DEFINITION of 'Credit Mix'

The types of accounts that make up a consumer’s credit report. Credit mix determines 10% of a consumer’s FICO score. The different types of credit that might be part of a consumer’s credit mix include credit cards, student loans, automobile loans and mortgages. Credit mix has a larger impact on your score if there isn’t much information in your credit file than if there’s lots of other information in your credit file.

BREAKING DOWN 'Credit Mix'

While having a mix of different types of credit can have a positive impact on your credit score, FICO (and common sense) cautions that you shouldn’t apply for loans or credit cards you don’t need in an attempt to improve this component of your credit score. Not only is credit mix a small part of your credit score, but opening new accounts also affects other aspects of your credit score, such as the length of your credit history, amounts owed and number of new accounts.

In addition, there’s no way for you to tell ahead of time exactly how a certain action will affect your credit score because your score depends on the unique information in your credit report. Taking out an auto loan might have a larger effect on one consumer’s score than another’s depending on how long each consumer’s credit history is, how much other credit they have available, how much debt they have and their payment history. What’s more, creditors don’t always report every account to every credit bureau, so opening a new account to try to get a better credit mix might end up making no difference in your score. Still, FICO says that consumers with responsibly managed credit cards in their credit mix tend to have higher scores than consumers with no credit cards in their credit mix.

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