Step Two: Have the Right Number of Credit Cards.

Credit bureaus give higher scores to people with at least three revolving accounts, which include major credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards.

Preferably, you should have no more than five credit cards. Two is not enough, six it too many—three to five is just right.

Three things to keep in mind about opening credit cards:

  • Do not open retail store credit cards. Because you must limit the number of credit cards you carry to just three to five, do not waste one of them on a card you can only use in one store. You might be tempted to open a retail store credit card so you can save 15 percent on the day’s purchases, an offer many department stores make. Resist this temptation! The amount of money you will pay in interest will far exceed the one-time savings.
  • One of the many things you can do to recover from bad credit is to consider opening a secured credit card. Lenders that offer secured credit cards will require you to make a deposit that is equal to or more than your limit, thereby guaranteeing the bank that you will repay the loan. If you do not make your monthly payment, the deposit will be applied to your balance, and your credit score will drop.
  • If you must open new credit cards, open them all at once. A big part of the credit-scoring formula is the age of your accounts. Each time you open a new account, the average age is lowered. For this reason, open all the cards at once and get it over with! Though your score will initially drop, it will be better off in the long run.

If your credit score is below 550, you can apply for credit cards here.

If your credit score is between 550 and 719, apply for credit cards here.

If your credit score is above 720, apply for credit cards here.

If you have more than five credit card accounts, do not close them extra accounts. Most credit experts agree that once you have opened the excess accounts, the damage is done. In fact, closing these credit cards might hurt your score and will never help it.