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Why “cash-only” is for the birds

By Philip Tirone

Here is a big myth: It’s better to be a cash-only citizen and shred all your credit cards.

The truth is that you need credit cards if you want to have a high credit score. The bureaus give the best scores to people who have between three and five cards.

If you do not have at least three cards, they do not have enough information to judge your spending and payment behavior, so they give you a low score. Better safe than sorry, they think.

If you have no credit cards and operate on a cash-only basis, you are going to be in for a world of hurt down the road when you decide to buy a house, rent a condo, or lease a car.

Fact: You need credit to build credit. 

If you have anything lower than a 720 credit score, and you have fewer than three cards, here is an easy way to increase your score: Apply for new credit cards. Then wait six months, and your score will start to improve.

Click here for a list of cards we have found for people who want to build their score quickly. These cards report to all three credit bureaus as well as report your proper credit limit to the bureaus.

Only cards that report to all three bureaus—Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian—will help your score. Here are a couple of links to card offers that definitely report to all three bureaus:

1) Best credit card offers for people with credit scores below 550.
2) Best credit card offers for people with credit scores that fall between 550 and 719.

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