PlyrStar93 wrote:Pay bills on time, never late, keep your utilization low and basically that would be it.
When in some time you have a high utilization, just keep it low later on, and your score should raise over time. A "low" utilization should be very low, but greater than zero. You can realize this by paying before statement cuts, which is what you are doing, just need to keep a small amount owed and after statement you can pay that part off. Your 10% is good enough, though.
Utilization matters only when you're applying for things. If you're not going to apply for things, there's no reason to play silly fico games, and pay before your statement is cut.
If you do it for non-silly-fico-game reasons, that's okay. I sometimeas spend my own money for business expenses, and it makes my accounting easier if I pay the reimbursed amount as soon as I get it, regardless of what the card's cycle is. With a low limit card, and reasonable income, you might spend more than the limit in a month, and want to pay for that.
Once you've had the BoA secured card for six months, and it's been reporting for at least that long, then you can play the utilization game, get it to report a small balance, and apply for something else. Discover has a reputation for liking people that have decent credit, but short history, and no other big limits. (Discover also look at all sorts of non-traditional credit history, which isn't ever talked about on forums, and which you won't have, as a newcomer to the US, so they may not be the best bet.)
Also: did you have an Amex card back home? They have a program where they will consider your history with them abroad when issuing a US card. Amex also likes to see income, and might give you a charge card with your score and income.
Credit Karma's score is pretty meaningless; it's not a score that's heavily used by real lenders, and it's weird about new accounts. CK is very handy to see that things are reporting properly, and to get an idea when the reported data hits your file, so you use that information when applying for something else.