Do gas/fuel cards and store cards count for scoring? Or should they be avoided?

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takeshi
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Postby takeshi » Mon Nov 10, 2014 9:09 am

Cre wrote:There are no Chevron, Shell, or Mobil type gas cards listed in their signatures. Nor are there any Macy's, Nordstrom's, or Sear's cards listed either.

What is the significance behind this omission?

Already addressed above but I'm in a similar situation to those cited in the OP and there's just no benefit to having a gas or store card for me. I use the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards card for gas since it is 5% at any pump with no limit and rewards automatically credited each month. Additionally, if you look at this page on this very site you'll notice that no gas company cards are listed and some reasons stated above are mentioned as well:
http://creditcardforum.com/content/gas-credit-cards-6/

I don't shop enough at a single store to make any store card worthwhile. For select department stores my BCP gives me 3% and it covers all the department stores I could want but I'm not a big department store shopper.

Cre wrote:Do gas/fuel cards and store cards count for scoring?

They do but scoring isn't all that matters.


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Vattené
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Postby Vattené » Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:01 pm

Pardon the long post - just wanting to share my experience. I don't have too much to add that hasn't been covered already, but I do want to say that this has been my strategy (even if it wasn't very deliberate starting out). I started collecting store cards when I got into college mainly for the one-time upfront discounts but also to establish some type of credit early on. I didn't have a car loan, student loans, or any other type of debt.

My naiveté made me completely dismiss regular credit cards. Those were only for people that were in debt and didn't have the money in their account to spend $5.00 at McDonalds! I paid no attention to rewards. I know I saw ads for cards that earned "miles" all the time, but I was a teenager and never flew so what good could they do me? I didn't even realize there was a grace period for interest and, as long as you always PIF, using credit cards didn't cost you a penny. In fact, if you had a card with rewards, you effectively got a 1% discount (at bare minimum) on all spending! If I caught on earlier, I would have gone for a prime card (or the student version of a prime card).

I did get the Walmart card specifically for the gas discount. I had been using prepaid Walmart cards for $.03 off a gallon since I was 16 and the credit card got you $.05 off. I still use it for gas when I can't get any better than 1%. I got the Banana Republic card when I was ~21 and didn't realize I was signing up for a Visa card I could use anywhere. It had a rewards program and I finally caught on that if I used a credit card for everything and didn't let it affect my spending, then I could get a lot more out of it. My search for a prime card lead me to this forum (I decided on Discover for my first) and introduced me to this world of credit card rewards and actively managing credit scores.

I'm a big advocate of store cards just for establishing credit. Why tie up money for a secured card (many of which come with an AF as well) when store cards are about as easy to get - at least for people building, I can't speak for those rebuilding? I don't have much use for them now, but they got my credit to where it is today. Would my credit score be higher if I went for a prime card earlier and didn't collect so many store accounts? Perhaps - I can't say. However, my credit score is still decent for my age. I purchased a new car shortly after college and got the best rate the dealership offered for the model. I can't praise them enough for people starting out.
-Vattené
FICO-8:
EX - 827 (4/17) | TU - 812 (4/17)
Primary Cards:
American Express EveryDay - $20,000 (10/14)
Discover it - $23,000 (2/14)
AU on Barclay Sallie Mae - $10,000 (8/15)
plus several store accounts of varying usefulness now

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Xorand
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Postby Xorand » Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:40 pm

Responding to Cre's remembering the old days of all the old credit cards, I have a good story from my senior year in high school.

At the time, my Mother couldn't drive, so I was the family chauffeur. I drove to school so I could leave right away and pick her up to take her to work in the evenings. Since I was pretty much the only one driving the main family car, Mom just left our Texaco card with me to make sure the car always had gas.

One Monday morning, several of us decided to skip school. Since I had the car, I was the designated driver. We drove all over the place. At one point, I realized we were low on gas, so I filled up at a Texaco station about 30 miles from home. Cre probably remembers the old credit card impression machines they used in the day.

Well, little known to me, my Mom went through every credit card bill in fine detail. She called me in one day to ask why I was at a town 30 miles away from home on a particular day. I figured my indiscretion had been discovered. To stall for time, I asked what day it was? She looked at the bill, then at her calendar and said it was on a Sunday. Turns out the gas station hadn't yet rolled the date over on the impression machine.

The town where I fueled up was one where my buddy and I would often go on Sundays to fly his R/C airplane, so that was the excuse I used and Mom accepted it. I told her years later about the incident and we both just laughed. She probably wouldn't have been too upset at the time if I had told the truth.
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Cre
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Postby Cre » Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:15 am

That's a great story Xorand... I remember those triplicate forms well. I also remember when stores began asking for a driver's license, and then wrote the number down on the triplicate after they made the impression from the card. Then they would pull the black carbon ink sheets from the triplicate form (before the forms became self inking) and throw the carbon ink sheets away. Later, thieves would go through the store garbage, mining a handy collection of carbon ink sheets that had our name, credit card number, and driver's license all on one sheet. In my state, the practice of merchants demanding to write down the driver's license number on the triplicate was finally outlawed in 1983 or so. I remember feeling a sigh of relief at that announcement.
Current Cards:
AmEx Platinum Charge: NPSL, $450 AF
AmEx Reserve Credit: $30K limit, $450 AF
Chase Slate Visa Credit: $32K limit, No AF
Future Strategy:
Near Term: Need a good MasterCard for places that won't accept AmEx or Visa
Long Term: Will downsize out of one or both current AmEx cards to reduce AFs

Cre
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Postby Cre » Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:43 pm

@Vattene: Thanks for your post! It wasn't too long at all, and your story about how you used store cards to build a credit history when you were quite young offers a terrific example and strategy for folks to consider, if building credit from scratch is their goal.
Current Cards:
AmEx Platinum Charge: NPSL, $450 AF
AmEx Reserve Credit: $30K limit, $450 AF
Chase Slate Visa Credit: $32K limit, No AF
Future Strategy:
Near Term: Need a good MasterCard for places that won't accept AmEx or Visa
Long Term: Will downsize out of one or both current AmEx cards to reduce AFs



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