My Basics

For just about anything you want to get off your chest about credit cards.
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My Basics

Postby TheChosenOne » Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:55 pm

Hello Everyone,

I am the chosen one, here to relieve everyone of their credit debt. hahaha i wish i could. Okay so i had a bunch of questions i don't know if i should consider them basic or not but i could not find them in the search box and over all i want them in one place. Sorry if i'm repeating. This will be my first post.

So the basics:

Age: 20
Debt: $0 (Other than my cell phone and internet bill)
Credit Cards:
Barclay Rewards Master Card
Barclay Finance Visa
Express Next
Kay Jewelers

I recently applied for the Barclay and Express cards. Kay i had for about 2 years now. I haven't really used my cards yet because i haven't had the time. (I've been stuck in my room studying). I am a student. I've only gotten declined for a best buy card recently.

I highly apologize for being a noob. :oooo If anyone would like to direct me somewhere else i would appreciate the help. I was just hoping that i can get questions answered here right away.

"Excellent Credit is Worth the Effort" right. :ppp (if you aren't getting the quote it's from member Calipso's post"

1. Should i stop applying for credit cards for a little while? Would 6 months be an appropriate interval? Suggestions?
2. Is it okay to have several cards? Good or Bad? Explain please. Is there a limit?
3. What is a person's credit limit? Is it the sum amount of all my credit cards? If it is does it affect credit score or credit worthiness?
5. Where can i get a free or cheap credit score from all three credit bureaus? Will checking my credit score hurt it?
6. If a card is not in use for a long period of time does that have an effect? What if the card gets closed with no use?
7. Is the best way to pay the bill in full during each month? Or is it good to hold a balance but pay in higher increments then that of minimum payments?
8. Suggestions for good cards?
9. ... I had more questions i forgot them as of right now. I just want to build my credit nicely and make sure everything runs smooth.

I would really appreciate if anyone has any suggestions for me or some basic pointers i would really appreciate that.

Thank You for everyone that helps :D

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Postby Rory » Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:40 pm

okay here we go, this is all IMO so anybody else who wants to tackle this do so as you see fit...

1. Right now you have 4 cards, I am estimating you have around 3 inquiries due to the kay jewelers card being two years old and as result that inquiry dropping off of your credit report. You have recently applied for two cards so that doesnt necessarily mean you shouldnt apply for more, but if you are planning to get an apartment or auto loan, you might want to wait. Also applying for a whole bunch of cards in a short period of time can be a warning flag to many credit card companies and they may deny you as such. What are you current limits on all 4 of your cards?

2.Its not good or bad, its all about how you use them and manage your spending. The more cards or "accounts" on your credit report the better but at the same time it can be hard to manage 4 plus cards when youre 20 and you dont want to fall behind even once. The more accounts you have can mean that your average age of accounts (AAoA) increases much faster since you have more than one account reporting but that will take time and initially new accounts will lower your AAoA and hurt your score. Its all about the balance and if you stand to get some sort of benefit from getting a new card beyond having just another account on your credit report. There is no limit to the amount of cards you can have but i have never heard of anyone having more than 30. Its good to have a variety among different credit card companies so that you have some major cards and some standard cards. Major being from banks like Bank of America, Chase, and Amex.

3.A persons credit limit is the amount of spending allocated to you per each card by its issuer. On each cards website it should say somewhere what your spending ability (credit limit) is. It is incredibly important because not only does it show how much each bank trusts you, but also plays a big factor in how your credit score it calculated by its utilization. Credit Utilization is the % of the credit you use per each card you have, so if you spend 100$ on a card with 1000$ credit limit, then you have 10% utilization. Its highly advised to keep your utilization between 10-30% at maximum. Mine is right about 5% right now and top credit scorers have around 7% utilization.

4. Poor lonely skipped 4...

5. There is a few options when it comes to getting free credit scores. is a great site but doesnt give you the real FICO scores that creditor will see when you apply for credit, it is however relatively accurate, but can vary as much as 10-70 points from your FICO scores (50 points lower for me). Next is it is just like credit karma but a bit less in depth and it claims to give you a real Experian score which i am not 100% is FICO or not so most of us here call it a FAKO score. You as a citizen of the US are allowed once a year to access your credit report for free from, it is a site set up by the three credit bureaus and it gives you all the detailed information that is on your credit report. I advise you go there if you have never used it before. Finally if you feel like paying to get a real FICO score you can get scorewatch from for 14.99/mo, it is what I and many members here, use for our monitoring needs.

6. If a card isnt used for a long time the only real repercussion is that the issuer could close the account. If that happens it would still remain on your credit report for 10 years helping your AAoA but after 10 years it would be removed and could hurt your score especially if it was your oldest account. Its best to use each card you have once a month and have at least some use shown on your statement if possible. Otherwise just make sure you use them a few times a year and most likely the account wont be closed.

