Please help out a rookie

For just about anything you want to get off your chest about credit cards.
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icewater
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Please help out a rookie

Postby icewater » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:40 pm

Hi guys, love what you are doing here. You are making a difference in a lot of peoples lives.

Although I am not young. I am new to credit due to being afraid of credit cards because of the damage I did to myself in my college age years.

My situation: I am a 35 y.o. single male. I have 1 credit card (a costco American Express) with a $2000 limit on it. I have had it for 2 moths and have put about $800 through it and right now it's paid off. I recently joined credit karma and myfico. My credit karma score is 656 and my myfico from equifax is 742. I gross about 48k a year and I have paid off all my outstanding debts and only have a student loan (full disclosure: loan is in garnishment) and no car note. I also rent and do not have a mortgage.

my question: I need another card, a balance transfer card for about $2000. Specifically for a Best Buy card that has killer interest. I am unsure if my credit score is "good" or "fair" and when searching for cards, most balance transfer cards say "excellent credit" required. I am not sure which card to apply for. I know if I apply and they deny me, it will be harder the next time I apply. So, which card would you apply for in my situation? Hopefully it is one that can become a regular card once the debt is paid off, so I hope there is one that has a pretty good reward program.

I guess as a list what I need is a card that has:

- $2000 limit
- 0% interest for as long as possible on balance transfers
- 3% or less balance transfer fee
- good reward program so I can use it after balance transfer is paid off
- would prefer a visa or mc since I have a amex and discover isn't as widely accepted.

Which card would you in this situation apply for? Should I apply for more than 1 in case one gets denied? Thank you very much in advance!
In My Wallet
American Express True Earnings (($2,000)) Aug '12
Chase Freedom Visa (($3,000)) Dec '12
Discover More (($3,000)) Dec '12
PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards (($7,000)) Dec '12
Amex Blue Cash Everyday (($3,500)) Dec '12
U.S. Bank Cash Plus (($10,500)) Dec '12


randeman
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Postby randeman » Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:16 am

I would apply for a Discover card. From what I read online, they are pretty generous with whom they approve (mid-to-high 600s) and their service is outstanding. Unless you live in or travel overseas a lot, Discover is accepted at about 90% of the merchants that accept Visa and Mastercard. As a matter of fact, since the day I received my Discover card the only place I have found that does not accept Discover is the restaurant that I manage! A start CL of $2000 might be a stretch at first based on your experience, but you never know until you try. I would apply online and hope for an immediate response. You may have to call them to answer a few questions. Just be aware that the garnishment is going to hurt you no matter where you go.
Cards and Credit lines Acquired:

Escape by Discover (7.75K), Barclay Holland America Visa (7K), Macy's store card (7K), Bloomingdale's store card (2.6K), Citi Custom Credit Line (3.5K), PayPal Smart Connect credit line (2.7K), Chase Freedom Visa (5K), Chase United MileagePlus Visa (5K), Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa (6K), Amazon store card (2.2K), Lord & Taylor store card (550), Nordstrom store card (1500), Gold Delta SkyMiles from American Express (3K), Discover It (6.5K), PayPal Credit Line (1K).

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:06 am

I thought of Discover too, BUT to be honest, they tend to be stingy with their CLs. It is not uncommon to see someone with your scores start out with a 2k, maybe a 3k limit. My scores are a lot higher than yours and history is a lot longer, and they gave me 4.5k to start when I have cards that are over 10k.

So you could well get Discover and it's a good card but may not be the best to do a balance transfer on because of how they are with their limits. And if you are carrying a balance for a while, pretty much forget CLIs from them while you are.

The garnishment will make it tough as randeman said. But as always YMMV.

Try your local credit union maybe and see what they can do for you.

hematino
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Postby hematino » Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:53 pm

Icewater,

I agree with what both of the above posters said-- Discover has been making a lot of approvals lately and does have great balance transfer options, but they are often stingy with credit limits and may not approve you for enough of a credit line to transfer to.

Maybe as a third option you might consider Clear by American Express. Clear has no fees for a balance transfer (or anything else), and with your Costco American Express card, you are already in with Amex (although for a short time). As a company, American Express places a lot of value on your history with them and relationship with them, and you may have a higher chance getting approved for this card with enough of a limit to transfer your balance to at 0% for I think 12 months. Also many cards built specifically for BTs don't have rewards programs, but Clear gives 1% rewards in the form of automatically mailed gift cards every $2500 you spend. Hardly an exciting reward structure, but better than nothing.

