What is the quickest way to build credit?

For just about anything you want to get off your chest about credit cards.
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What is the quickest way to build credit?

Postby cala219 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:28 pm

Hi all,

I am originally from Australia and been living in the states for the past year. I have been paying a car loan off for the last 7 months (I have a co-signer) which has helped my credit. All the payments have been made on time.

Since I had a car loan I thought it would be very easy for me to get approved for a credit card however, this is not the case. I have applied for 2 credit cards both from Capital One. The first time I applied, I did not do my research at all and didn't really understand how it worked and chose a card that was definitely going to be declined. The second application was for the Capital One Platinum – in the description it listed foreigners and it had a very high interest rate, I also received a pre approval letter in the mail, so i was pretty certained I would be approved. However, Today I received a letter stating it had been declined.

So now im wondering what my best option would be.

Option 1
I bank with Wells Fargo, so I was thinking about getting a secured credit card with them, I have been banking with them ever since i moved here so I was hoping that my banking history would play into being graduated to a unsecured card.

Option 2
I have read about the Orchard secured card so I was thinking about applying for this.

  • As I only just applied for a unsecured credit card no longer then 2 weeks ago, would it be a bad idea to apply for a secured credit card?
  • If opening a secured credit card is the best option, what card would best suit? How long does it usually take to graduate? Is it more beneficial to have a higher collateral?

I really need some good advice on how to best go about building my credit further. My transunion credit score is 597. Please help me with a good plan to build my credit quickly.


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Postby Celestine » Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:37 pm

Are you a US Citizen now, legal permanent resident, or just visiting the US?

I would go for option 1. If Wells Fargo approves you for their secure credit card, then it will be easier for you to pay the balance since the secure credit card is issued from your bank.

Go for option 2 if Wells Fargo declines your application.

Having or getting approved for a car loan does not necessarily mean that you will get approved for non-secured credit card; especially with your credit score of 597.

There is really no "fast track" to build a good credit. Building a good credit takes time.

  • Pay your car loan on time; NEVER miss or be late in paying the amount due
  • If you have other loans, then pay those on time, NEVER miss or be late in the payment
  • Maintain a good/decent savings/checking account balance (this one is most of the time overlooked)
"Nearly all men can handle adversity, but if you really want to test a man's character - give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

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Postby Grupet » Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:14 am

Here is my story...

I came to the US in 2008 from Denmark and got my permanent residency 6 month later. I had no credit history when i came her, i was what they called a ghost.

The first 6 month i didn't do anything, just used cash, my danish credit card, borrowed my wife's car and so on. When i got my permanent residency, (6 month later) the first thing i did was getting a SSN, then i went to get a driving license, but that wasn't as easy as i thought. I have a danish and a international driving license, so i thought that would give me a New York license, but nope, i had to go for a written test, a driving test an some classes.

After i got my driving license, i went to lease a car, but again that wasn't easy without a credit history, so with a lot of work and help from family (my wife's side of the family) it happened and i got a very expensive lease deal which my father in law co-signed.

Then i went to apply for credit card, but i got denied everything i tried. I even tried some store cards (home depot and so on) but got denied. I then went to my bank and asked for a secure credit card, and got approved (with a lot of paper work) and put $2000 in a secured account. I made sure to use it a little every month, and made sure to pay it off in full and on time every month. The same with my car lease, I was never late with any payment.

After using the secure credit card for about 12-18 month, i started to get credit card applications in the mail, but was only gonna apply for the ones that said "your been pre-approved" and when i got a "you been pre-approved for an American Express Gold Card" i applied and got approved (that was in 2010). I then went to my bank and told them that i think it's time to get a regular credit card, and they agreed, and i got approved for a Platinum Master Card. I then canceled my secure credit card. I also applied for a Macy's store card and got approved and a little later i applied for a Citi Diamond Preferred Master Card (again, that was one of those "you been pre-approved" i got in the mail) and got approved for that as well.

Last year, my lease was up, and i went to get a new lease from the same dealer, this time without a problem and without any co-signing from family.
Also last year, i got another "you been pre-approved for a American Express Platinum Card", which i applied for and got approved.

I don't know what my credit score is, but i guess it's pretty good.
I'm self employed, but don't make a lot of money.

That's my story...
American Express Platinum
HSBC Platinum Master Card
Citi Diamond Preferred Master Card

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Postby cala219 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:49 pm

Thanks Celestine & Grupet.

Celestine, I went into Wells Fargo and got a secured credit card, it took around 5 minutes and was approved straight away with no hassel which is great. Im going to stick with that to build my credit.

Grupet, sounds like you had a bit of a tough time. I am legal permanent resident. I made sure I got a SSN the first week when I arrived a year ago and also got a liscence and opened bank accounts that week too. Getting a car loan wasn't too much of a problem for me. Now that I have a car loan and secured credit card hopefully, i will be able to graduate to a unsecured credit in 12 months.

Thanks again guys.

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