Where do I go from here?

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killhour
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Where do I go from here?

Postby killhour » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:38 pm

Over the past year and a half, I've been steadily building my credit, but I'm starting to level off, and am wondering if anyone has any advice to get to that "next level".

A little bit about me:

I am married and make roughly 40K/year alone, 70k/year combined. My wife has bad credit due to some trouble with student loans before we met, but the only negative mark on my credit history is a lost library book that went to collections for 80 bucks (whoops). Most everything is in my name, except for a few cards we took out in hers to rebuild her credit. She is also an authorized user on most of my cards.

I currently have a car loan with about $10k left that I am paying off faster than I have to (I have a 7% interest rate on it, so I'd like to get rid of it ASAP).

I'm renting, so no mortgage. Rent is $1050/mo.

I also have the following credit cards:

Amex Blue Cash Everyday, 3k limit (Recently raised from 2k based on request)
Discover, 3.5k limit (Recently raised from 3k based on request)
Citi Diamond Preferred, 1.2k limit (Recently Denied CLI request, cited large credit utilization and low scores based on credit report several months out of date.)
Disney Visa Rewards (Chase), 700 limit
Amazon Visa Rewards (Chase), 1.7k limit
TJ Maxx Mastercard Rewards (GE Capital), 3.6k limit
Several misc. store-only cards.

I'm under 20% utilization, and have 3 hard inquiries on my TransUnion CR.
My TransUnion credit score (as per Credit Karma) is 676.
I have a 100% on-time credit history, and my average credit age is just under 1 year.
I pay off all cards not currently under 0% intro APR every month, and keep other cards at below 50% utilization whenever possible.

I'd like to get a house in the next few years, but I know I need at least 700-750 credit rating to get a decent loan. Any recommendations?


Robrus1
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Postby Robrus1 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:38 pm

My suggestion would be to keep your utilization under 10%, and give your accounts at least another year or so to age and to pay down your auto loan as much as possible. Check your credit reports for inaccuracies and try to get your wife's credit as clean as possible to get her score up. I would probably avoid any hard pulls for 12 months before going for a mortgage, and I would also make sure that all my credit cards were paid off completely and wait for zero balances to report.
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

Scoach
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Postby Scoach » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:16 pm

I concur with Robrus1. You want your CR to be nice, tidy, and quiet when you try to get a mortgage. Try to get your debt/income ratio as favorable as possible.
AmEx - Platinum, Gold, Bluebird
Chase - CSP, Freedom
HSBC - Orchard Bank (1999)

killhour
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Postby killhour » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:39 pm

Thanks for the advice, guys. Since most of my hard inquiries were about to expire, and it would be at least a year before I'd have enough for a down payment on a house, I went for one last card to drive my overall utilization as low as possible.

Ended up getting approved for a Chase Sapphire card with a 5k limit.

Should I try to increase the limit on some of the other cards, or just let things lie for now?

Robrus1
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Postby Robrus1 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:27 am

killhour wrote:Thanks for the advice, guys. Since most of my hard inquiries were about to expire, and it would be at least a year before I'd have enough for a down payment on a house, I went for one last card to drive my overall utilization as low as possible.

Ended up getting approved for a Chase Sapphire card with a 5k limit.

Should I try to increase the limit on some of the other cards, or just let things lie for now?


Congrats on the Sapphire. I can't say enough great things about my experiences with their customer service. If you're wanting to increase some limits, now is the time. The sooner you get all your apping/CLI requests out of the way, the sooner this stuff can age 12 months and stop impacting your score. Judging by your 1st post, you've already requested several CLIs recently. Personally, if it were me, I would most likely not app for anything else, including CLIs. The 5K that will report for your Sapphire will help your utilization but I'd still try to keep your utilization under 10% of your available credit before you added 5K more to your available amount.
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

killhour
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Postby killhour » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:46 am

Thanks. I wanted to push my limits up a bit, since it's pretty hard staying under $1k total utilization without just putting everything on my debit card (and what's the point of that?)

Scoach
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Postby Scoach » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:49 am

I'm confused by your statement. Are you carrying balances month to month? If so, then I'd say work on that for the next year. You should get yourself into a scenario where the only debt you're carrying on your cards is debt you WANT to carry, not debt you NEED to carry.

I adjust my utilization by when I pay off my cards. Everything gets paid in full, it's just a matter of whether I pay them off before the statement closes, or after.

killhour wrote:Thanks. I wanted to push my limits up a bit, since it's pretty hard staying under $1k total utilization without just putting everything on my debit card (and what's the point of that?)
AmEx - Platinum, Gold, Bluebird
Chase - CSP, Freedom
HSBC - Orchard Bank (1999)

killhour
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Location: United States

Postby killhour » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:52 am

I'm not carrying any balances month to month except on my 0% cards, and only then to amortize a few large purchases I had to make. I could pay those off right now, if I wanted to. The only reason I have 20% is because I wait until the statement closes to pay them off, so even though nothing is carried month to month, the cards still report ~20%. Should I not be doing that?

Scoach
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Postby Scoach » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:29 pm

I think you'd see a score boost if you were in the 3-5% utilization range versus 20. There are some real experts here on that though so hopefully they will chime in.

killhour wrote:I'm not carrying any balances month to month except on my 0% cards, and only then to amortize a few large purchases I had to make. I could pay those off right now, if I wanted to. The only reason I have 20% is because I wait until the statement closes to pay them off, so even though nothing is carried month to month, the cards still report ~20%. Should I not be doing that?
AmEx - Platinum, Gold, Bluebird
Chase - CSP, Freedom
HSBC - Orchard Bank (1999)

Sevenfeet
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Postby Sevenfeet » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:49 pm

20% isn't bad (I'm at 38%) but the big difference between us is age. Even with my recent app spree, my AAoA is over 7 years. My wife's is at 10 years. You've got quite a lot of cards but with generally anemic credit lines, mainly because of the age factor. Your scores are probably depressed because of that too, even though you pay your bills on time. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

But I agree, getting the utilization under 10% is a worthy goal. It concentrates your efforts to that end and it allows time to build up on the products you have now. Don't worry about CLIs for right now...they will come in time. Your new Sapphire will be the anchor that brings the others up. Garden it well.
Cards:
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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