Chase Slate and Citi Simplicity are two other balance transfer cards you might want to consider if the Clear or a Discover card doesn't do it for you. I was approved for Slate a year and a half ago when I only had two subprime cards in my file and one 60-day late. Not sure what my score was at the time, sorry.
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icewater
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Postby icewater » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:51 am

Thanks guys for the responses. I didn't know my thread needed 6 days to post, so in that time I went ahead and applied for a Chase Freedom card. If I do not get approved, I will try Discover. Please any other suggetions are welcome. So is my credit score "fair" "good" "excellent" or other? I will keep this thread updated with my progress. Thanks again.
In My Wallet
American Express True Earnings (($2,000)) Aug '12
Chase Freedom Visa (($3,000)) Dec '12
Discover More (($3,000)) Dec '12
PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards (($7,000)) Dec '12
Amex Blue Cash Everyday (($3,500)) Dec '12
U.S. Bank Cash Plus (($10,500)) Dec '12

icewater
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Location: salt lake city/utah

Postby icewater » Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:15 pm

OP Update: I got tired of waiting for the approval/denied letter, so I called them up this morning and was APPROVED for a Chase Freedom with a cl of $3000. This will be enough for my balance transfer AND will be very useful once the transfer is paid off, everything I wanted!

Question: Will transferring 2k to this new 3k limit card hurt my credit score? I don't plan on using credit for a while. At least until the balance is paid off. Mostly just curious.

Thanks and I can't wait to start using credit the right way!
In My Wallet
American Express True Earnings (($2,000)) Aug '12
Chase Freedom Visa (($3,000)) Dec '12
Discover More (($3,000)) Dec '12
PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards (($7,000)) Dec '12
Amex Blue Cash Everyday (($3,500)) Dec '12
U.S. Bank Cash Plus (($10,500)) Dec '12

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:36 pm

Congratulations that's a fine card and Chase is good to get in with. Be aware that generally they require a hard pull for CLIs but as always YMMV.

Excellent card and a great bank to have in your corner.

As far as your score, technically yes, however if you aren't applying for anything and Chase is cool with how you handle it, and you do pay it off, no harm done. Just make sure you have paid it down to under 10% and let that report before applying for more credit for best possible score. Some even say 1-4% is "optimal", but I think it gets a little nutso, eventually we are going to see people recommend using EXACTLY to the penny .001% for "optimal" score or something that ridiculous with current trends. Anyway, just get it under 10% and let that report and I'm sure you'll be in great shape.

icewater
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Postby icewater » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:12 pm

I am seeing a lot of regular members in here that has their scores from the different bureaus in their signatures (like Membersince99) Now, since I just had Chase give me a Freedom card and American Express give me a card back in October-ish....how can I get them to give me the score they used? What are the steps to get the Fico's you guys have. I have paid for myfico.com and also paid for Experian "Vantage score" AND paid Equifax for their score but I am still unsure if any of these are FICO or even which scores the two credit cards I ave used. Can anyone help?
In My Wallet
American Express True Earnings (($2,000)) Aug '12
Chase Freedom Visa (($3,000)) Dec '12
Discover More (($3,000)) Dec '12
PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards (($7,000)) Dec '12
Amex Blue Cash Everyday (($3,500)) Dec '12
U.S. Bank Cash Plus (($10,500)) Dec '12

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Snowman
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Postby Snowman » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:31 pm

Honestly, EX does not give out scores anymore, only if the lender or bank pulls them, you can ask them what the score was when they pulled EX. When I applied for my citi card, they told me it was 738 (EX, don't know what it is now.) (they might also tell you what bureau they pulled and what the score was at the time). Some lenders use different variants of the scores (I believe TU04 and TU08, etc). To get your EQ and TU scores, it's the myfico version and that truly what your score is right now. Typically you can see your score after having 6 months of history.

From what I have read, this is what I advise of you to do.

1.) Make all of your payments on time, all the time, and never ever be late.
2.) keep your utilization low. Low meaning under 10 is ideal but always keep under 30%.
3.) Don't apply for cards you really do not need or want, because every inquiry stays for 2 years.
4.) If you can, PIF before the statement date cuts, it will help your score.
5.) try to apply for credit 3-4 times a year, but do it all at once, because whatever score is there right now and Info is the one creditors are going to use when they look at your app. You want to make sure it can be as clean as possible.Wait 6 months if you really need the credit, and a year to help increase your chances and make sure everything looks good before applying.
6.) Don't take out more credit then you need. Some don't like the fact that you have so much available credit.
7.) Adding an installment loan and or mortgage can help your score as long as you make payments on time, and they look at the mix of credit that you have.
Bank Of America: BankAmeriCard Cash Rewards-4.2k
Citi: Forward-4.5k American Airlines Advantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard 9/6/15-4K
Discover: More-7k
Amex BCE.2k- Amex SPG-5k
Chase: Freedom-5kSouthwest Rapid Rewards Plus- 3.6k
Capital one: Venture one-10,000, Visa Signature.

agp
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Postby agp » Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:38 pm

If you need a card for a $2000 balance transfer and 0% interest, then buying credit score definitely should not be on the top of your list. Besides, you already bought your FICO score from myFico, that should be all you need. You know what your average age of account is, you know your baddies, you know your credit utilization percentage, and you already have a FICO score, so your other scores can't be far off from what you can estimate based on what you have. Save your money and pay off your balances first (then you still should not pay for credit scores, not worth the money).

Main Card: Amex Platinum
For gas: Penfed Platinum Cash Rewards
For travel & dining: Chase Sapphire Preferred



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