New member seeking your wisdom

For just about anything you want to get off your chest about credit cards.
18 posts
Marisol
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New member seeking your wisdom

Postby Marisol » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:49 am

Hi. Here's my situation:

CK currently has me at 647. I've had a car loan and some student loans in the past, and they're all paid off, with no late payments. I have only 6 accounts total on my record according to CK, both open and closed. I hate the feeling of owing money, so I had no cards at all for about 9 years. I decided to work on building credit, so 4 years ago I got an Open Sky secured card w/a 200 limit. I could easily have afforded more, but i didn't know enough about credit to realize that I should have given myself a higher credit limit.

Here's the thing with that card: my utilization is at 0 because the company cannot manage to send me a new copy of the card. They've certainly been able to send the bill for the annual fee, but they have supposedly reissued and resent it to me three times since September, and nothing has arrived except one or two statements. Perhaps I should not be so harsh on them, but it's very frustrating.

I have $1110 of medical debt in collections spread over 3 accounts, and had 1 hard pull last year. There may be a second hard pull popping up soon since Bill Me later recently approved me with a 550 limit (but they don't report anywhere, counter to what I believed when I applied).

My income is about 30k and I pay nothing for housing. I have over 5k in the bank and no debt other than the collections items plus $220 left on a no-interest loan through a credit-building program. That will be paid in full next month.

My credit union turned me for a card down in July. I have not used my account there much at all.

What would you do if you were me? I am considering some or all of the following:

a) closing the unusable phantom card
b) getting a better secured card with a few thousand on it.
c) getting a couple of better secured cards
d) getting a Target Red credit card (it seems like the best store card--please correct me if I'm wrong)
e) applying for some of the easier non-secured cards. Recommendations for which to try would be so very welcome.

Thoughts? I don't know how many cards to apply for at once. If I close the Open Sky card, it seems like it couldn't hurt much to apply for a few in one week, since AAoA will soon down to 0 anyway (gulp).

Who other than BofA might offer me a secured card if they couldn't offer an unsecured one? I want something to show for my future hard pulls.

Thank you for reading my long, n00btastic post.


samhradh
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Postby samhradh » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:13 pm

CK is notoriously inaccurate. You should file for your credit report from one of the agencies and pay for your FICO score. Do not closed your secured card until you have access to alternative lines of credit. BTW, closing it will not result in an AAoA of zero. Search online for AAoA and you will understand why.

Sounds to me like your medical debt is what's keeping your score down. I suggest paying that down ASAP. Especially if you have no rent and over $5K in the bank.

You need to figure out what's going on with the company claiming they've issued you new cards but they aren't arriving. Are you sure your address is current? Does anyone else collect or have access to your mail? They should definitely be doing a certified delivery at this point.

Find out why your credit union turned you down. They're required to issue you a statement with details as to why you were rejected.

Sounds like you're missing a few details in your credit history. Get all the info you can, pay down your debt, then you can get serious about applying for cards.

Bottom line: Clarify your credit history and score and then ask again for advice on what to apply for. I suggest not applying to anything right now.
Citi Forward ($10.1K), AmEx Blue Cash Everyday ($30K), Chase Freedom ($12.4K), Discover it ($5.5K), Barclaycard Arrival ($12.5K), L.L. Bean Visa ($5K). FICO 806 (TU), 812 (EQ), 806 (EX).

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:30 pm

Target generally gives a low limit. And getting a CLI on it (a higher limit) is a bit like winning the lottery - last I knew they do not accept user initiated increases and very few people get an automatic one from them. So it won't grow with you, and you probably would get 200 if approved (that seems to be their "standard" unless you have really good credit). It might still be 200 in 10 years. If you are cool with that, then you do get a 5% discount at Target with it.


I wouldn't close the phantom card until you've got established real cards built up that you want.


With the collections getting good cards is going to be quite difficult it's always a YMMV situation but in general it's not easy. I think a secured card like the BofA 99/500 card that graduates to unsecured is one of the better cards out there if you have to start that way.


Cap One offers the best subprime cards to start out with but they pull all 3 bureaus (and of course the customer service is a total joke but when you need Cap One you just suck it up and deal with that).


Hopefully this gives you a couple of ideas. If you have anyone who can add you as an authorized user to one of their accounts that could help you too.

