Score for credit card


credit score needed for credit card

Keep your total credit card debt to about 50 percent of your total available credit. It also includes personal information like your name, address, social security number, and your employers.

credit score needed for credit card

credit score needed for credit card

Are you also that maintaining a checking account in good health can be just as important to your overall credit score? Why you ask? Because the way you handle your account will also be reflected in your credit report. Equifax is one of the big three "credit bureaus and communicating with them you can receive a free credit report Equifax.

score for credit card

A Macy’s card is a department store card which is great for personal use for large or small purchases. This is a very convenient way to shop, but there are certain requirements to obtaining this credit card, and it is more beneficial for some than others. It is important to be fully aware of the terms and fees that are associated with any card you apply for, so that you fully understand the costs. This is Credit Card 101, but can be especially true with department store cards. While convenient, they often carry a higher than normal interest rate which can really add up after awhile of just paying the minimum balance.

This card is best for those with good or excellent credit, but even those with fair credit can qualify for a Macy’s card. Your FICO score must be, at a minimum, 500 in order to apply, but those with scores in the mid- to high-600s and above are more likely to be approved for this card. Your credit limit will be dependent on your credit score. The better your credit score, the higher your credit line is likely to be. Credit score is not the only thing looked at when approval is considered. Your chances for approval are improved if you have a large line of credit, such as a mortgage or car loan, that has been in good standing for at least six months.

But regardless of your credit score, there is a flat interest rate of 22.9%. This is higher than many rates on premium credit cards, which is why this options is less attractive for those who have excellent credit, but very attractive for those who have fair to good credit. If you miss a number of payments, your interest rate will be raised to 24.9%. However, after six months of solid, on time payments of at least the minimum balance, the interest rate will drop down to its original rate.

The high interest rate on this card is not worth the convenience of the rewards you might take advantage of by using a store card if you tend to carry monthly balances for any length of time. For those who can pay off the balance in full on or before the end of the grace period will get a lot of utility on this card, allowing one to take advantage of the perks of card membership, without having to deal with the high interest rates of spreading out the repayment.

7 Online Picks for a Free Credit Score (Without Credit Card Requirements)

Nowadays, it often seems as if every other commercial is some company or other telling you how vital it is for you to check your credit. But luckily for you, the company will happily give you your credit report and score for free! (Just enter your credit card information so they can use fine print to charge you later.)

While the commercials aren’t wrong, their method of advertising certainly is. Your credit is a vital part of your personal financial life and you should definitely check it regularly — but nothing free should ever require you to enter payment information.

You should always consider it a red flag when a company advertising a free product requires you to give your credit card number. Instead, find an actually free free offer to keep tabs on your credit. With a little bit of research, it’s easy to keep track of your credit without ever needing a credit card.

Credit Reports vs Credit Scores

Of course, before you go haring off to sign up for the first free site you see, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the different aspects of your credit. To start, one of the most important distinctions to make when it comes to credit is the one between your credit report and your credit score — which are not the same thing.

For over 100 years, consumer reporting agencies have been collecting, compiling, and analyzing data on the masses. It wasn’t until 1970’s Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), arguably one of the most important pieces of consumer finance legislation ever passed, that consumers gained legal access to the information collected about them in reporting agency files.

Called your consumer credit report, or credit history, the information collected by the credit bureaus is the basis of your personal credit. Your credit report is used by a variety of important decision-makers in your life, including many potential employers, landlords, and lenders.

The information in your credit report is also used when bureaus and lenders calculate your credit score. Your three-digit credit score is essentially a snapshot of your potential credit risk and can be a good way to monitor overall credit health. The biggest credit scoring agency is the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), which supplies credit scores for most of the lending industry.

You Have More Than One Credit Report

Another important thing to note is that each of us has more than one credit report. In consumer credit, the three most important credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, and you have a different and unique credit report for each credit bureau.

Score for credit card

Depending on the reporting behavior of your creditors, the information on your credit reports may vary by bureau. For instance, if your credit card company only reports to Equifax and TransUnion, the credit card account won’t show up on your Experian credit report.

