Q: Will having a credit card with a major issuer help me net a higher score?

A: Most credit scoring models, including the FICO score and VantageScore, don’t award any extra points because your bank or issuer is a big one. They also don’t pay attention to a exclusivity.

“It’s basically meaningless who issues the card,” says John Ulzheimer, CEO of SmartCredit.com. Instead, consumers need to worry about how they well they manage their account.

“A credit card that is old, paid on time, and has a low balance relative to the credit limit is going to help your credit scores equally regardless of whether it's issued by a mega-bank or a single branch credit union,” he says.

But, as with many credit questions, there are a few nuances consumers should be aware of.  First off, a charge card, which requires a balance to be paid off in full at the end of each month, doesn’t affect a credit score in the same way a credit card with a revolving balance would. As MainStreet has previously reported, the card’s balance isn’t factored into your debt utilization ratio, so you could conceivably net a few more points with a traditional credit card, depending on the rest of your credit portfolio.

Secondly, some very small lenders or credit unions may not report to all three of the major credit bureaus. 

“If the account isn't on your credit report then it can't help your score,” Ulzheimer says.

Want to know what affects your credit score? Email your questions to editors@mainstreet.com.

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