Too Few Bank Revolving Accounts can cost a few points

If you have ever been denied credit because you have “too few bank revolving accounts,” my response is “Congratulations!” You have so far avoided the head first plunge into credit card debt.

That being said, you may be unable to obtain certain lines of credit. Some types of revolving credit accounts may require that you demonstrate your creditworthiness through proper use of other revolving debt.

“Too Few Bank Revolving Accounts” Credit Score Risk Factor Codes
Equifax 3
Experian 3
TransUnion Not Factored
NextGen R4

The good news is that this type of error message is usually limited to major credit transactions. It is possible to see this as a result of a mortgage application. You may also see it in response to an attempt to open a major line of credit or an elite credit card.

Certain higher profile lenders will require that you have proven that you can handle revolving debt responsibly before they are willing to approve your application for one of their accounts. In the case of a mortgage lender, you might find that having at least one or two major credit cards in good standing will strengthen your credit and improve your chances for approval.

If you are looking to open a major credit account and think that opening a revolving account or two will help, think again. It takes a minimum of 2 years of active reporting before a major credit card will provide any meaningful benefit to your credit scores.

Credit bureaus reward long-term use of credit accounts. In fact, about 15% of your credit score is composed of information about your account duration. This longevity of credit history is what allows for your scores to increase higher than the average scores.

Opening a revolving account months before applying for a mortgage is a mistake. If you did not already open the line of credit previously, then it is too late to do so right before applying for your mortgage.

Simply applying for a new credit account will lower your credit scores. It can take at least 2 years before that account is considered “seasoned” by the credit bureaus. Until then, you will not see any real benefit to your credit by having the account.

Store cards can build some credit, but they provide a fraction of the benefit of major credit cards. How many bank cards do you need? One or two major credit cards is usually all you need in addition to installment loans to provide a good mix of credit.

Too few bank or national revolving accounts is Code 3 on Equifax and Experian credit scoring products. TransUnion does not include this factor in its scoring products. Code R4 applies on NextGen scoring products. For more information about credit scoring, see the complete list of credit score factors.

Kenneth Long
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Kenneth Long

President at Debtors Unite
Kenneth Long is President of Debtors Unite, Inc. as well as President and Vice Chairman for Vision Credit Education, Inc. He served as a regional coordinator for the North Carolina Saves campaign. Long co-founded the Wake EITC Coalition along with Family Resource Center of Raleigh.

Long is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Industrial Relations. He subsequently received his Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. His Certificate in Financial Planning was issued by Florida State University.

Long has achieved the Accredited Credit Counselor and Accredited Financial Counselor certifications through the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education. Long originally achieved the Certified Credit Counselor designation through the National Institute for Financial Education.

In addition to years of nonprofit leadership, Long has been an innovator in the field of volunteer tax return preparation programs. He assists volunteer associations and nonprofit organizations who seek to integrate credit counseling and asset-building programs with free personal income tax preparation. His approach to using free credit reports as both an incentive and a screening tool for placement into asset-building programs has been shared with members of the National Community Tax Coalition, the EITC-Carolinas Initiative of MDC, Inc. and nonprofit groups across the Carolinas.

Long assists members of our armed forces in the Carolinas, Iowa, Rhode Island, Georgia and Germany with financial readiness. Please support our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors!

Favorite quote:

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson
Kenneth Long
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