Because of this inconsistency (and small variations in the way the bureaus process and store data), your credit score — which is based on your credit report — will also vary based on which bureau supplied the data.

When checking your credit online, it’s important to note which bureau supplied the credit report and score information. Getting reports from each consumer reporting agency will give you a complete picture of your credit.

All consumers are legally entitled to one free copy of their credit report each year from each bureau. This is thanks to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), an FCRA amendment passed in 2003. In response, the major bureaus created, where individuals can go to request their free annual credit reports from each bureau.

Not Every Score is a FICO Score

The last key piece of information to keep in mind when comparing credit checking sites is the type of score they provide. In addition to your scores varying based on the credit bureau that supplied the data, your credit score will also change depending on which credit scoring model was used to calculate it.

The most frequently used scoring models are those developed by FICO, which itself uses more than two dozen different models when calculating scores. In general, the FICO Score 8 is the most commonly used score, though the auto and credit card industries use industry-specific scores such as the FICO Auto Score 8 and the FICO Bankcard Score 8, respectively.

In general, free credit score offers providing a true FICO credit score will only provide your FICO Score 8 from a single credit bureau. The only way to receive all of your FICO scores, including the industry-specific scores and variations for each credit bureau, is to purchase them directly from FICO through

Score for credit card

This table from myFICO shows the various FICO models used to generate consumer credit scores.

For the most part, the free credit scores you’ll receive from online companies will not actually be FICO scores of any type. Instead, the average free offer will provide a credit score based on the VantageScore 3.0 model, which was created by the three major credit bureaus to create a more consistent score.

The VantageScore model uses many of the same credit factors to calculate your score as the FICO model, but your FICO and VantageScore credit scores are unlikely to be exactly the same. A VantageScore generated credit score is still a good indication of your overall credit health.

In some cases, you may also come across an entirely different credit score type, based on a scoring model from a third-party or small scoring agency. Often referred to as educational credit scores, these scores are rarely used by lenders but, if based on your credit report data, can still be a good way to get a feel for your credit situation.

Best Sites for Checking Your Credit (No Membership Fees)

All of the companies on our list are actually free — and that means credit-card-free, too. While a few of our picks may offer some paid products, none of them require a paid membership to access your free score.

Each site on the list offers a totally free credit score from at least one credit bureau, and many of them also provide your credit report for free. To get the most accurate and complete picture of your credit, you may want to consider signing up for multiple sites; with the right combination of free offers you could end up with reports and scores from all three major bureaus without spending a dime.

Likely the most recognizable on the list, Credit Karma was founded in 2007 with the mission to help consumers feel more confident about their finances. The site uses affiliate advertising to keep its services free, meaning when you purchase a product recommended to you by Credit Karma, the site receives a commission from the product seller.

Score for credit card

Credit Karma offers free credit scores and reports based on both TransUnion and Equifax bureau data.

Credit Karma users can access both their TransUnion and Equifax credit reports through the site complete with credit monitoring that alerts them to changes. Users can also track their credit scores for each bureau, calculated using the VantageScore 3.0 model. Credit Karma reports and scores can be updated weekly and never impact your credit. In addition, everything can be accessed through the Credit Karma mobile app wherever you are.

Started in 2009 to provide straightforward tools and honest advice, NerdWallet also stays free through affiliate compensation. According to the site, “In some cases, we receive compensation when someone clicks to apply, or gets approved for a financial product through our site. However, this in no way affects our recommendations or advice. We’re on your side, even if it means we don’t make a cent.”

Score for credit card

NerdWallet users get a credit report and score based on TransUnion data and the VantageScore 3.0 model.

Users who sign up for NerdWallet will receive free access to their TransUnion credit report and credit score, updated weekly. As with Credit Karma, NerdWallet credit scores are calculated using the VantageScore 3.0 model. The site also offers free credit monitoring with alerts, as well as credit score goals and a credit simulator to make it easy to stay on track.

