Trying to get my first card, not having success

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Trying to get my first card, not having success

Postby qweasdzxc » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:07 pm

I've been out of university for a couple of years, and I'm trying to get my first credit card. Here are my vitals:

-US citizen since birth

-I've been an authorized user on my parents American Express account since age 18. I otherwise have no credit history.

-All three credit reports (payment history from the AX account, though they are my reports) are spotless

-I am employed, and though I make less than 15k per year, I have many times that in investments (I factor the gains in with my income on applications), checking, and savings (I have never overdrawn at the bank, etc.).

-Somehow my FICO score is ~715

So over the past few months I have applied to several cards, including my bank's card, and the Chase Amazon rewards card. All have been denials. Perhaps I made a mistake by not calling their reconsideration lines. At any rate, I'm at a loss.

I really don't want to get a secured card and have to pay fees to build credit unless I have to (it's not much, but it's the principle of the thing). Besides, it's said that the average credit card debt in this country is around $15,000. Am I to understand that all of these people started out with secured cards, build credit responsibly for a year or two, and then took on massive debt as soon as they got their hands on unsecured credit lines? Not likely.

I will concede, however, that my prospects are looking grim. Is there a way out of the woods for me without taking the secured card route? Did I err in any way? Is there any more information that y'all need to properly assess my situation?

Thank you in advance -- the work you all do here is very helpful :)

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Postby CSMB » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:52 pm

Im not one of the people who gives a lot of advice on the forum as im new to it also, but I was in a similar situation so I know your perspective. I'm a couple years out of college and have an entry level corporate income. I got denied the first card I applied to and then didn't want to go secured. I asked my dad to make me a joint account holder on his sapphire, which is different than authorized user. You want to be a joint account holder because it shows on your credit report as equally liable. Chase will let you become a joint account holder by simply filling out a form and sending it back in. They didn't even do a hard check on me. Just get someone you really trust and that really trusts you and become a joint account holder on their card. After 8 months of using that sapphire (my dad just put his copy in the sock drawer) I gained the confidence to apply again. I checked my scores, all above 700 by then, and applied and got approved for the discover it and citi diamond preferred. If you get a mail offer that has the prescreen opt out notice on it you have a much better chance of approval. That's what I did. Even if you might be able to get a better deal in some ways via other channels, having that invitation number makes a difference and can help get in the door.

Also, I'm not sure, but reporting your investments as income may be a bad idea. You should report what you make. You can recon and tell them about your income, but it might look weird to see a really high income from a young person whose got no credit cards themselves or rents not owns or whatever the case may be.

So yea, maybe try going joint, use the card yourself, keep your utilization below 12% (that's the number I chose), wait at least 6 months, then go for an card that's not a signature or high brow card. Also, you can opt in to getting the mail offers sent to you. Most opt out, but when you're young and trying to get a friggin card (!) I'll opt in all day! That's what I did and it worked for me. Hope that helps.

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Postby MemberSince99 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:13 pm

There is always Capital One, and if that fails, the bottom of the barrel is First Premiere and Credit One, who will approve almost anyone but that's the absolute last resort.

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Postby sakhalin » Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:15 am

How about a store card (non visa/mc version)? I was instantly approved for the Macy's Star Rewards store card before my first credit card even reported to the credit bureaus (I didn't even know it was considered credit at the time, lol...I applied for it cuz I could get $20 off this coat I wanted) . You could get that and buy a pair of socks once in awhile to build credit, and then apply for other cards.
AMEX BCE ($20,000), Citi Forward ($6,800), Discover IT ($5,250), BoA Travel Rewards ($1,800)

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Postby Robrus1 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:46 am

If the joint account thing isn't possible, my suggestion would be to try and get a secured card with whomever you bank with. I'd go into the branch and explain what you're trying to do. Years ago when I was trying to get my first credit card I was with Bank of America. I went to the nearest branch and told them what I was trying to do, and I got a secured card with a $500 limit and paid on time for a year. I believe the card had an annual fee around $30 but it was worth it. After a year of on time payments the card became unsecured and I've never been denied for a card since.
Amex Platinum
Amex BCP 21K
Amex SPG 5K
Barclaycard Arrival Plus WEMC 5K
Chase Sapphire Preferred 23.5K
Credit Union 10K
Discover IT 7.75K

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Postby qweasdzxc » Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:47 am

@CSMB - Thank you for the tip regarding joint accounts. My parents primarily use American Express, and it does not look like they offer such a service, but I will ask them about the auxiliary cards that they use. I'm glad it worked out for you! Also, regarding investments-as-income, I only factor in my expected gains for the year. At first, I wasn't including that at all, but I noticed on most applications that they specify that all factors of personal income, including from investments, can contribute to the number.

@MemberSince99 - Thanks, I'll look into Capital One!

@sakhalin - That's a good idea, too. Even if I don't go to any particular store very often, socks are always on the menu! I'll check out the stats on various store cards.

@Robrus1 - Unfortunately, my bank does not offer a secured card. They are always excited to push their regular card, which they've already denied me for :ppp

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