Ask The Experts: Charge Cards, Credit Cards & Your FICO Score

I'm an old guy and credit "per se" is not very important for me. However when I watch your show you folks seem focused on the FICO and as much as I dislike that, it apparently influences the rates I pay on car and house insurance (for example).

All guys my age carry around old green AMex cards and a Sears card. The AMex is of course a "charge card" and any balance is paid each month so probably has little FICO influence. However, even though I treat my Sears card the same way (seldom use it and pay any balance when due) it is actually a credit (Citi) card. It has a high interest rate, which doesn't matter because I don't carry any balance, and an extremely high limit. I really don't need the card (only carry it because all us baby boomers do) and always wonder when you guys talk FICO if it is helping or hurting my score. Whaddayathink?!!!
-Bud, MI

Hi Bud, normally I don't generalize but you just described my father spot on!! Amex card, Sears card opened in 1956, no balances on any of them. I wonder if it's a generational thing. I don't know many "old guys" who carry a lot of debt.

My bet is your FICO scores are all in the 800 plus range. If you're anything like dad then your credit is probably rock solid. As such, your insurance premiums are probably very good.

But hey, let's not leave any room for error. Whip out that green AMex card and get two of your FICO scores at

I'm thinking 809 and 806.

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John Ulzheimer is a nationally recognized credit expert, president of Consumer Education for and contributor to On The Money. Learn more about him at CreditExpertWitness.comor email him your question here.