While the sites on the rest of the list are made up of third-party companies, is actually owned and operated by Experian, one of the three major US consumer credit bureaus. Through, users can sign up for a free Experian Membership, no credit card or payment information required.

Score for credit card is owned and operated by Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus.

Your Experian Membership comes with a free Experian credit report and free credit monitoring alerts. It will also provide a free credit score, updated every 30 days on sign-in. is the only one on the list that offers a legitimate FICO score, calculated using Experian data according to the FICO Score 8 credit model.

Founded in 2008 to increase credit awareness, Quizzle was acquired by popular personal finance site Bankrate in 2015. Where most of the sites on the list use affiliate relationships to pay for the free services they offer, Quizzle provides its free score and report as the starter package for their more advanced paid features.

Score for credit card

Bankrate subsidiary Quizzle’s free credit score is based on TransUnion credit bureau data.

While users won’t need to use a credit card to access the free offerings, many of the neater tools, such as the credit timeline, will require purchasing a paid package. Quizzle offers credit reports from TransUnion, as well as VantageScore 3.0 credit scores based on TransUnion credit report data. The free package allows users to access an updated report and score every three months.

A segment of the major financial technology company, Inuit, Mint offers free credit scores as part of its bill tracking and budgeting package. The services are completely free and can be accessed through the website and mobile application. Mint stands out from the others on the list as the only company offering a free credit score calculated using a proprietary Equifax scoring model.

Score for credit card

Mint offers users a free credit score and report summary based on Equifax data.

According to the site, “The credit score provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use.” In addition to your Equifax Credit Score, Mint also provides a credit report summary based on your Equifax credit report. While not your complete report, the summary can be a good way to get a snapshot of your credit. Scores and report summaries are updated once a month.

Credit Sesame was founded in 2010 as a source for consumer credit tools and information. As with many of the others on the list, Credit Sesame is able to provide free services through affiliate partnerships that provide a commission when users purchase products recommended to them by the site.

Score for credit card

Free credit score and credit report cards from Credit Sesame use TransUnion data.

Also similar to some of the other picks, Credit Sesame uses TransUnion data to provide its free monthly credit score and credit report card. The site also offers free credit monitoring and alerts, to track changes to your TransUnion credit report.

Possibly the oldest on the list, was started in 1995 to provide expert information about credit. Using similar affiliate income as other sites, offers users free credit scores and report cards as well as other products.

Score for credit card scores use the VantageScore 3.0 model and Experian credit data.

While the credit score provided by is calculated using the VantageScore 3.0 model used by many others on the list, the site doesn’t actually base that score on your TransUnion data. Instead, uses your Experian credit report to provide your free credit score and credit report card.

Your Credit Card May Already Provide Your Score

At the end of the day, you may not want to discount your credit card entirely when it comes to getting a free credit score. One of the latest trends in credit card perks is actually to provide you with a free monthly credit score on your credit card statement. This sweet perk isn’t limited to top-tier cards, either. A variety of subprime issuers offer solid credit cards with free credit scores.

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Your credit score — that, single, all-important number — has an enormous impact on your financial future.

But too many people don’t understand how this number is formulated or how their actions will help or hurt their score, especially when it comes to credit cards. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, just more than 70 percent of Americans have a credit card, and the average person has more than $4,700 in credit card debt.

These figures show that we are a nation struggling to use credit wisely. For consumers to get to this point, they must understand how every downward swipe affects their creditworthiness. Here’s a primer on how credit cards affect your credit score:

Understanding your credit score

Your credit score, often referred to as your FICO Score, is comprised of several components: Your payment history (35 percent); current debts (30 percent); length of your credit history (15 percent); new credit applications (10 percent); and your credit mix (10 percent), or the varied accounts you have, including credit cards, loans, retail accounts or a mortgage.

Credit utilization — or the amount of available credit you have compared to what you’ve used — also impacts your score. For example, if you have $50,000 in available credit spread across five credit cards, but you’ve nearly maxed out all those cards, your credit utilization is high and that will ding your score.