7. It is always best to pay in full each and every month. Though you can get away fine with just paying the minimum you will be paying absurd interest from day 1 after the due date and it really isnt worth it especially if you are trying to maximize rewards.

8. For you I would suggest either the Chase Freedom, Discover IT or if your scores are good enough a Amex Green. You really want to try and diversify your report with a few major credit cards, but not knowing your scores or current limits does pose a challenge and it would also be helpful to know where the majority of your spending goes.

9. Stay here and i can guarantee it will turn out alot better than if you go it alone. Best of luck and keep us updated and we will be sure to help whenever we can.

Damn that was long, hope it was helpful :)
Amex Zync - NPSL (Cleared up to 25k)
Amex BCE - 12000 limit
Amex BCP - 4200 limit
FIA Rewards Amex- 3500 limit
Chase Freedom - 2000 limit
Chase Slate - 2000 Limit
BoA Cash Rewards Privileges- 3000 limit
Barclaycard Rewards MC - 3000 limit
Discover IT- 3500 limit
Marriott PR- 5000 limit
21 years old with alot of life to spend ;)
Its not about the ending, its about the journey,
just as long as the ending is just as good :cool:

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Postby Snowman » Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:07 pm

Hi Chosen one, I'll do my best to answer what question I can answer for you.

1.) It depends on how long ago you opened the cards. You have 4 right now and if you have opened them 6+ months ago, It is a good time to apply, if not then wait it out right now. Inquires typically affect your credit for the first six months and then after that the impact will be a little bit less when applying for more credit. 6 months is a good interval. My last card was in November so the next time I would personally apply is in June (1st week or anytime in June is good)
2.) It is perfectly fine to have several cards. I know of people that have 10+ cards and as long as you are able to pay them and manage them wisely, there is nothing wrong about it. The longer your accounts are open the better, but for the most part FICO ideally like 3 revolving lines, and a charge card does not hurt either. There is no
3.) A person's credit limit is the limit that card issuer or bank gives you when you apply and are approved for credit. For example, my citi card has a 1,500 limit, meaning I can charge up to that and anymore will lead it to be declined. For various reasons, it is not a good idea to max out card, unless you know you can pay it off before the grace period is over. You can have a total revolving limit by adding up the limits on your respective cards (mine would be 3,700 between 3 cards, plus a charge card which has a No preset spending limit.) Many issuers like to see high limits and will generally try to match them depending on your usage and payment history. I'm not totally sure how it would affect credit worthiness or your scores however.
5.) There is no free or cheap place to get all 3. Experian used to sell scores on myfico but they stopped a few years ago. You can, however, buy from myfico your Equifax and Transunion scores but they are roughly about 20.00 each. The only way to get an Experian score is through Amex or if another lender pulls it. No it will not hurt your credit score in any way.
6.) I'm not sure about this question.
7.) It depends on you and how much you make. I personally pay a few days before the statement cuts so that way when it is reported to the bureaus it shows I have no balances on there. When you apply for cards try to keep your utilization low (10% is good, but no more then 30) and it should raise your score a little bit more and it looks better when you apply because the lender will assume that you are using the card and Fico raises the score (FICO is used by most financial companies to issue you credit).
8.) It depends on what your spending habits are. Do you travel a lot? Do you drive a lot and need to fill up? do you eat out a lot? are you willing to pay annual fees for certain cards? it all depends on what type of spending you are going to do.

Good luck on whatever path you decide to take.
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.

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Postby randeman » Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:05 am

These are excellent responses and I don't have much to add, except to restate that since you are young and new to the game, you should keep your utilization low and pay your cards off every month. If you can't do that, pay a sizable chunk of your balance off each month. Always pay more than your minimum payment, at least double--although triple is better.
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).

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Postby TheChosenOne » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:11 am

Thank you Rory, Snowman, and Randeman for your replies.
Currently I have
Barclay Mastercard: 1400
Barclay Visa: 1500
Express: 1000
Kay: 500

So based on everyones replies i'm going keep my spending under 30% of my limit and pay them off before the bill due date. I'll have to wait till about 6 months to apply again because i recently applied for the first three listed and i got declined for a Best Buy card. When that time comes i plan on applying for a Bank of America card, and an Amex.

10. What Amex credit cards would be right for me regardless of where i spend.
Basically which ones are least likely to deny me since i have such little credit history or which ones are worth applying for at the state i am in.

11. I want to apply for an Amex Green. Should i apply for one at the state i'm in or wait?

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Postby Sevenfeet » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:29 am

I'm going to be philosophical about this. First, thanks for the questions. In life, the only bad questions are the ones not asked. That's true in school, and in life.

