How long do you need to garden your current cards to be considered "in the garden"? I had someone point out to me that I was heading for the same mistake everyone tries to make by starting with crap cards expecting to "churn" them in a short time. Cap1 one is good about this, with them if you start from the beginning, you get a secured card with a $200 limit, after 6 months they might up it to $300 then 6 months later you can app for a unsecured card, but you are likely to get put on their steps thing where you get $500 to start then later they up it to $750 and leave you there for life, high interest and a $39 annual fee. Where I'm at right now, they dangle another bone in front of you, if you app again, you might get a higher CL which is what I would like, lower interest and cash back rewards which if used carefully would offset the AF. At the same time, it's temping me to app for a card I know I'm going to have to dump as my credit improves.
My parents keep telling me I have to go back and talk with this bank loan officer who happens to be a friend of theirs so he sees all and knows all and his word is gospel, but he's soooo dang confusing. He tells me the story of the farmer who hates radishes but he plants all radishes because they are good for the soil so he can plant all sorts of good things next year. (I'm still trying to figure out how keeping crap cards is better than getting little better ones).
To make it worse, we know CK gives you a FAKE score, it should say "for entertainment purposes only." So if you watch CK which gives you a free score, you really have no clue were your scores are really. Then to top it off he starts talking about tiers, so you can file BK get something like an Open Sky card that doesn't check credit and in a year have close to a 700 score, but he said that's a 700 in tier C which would be like a 550 in tier A. What????
So in other words, your score don't mean jack.
I know he wants me to be like my parents, they have 1 credit card they've had since 1998, it just a platinum card with no rewards but a $7,000 CL and no AF. What happens? I apply for a card and get a $300 CL with $39 AF and I'm not happy with my 1 card so I have to apply for another. Now I'm not happy with either card. Ever since I was I kid, I was always taught to do what is "safe" we don't take risks because that can end badly. I've really really wanted to apply for another card, but the guy told me the risks are way too high. What if I try for a better Captial One card then get put back on the steps thing, find myself with another $500 CL and $39 AF?
I asked about taking out a secured card to bump up my CL, but he said for that to work I would have to put up at least $2,000 of my own money and I might have to wait 2 years or more to cancel that card and get my money back. In order for it to work, I would have to use the card for 6 months then keep it at least until I qualify for a better card. He said he would avoid the crappy lenders like Applied Bank because I'm past that point of them being my only hope and they would continue to hang out on my credit reports for up to 10 years after I close the account.
What his suggestion was, I should try to get another card then garden what I have for awhile. What I'm curious about is, if I end up with a secured card or something that isn't very desirable, how long would I be stuck with it if I'm in the garden? Is it really that wrong to keep churning cards at least once a year before the AF hits?