To ensure your credit score is maximized, the best thing you can do is get a copy of your credit report. You are entitled to a free report each year from each of the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax). Once you review your report, you’ll have a better idea of how credit cards are impacting your score. Too much credit card debt, not paying your bills on time and opening new accounts all could hurt your score, so examine the report for these trends and craft a plan to address them — either by paying down debt, setting up automatic payments or by relying on one main credit card rather than multiple accounts.

How does applying for a credit card affect your credit score

New credit applications account for 10 percent of your credit score, but it’s important to know that applying for one single credit card won’t affect your rating in any meaningful way.

There’s no real way to gauge exactly how much of a hit your credit score will take if you apply for one card because the exact methods for how FICO scores are calculated are a mystery to most of the consumer credit market. Nobody, except perhaps a few select people at the credit bureaus, know exactly how much a credit score is affected by applying for one solitary card. But honestly, it isn’t much.

The problem comes about when you start applying for multiple credit cards in a short period of time. To the credit bureaus, it starts to look as if you’re in financial trouble if you suddenly appear to want, say, six credit cards. If at about the same time, you try to get a loan for a house or car, even if your score doesn’t go down much, a lender may look at your recent streak of applying for multiple credit cards and get very, very nervous.

Why? The lender has to allow for the possibility that you’ll max them all out because you’re short on cash. And if you have financial trouble, will you be able to pay off the new loan or will your cash be going toward all these credit cards? Therefore, applying for multiple cards in a short time frame can cause your credit score to take a hit or cause a lender to deny you a loan despite a robust credit score.

It’s a bit unfair because you may have some perfectly good reasons for wanting more credit cards at once — for example, you feel that it’s time you got a gas card, and it just so happens that you recently opened up a restaurant and need a good business card and you plan to stretch your income with a rewards card, and so on. You may easily be able to pay everything back, but if your behavior imitates some of the worst behaviors out there, bureaus and lenders may just assume the worst.

How comparison shopping affects your credit score

Before you apply for a credit card, it’s a good idea to shop around. Simply browsing online credit card offers won’t hurt your credit score if you’re just window shopping and deciding what’s most important to you — the biggest rewards or the lowest interest rate.

However, actually filling out an application and turning it in? That can affect your credit score.

Here’s why: When you apply for a credit card, you’re applying for a line of credit. Too many new lines of credit can bring down your credit score and negatively affect your ability to get additional credit. In other words, the more cards you apply for in a short period of time, the less likely you are to be approved. Applying for a credit card isn’t something you should do lightly. You’re really announcing your intention to draw on the new line of credit. If you do obtain a new card and then decide you don’t want it, you can simply cut it up and not use it. You shouldn’t necessarily cancel the card right away as your length of credit history does impact your credit score (more on this below).

Another way applying for multiple credit cards hurts you is that it results in new credit inquiries. Inquiries on your credit report fall into two broad categories:

A «soft pull» happens when a company you’re already dealing with wants to pre-qualify you for a new credit card, a credit line increase on an existing account or another kind of business proposal. Because they’re initiating the inquiry without your specific request, soft pulls don’t impact your credit score.

A «hard pull» happens when you apply for a new credit card, personal line of credit, mortgage or auto loan. Some other financial services can result in hard pulls, like certain insurance policies or student loan requests. These inquiries do impact your credit score since you’ve initiated them for, in theory, a new line of credit or some other reason likely to impact your financial situation.

Banks and credit bureaus use a variety of credit-scoring algorithms, so activity on your account could cause a score from one source to stay about the same, while another source reports a significant drop. In general, the following ground rules apply:

Credit scores include a grace period for «rate shopping» on major secured loans. For instance, when you’re looking for a home or a new car, consolidate all of your applications and pre-qualification requests into a two-week period.