You're actually in a better position than most kids in college with your credit situation. A lot of threads I see here and at myFico talk about college kids who are having trouble just getting the first card. So you're already ahead of the curve here. But again, you're just starting out and need to be careful how you proceed. You're a young grown-up now and the management of your credit and financial life is easily one of the most important things you will do personally. The difference between proper management and getting in trouble over it amounts to the choices you can make in your life. And these days, more and more of those potential choices are determined by what's in your credit report, and the credit score itself. And it's not just whether you can get that shiny new card you want. It can determine your ability to buy a car or a house certainly. But it also can determine if an employer will hire you or if an renter will offer you an apartment. I learned the hard way about credit reports and employment when my new employer (a large consulting firm) in 1998 told me that my credit score was under 600 and that it would normally be a problem but they were going to hire me anyway (I was having lots of credit problems back then). Good credit practices lead to better opportunities at lower costs to you. It will save you thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime. Many of us here (myself included) have made mistakes along the way you should do everything possible to avoid.

I would spend time "growing" the cards you have now rather than worrying about getting something new. You have the next 40+ years to do that. What people want to see is that you can manage the credit you have been offered so far. That means paying things off every month and not carrying a balance. Some on boards like this will talk about the merits of when to pay the balance off every month, but for right now, just pay on time and pay it all.

In a year or two when you are ready to graduate, you can re-examine the cards you need to use or apply for as you begin the next phase of your life. There are some student cards that are good to carry that can be converted to other credit products later on. But again, now is the time to grow your credit history and not worry about the next new shiny thing.
American Express Platinum (NPSL)
Penfed Platinum Reward Visa ($28K)
Chase Freedom Visa ($25K)
Fidelity American Express ($20K)
American Express Blue Cash Preferred ($20K)
Bank of America Cash Rewards MasterCard ($20K)
Citi Thank You Preferred Visa ($9.5K)
Chase Sapphire Preferred ($7.5K)
US Bank Cash + Visa Signature ($7K)
Discover IT ($4K)

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Postby chan35 » Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:00 pm

Sevenfeet, you said it well and with such sincerity that I am forwarding your advice along to my 20 year old son. He's managing his two cards very well but I like to drill the importance of proper credit management into him on an almost daily basis because every so often he gets the itch to apply for more credit cards. I told him to not apply for anything else for at least 6 months but preferably another year or two. Thanks for sharing.
FICO Scores:
EQ 704
TU 789
EX 781 (via Amex on 6/11/13)

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Postby Snowman » Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:24 pm

No problem Chosen one.

It is said that it is best to never go over 30% of your credit limit because of the fact that if your statement closes and it is above that amount it will start affecting your credit. And yes do your best to keep your best to pay it off before the statement cuts and in order to maximize your scores leave a small balance with all the other cards paid off and when you apply your chances of being approved. For example, when I had my first card, I used it for 6 months and left no balance and then right before my statement cut on the 6th statement, I left a 10$ balance, and I was approved for 3 out of the 4 cards I applied for (I applied for the Freedom as well but they said they want to see more history with other cards before they decide to approve me, hence why I am planning to try for it again in June.) Yes, it is a good idea to wait for 6 months to a year after app sprees and let your accounts age some more.

10.) If you have 6 months of history at least, you can apply for an Amex card. However, you just applied for some cards so right now I would hold off, wait 6 months or maybe a little bit longer and check your scores. And if everything is clean and looking good I'd say apply and it depends on how much of an annual fee your willing to pay. I have a PRG (I know my sig doesn't say so, but I'm kinda lazy and haven't updated it yet.) Charge cards are easier to be approved for form Amex because they have the same underwriting criteria, except for the Platinum and the Centurion. As far as the revolvers, the Blue Cash Everyday and the SPG are the hardest to be approved for while their Gold Delta is typically the easiest revolver to be approved for. Go for a charge card, you won't have a limit per say but they have an Internal limit for you, use it wisely and then after 6 months try for a revolver.

11.) Lastly, just wait for a little while. If your scores are 680+ with no derogs or baddies on there, go for it and see what happens, it's only an inquiry and it won't have to much of an affect after a few months.
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.

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Postby TheChosenOne » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:32 pm

Thank you Sevenfeet, your information is greatly appreciated. I plan on working on the credit cards i have right now and growing them. Also thank you Snowman i will be taking all of that into consideration. I won't be applying for anything for sure for at least the next 6 months. Once that time comes by i'll only be applying for an AMEX Green or Gold and BankofAmerica only to have some diversity in my credit.

12. Since i don't use my KAY credit card I want to close it, will it hurt my credit to close an account? i know now that it's better to just keep it open, but to keep it open will mean spending money there all the time and i don't think i really want to do that.

13. So i should keep a small balance through my statement ending?

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