Marisol
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Postby Marisol » Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:28 pm

Thank you so much. I checked my scores 6 months ago but posted CK instead because it is, in theory, more recent. But of course you're right and I should pony up for all available current info.

I should have mentioned that with the medical debt, I was hoping to go a round or two with attempted PFD negotiations. I'm happy to pay; I'd just rather be patient in order to try for the best possible outcome.

My address is current and the mail goes to a private mailbox I've used for ten years. It is an owner-operated business, so only one person after the post office gets access to my mail. Since I've known the owner that long, and have a friend who's been with him for at least fifteen years, I think it likely that if this owner were not honest, there would have been some sign of it before now. So that remains a mystery, but I continue to think it's on the company's end.

With my credit union, it was a soft pull done in person over six months ago. I guess I could ask again, since it's soft.

Thanks again. I'll order those scores today.

Marisol
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Postby Marisol » Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:33 pm

Sorry for the double-post. Creditcards.com/cardmatch offered me four different Cap One cards. The most likely candidate for an authorized user add has about $140,000 in student loan debt. If I were added there, would this person's presumed subprime status affect me?

I really appreciate this board and its members. Thank you again.

whit
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Postby whit » Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:41 pm

samhradh pretty much hit the points I would say, paying off the debt ASAP since it's only 20-30% of your savings in bank.

figuring out about that card that never arrived

also seeing if the credit union u bank with can reconsider the app they turned down, otherwise shop around for another credit union or bank.

once you paid off the debt, let it cycle through to reflect that (eg wait a few months) consider reapplying for a card that is considered starter..like capital one or chase slate

keep the utilization in a good percentage (10-20% optimal but I guess 30% is fine)

let your credit history build and so your score can go up

then apply for a better card, one that you feel would best fit for everyday use

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:42 pm

Paying off the debt is good, however it won't help his credit - a collection is a collection, be it paid or unpaid. Under manual review maybe he gets brownie points for it, but in terms of score it won't make a bit of difference.

whit
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Postby whit » Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:16 pm

it may not, but still would want to give a few months to cycle thorough and trust, it may not be considered when they do auto decisions but if you get an analyst to look at it then it makes a difference, human err

I guess that's just my advise and I'm bias because I believe in always paying debts when able to,

and I have had the pleasure of helping people with no credit get a credit card for the first time, prime, with a few thousand CL

but not every financial institution is same so it's up to OP

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:32 pm

Fair enough. Helping others succeed is a good thing.

Marisol
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Postby Marisol » Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:46 pm

Thank you for the responses--I really appreciate this board and its members. I tried to post a couple of times earlier today, but the posts have not appeared, so perhaps I wasn't logged in. My apologies if the other posts do appear.

According to myfico, my Experian FICO is 654, while Equifax has reached the giddy height of 663.

I have more hard pulls with Equifax than I thought--3-- including one from my credit union despite their claim that it was soft. Would the credit union still be required to give details, even on a 6+ month old rejection?

Only one collection reported to/by Experian, versus 3 to Equifax. They also say I have no pulls. Are there lenders who pull only Experian?

Experian claims that "the remaining balance on [my] non-mortgage installment loans remains too high," then says on another page that the amount remaining on my installment loans is a whopping $220. I don't understand this. Is it relative to my available credit?

With regards to the collections, I should have mentioned that I would like to try a round or two of PFD (for 100% payment) requests. My understanding is that it can't really hurt, and I'm willing to put in effort and be patient if it could result in an ideal outcome.

Regarding the phantom card, the address (which they double-checked the last time I called, so I know it's correct) is a private mailbox I got 10 years ago, on the recommendation of a friend who'd had a box there for at least 5 years. It is owner-operated, so only one person has access to my mail once the postal service delivers it. After 10 years of receiving sensitive mail there and interacting with the owner, I do feel strongly that he is someone I can trust. So I continue to suspect a glitch on the part of the card company. I will try certified mail to my physical address, which is a secure locked box.

Assuming I can get the ghost card to materialize, should I send them more money and give myself a higher limit there?

Another question I have is about loan diversity. I am happy to drive my ancient car, to not have a mortgage at the rates I'd current be able to access--if I could even get one at all--and to have paid off my student loans. Is there another way to diversify?

creditcards.com/cardmatch offered four different Cap One cards. Is it worth looking into those now, or should I wait?

Thanks again for sharing your expertise. I feel lucky to have found this board.



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