On the other hand, credit cards and other unsecured lines of credit count as separate requests against your credit score. A credit reporting agency doesn’t know whether you’re replying for a balance transfer offer or attempting to increase your overall credit, so scoring models interpret both actions the same way.

Activity across all of your accounts helps determine the impact of a hard pull on your credit score. If you’re making regular monthly minimum payments across all of your open accounts and your credit utilization remains low, a single hard pull won’t cause much impact. You might only notice a drop of a point or two, and even that will go away after you open your new account. You’ll feel a more profound drop if you’ve maxed out any of your cards or if you’re running behind. Banks could see applying for a new line of credit as a sign of heightened risk. And multiple hard pulls over the course of a few months could seriously squeeze your score — banks could assume that you’re trying to rack up new debt because of unemployment or illness, even if you’re just trying to consolidate your existing balances.

Therefore, time your credit card applications wisely. Remember that instant-approval credit card offers almost always result in hard pulls that can drop your score. Compare credit card deals online, then apply for the best account you can find at a time when a temporary dip in your score won’t impact your home loan rate, your insurance premium or your employment prospects.

What about too many credit cards?

Too many credit cards, or too many of the same kind of credit card, can pull dozens of points from your FICO score. New credit scoring models from the major credit reporting agencies can penalize you even more for having too many accounts.

The complex recipe for a high credit score involves managing the right mix of different types of credit cards and other personal credit accounts. According to FICO, the company that helped invent some of the most popular consumer credit scoring models, a high credit score reflects well-maintained accounts from these five categories:

Consumer finance accounts (car loans, for example)

The right blend of debt can account for as much as 10 percent of your credit score. Even though FICO and other scoring agencies don’t explicitly penalize you for having too many credit cards, multiple accounts can leave you vulnerable to losing points in a few ways:

Too many new accounts. As we previously mentioned, saying «yes» to every credit card offer online or at the checkout counter makes banks nervous that you’ll eventually overextend yourself.

Trouble keeping track of all your credit cards. Staying on top of a dozen different due dates can tax your brain power — and your wallet. Missed payments directly impact your credit score, and it’s easy to lose a statement or forget a deadline when you’re juggling too many bills.

Accounts show too little activity. You might consider yourself a big game hunter of credit card deals, but banks may start to wonder why you’re hoarding accounts you don’t use.

Lack of bank loyalty. Lenders hope you’ll stay with them for a long time, so credit scores reward consumers who exhibit long-term commitments to the same banks. Having lots of lenders on your credit report actually ends up hurting more than helping your credit score, even if you’ve managed your debt responsibly.

Remember that you can use changes in your credit score to your advantage. For instance, a great balance transfer credit card offer does you the most good when you’re more than a year away from making a change to your housing or insurance situations. Achieving great credit utilization and routine account activity can help you offset the damage from having too many credit cards.

How to maintain a good credit score

You can maintain a solid credit score by being smart about your credit card usage. First, limit the amount of credit cards you apply for and the amount of accounts you open. Some consumers get in trouble when it comes to retail accounts, especially. They open multiple store credit cards just to take advantage of that day’s discount offer. Don’t fall into that trap. Stick to retail card accounts for your favorite stores or avoid them altogether.

Always pay your credit card bill on time and, if you’re able, in full every month. Using too much of your available credit will leave you with a high credit utilization ratio, and that will hurt your score. Try to pay off debt as fast as possible, either by transferring high-interest rate credit card debt to a card with a lower interest rate or by cutting back expenses or earning more income to pay off debt faster. Another important thing to note: Never close any long-term accounts, as the length of your credit history accounts for 15 percent of your overall score. Instead, pay down the balance on your credit cards and leave the accounts open. You can cut up the cards to reduce the temptation to use them or you can save them for smaller expenses every so often so these accounts remain active.

Credit cards are a valuable financial tool that can boost your credit score if you make consistent on-time payments and don’t carry multiple accounts with high balances. However, they can be an albatross around your neck and impact your creditworthiness if you don’t leverage them properly. Don’t fall into the latter category — your financial future will be all the better for it.

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