept Amex). So, shortly after that, I closed all of my credit cards, and now I have no revolving accounts. I notice that my FICO scores (all 3 currently in the mid-700s) have not improved at all in the past year or so.

My question is: Can I ever hit an 800+ FICO if the only cards I have are my Amex charge card and my bank's debit card?

Some additional info: There are no negative items in my 3 credit reports. The first credit card I got was back in 2004. When I still had credit cards, I always kept credit utilization below 10% and never had a late payment. I have no loans (no mortgage, no auto loan, no nothing).


You can do it. Not having an installment loan of some sort is no doubt holding you back. If you get one now you will take an initial hit but over time your score will improve.

Also FICO likes to see more than one major credit card. These are the two factors holding you back. I would NOT suggest going and getting an installment loan JUST to try to boost your score, you have a good one and don't really need to boost it. If you are at mid-700s, that's really all you actually need.

But what I would suggest is, apply for another card. I suggest since you do like Amex applying for one of the Blue cards (whichever flavor makes the most sense for you to have). The good part of this is, it will backdate and that will boost your score as well as having more than one major credit card.

It also might not hurt to have a "real" major card like Visa or Mastercard for the times when the place doesn't take Amex as you don't want to give out your debit card and risk them draining your bank account.

You could probably get an Amex revolver, and a major card for when the place doesn't take Amex, and be set there, and your score will only grow after you get over the initial hit from the inquiries and new accounts.

But to be honest, mid 700s is plenty good as is. Don't do it just for the score. From what I read, once you hit a 760, 780 or 800 doesn't give you any better of a mortgage rate and you are already in the top tier for a car loan and any credit card company isn't likely to really care much about the few extra points for all practical purposes.

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Postby AmexUser » Wed May 23, 2012 1:47 pm

Thanks for your answers! I know mid-700 is a decent score, but I wanna have some margin of error in case my score drops for some reason (like applying for a new credit card now, for example). Moreover, only my Transunion score is above 760, the other 2 are above 750 but below 760.

What Visa/MC credit card do you suggest I apply for as a backup for my Amex charge card? I've heard that the World Mastercard and Visa Signature cards also don't have pre-set limits and are therefore reported to the 3 bureaus as "open" instead of "revolving." So getting one of these probably won't help my score, right?

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Postby Crashem » Wed May 23, 2012 6:42 pm

You should have 3 open revolving trade lines (AMEX charge should count) to help max your FICO score. The Visa Sig. and MC World count too. You should use new cards every once in a while to keep them reporting. Probably should pick a no annual fee card so you don't need to pay to keep them.

Take a look at the Chase cards. Their Ultimate Rewards point program is similar to AMEX's membership rewards. Otherwise go for a cash back card. A lot of the credit union cards are competitive. Try to figure out what makes sense for you and your spending habits. There are a lot of great cards and great sign up bonuses going on right now.
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Postby AmexUser » Thu May 24, 2012 12:43 am

@Crashem: I like the idea of 1 Amex + 1 Visa + 1 MC. Don't know why, but I like the sound of it. Seems psychologically appealing and strangely logical, haha.

So, I'm not looking for cash back on a new Visa/MC credit card, because I probably won't use it much (in my experience, among the places that I buy stuff from, it's usually the Chinese restaurants and Asian grocery stores that don't take Amex, and I rarely spend more than $100 a month at these places). I probably won't need low rates for balance transfers either, as I've never done balance transfer before. As far as rewards and fringe benefits are concerned, I'm perfectly satisfied with the Amex Platinum (don't know what I'll need beyond that, don't even know if I'll qualify for anything above that, certainly not the Black Centurion, probably not any non-Amex luxury cards either).

In short, I'm interested in getting a no-fringe no-annual-fee Visa/MC card for only 2 reasons now: (1) to boost my FICO, (2) to replace the use of a debit card (MemberSince99 got me scared with that "draining bank account" warning, never thought of that one before...). What Visa and MasterCard do you guys recommend? I've been looking at the Citi Platinum Select, which seems like a pretty simple card, do you think it fits my goals?

Actually, a high credit limit would be helpful too, because I don't want my FICO to take a blow from a low credit line. But I'm not sure if credit limit depends on what card I apply for at all, or simply my credit worthiness? Additionally, I want some flexibility regarding product change in the future (i.e., suppose for some reason, I want a different Visa/MC card, I wanna be able to get a new card without lowering the age of my account). Then again, I don't know if anybody other than Amex does backdating?

PS: Any suggestion is appreciated, the more the better. I don't plan on getting a mortgage any time soon, so I don't mind a few credit inquiries now.

Money card
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Postby Money card » Sun May 27, 2012 9:05 pm

I'd like to weigh in on this. You first asked is it bad for credit just to have American Express premium cards. But if you have no credit how can you get 1 of there cards. since you canceled your lending cards otherwise known as your revolving, that's ok maybe you made a mistake, maybe you didn't feel right about them, possible could have gotten in a fight with that bank issuer either way it's your business only.
but now since you only have there premium cards , the credit bureaus treat every card the same. I've had my Exxon/Mobil since 1994 in 1999 I have a copy of my credit report and that card isn't on the report when stores started issuing there card with a visa and a Mastercard logo along with gas stations, they decided that every card has to be treated fairly.

Your card reports just as fair as if you had a bank card, a Discover card , a store credit card or a charge card.

For example let's say you have a Walmart charge card and a store credit card the Discover version.
as we know Visa is a processor and Discover is a financial company.

With the charge card you can only buy items in the store like clothes, toiletries, etc but with the store credit card you can use that card anywhere Discover is accepted, restaurants, hotels , movies , stores. from the bureaus they get treated the same.

from the stand point of usage they are different types of cards.

you are fine with an American express premium credit card. from the credit bureaus stand point.

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Postby AmexUser » Sun May 27, 2012 9:48 pm

@Money card: Thanks for your reply. I actually used to have several Visa/MC credit cards. I got an American Express Premier Rewards Gold card about 2 years ago, upgraded it to a platinum about a year ago, then cancelled all of my Visa/MC credit cards, because I didn't use them anymore, and because two of them had annual fees (I also cancelled the ones with no annual fees, which was probably a bad move). Subsequently, as I wrote in my first post, my FICO scores have stayed put at mid-700s, which led me to believe that the lack of a revolving account might be bad from FICO's point of view.

Anyway, I just applied for and got a Citi Diamond Preferred yesterday. It has no annual fee, is a revolving account, and looks kinda nice. So it fits the bill, I guess.

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Postby Crashem » Mon May 28, 2012 12:30 am

Discover is okay. Check out fidelity Amex, Priceline visa, NASA cu visa, Penfed plat rewards, Ameriprise world elite mc. All are more than 1%. Another reason to build history with multiple issuers is that a issuer can treat you badly, eg balance chasing
Amex Centurion, Amex Platinum, Amex BCP 8k->24k (5/23/12), Amex TE 15k, Cap One 1.5% 15k->20k (8/7/13), CSP 25k, Chase Palladium 100k, Citibank AA 35k (AU), Firestone 1.8k->2.2k->2.4k (8/20/12), JFCU Jloc 30k, PenFed Plat Rewards 30k, SF Fire 30k, US Bank Cash+ 25k



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