I'm new to the Credit Card Forum community, but I have been lurking in the forums for a little while and love the site so far! I was hoping to solicit some advice from people that probably know more than me.
I am 23 and a recent college graduate. I have managed to remain debt-free: at 16 I paid cash for the only car I've ever owned by working two jobs and was fortunate enough to get a full-ride scholarship. I am very averse to credit, but want a stellar credit score for when I buy a house or a car that isn't a hunk-o-junk.
I have been trying to build a good credit score for the past 4-5 years by taking out a bunch of store credit cards and maintaining a perfect payment history, never carrying a balance. My FICO is 739. I've slowly discovered the joy of earning rewards with credit cards. I have a Banana Republic Visa card that has essentially replaced my debit card. It basically offers 1% rewards that can be spent in Banana Republic's umbrella of brands. I got a Walmart credit card to get $.05 off of gas. However, like a drug addict, these rewards are no longer enough to satiate me. I NEED MORE! Instead of cash back in clothing stores, I want straight-up credits to my statements. As has been pointed out on this site, with gas hovering around $4.00/gallon the Walmart card offers the equivalent of ~1.25% back, and there are other cards out there that offer more.
It is also very important to me to continue building my credit score. I think my average age of account, according to CK, is like 2.2 years. Do you think it would hurt me too much to open a new card? Here are my top picks:
- Discover it (The 5% categories may not apply too much to me - I think it's a rip-off that Walmart doesn't count as a supermarket - but there is the $150 introductory bonus. I like the free FICO scores, but I'm currently getting this through my Walmart card.)
- Blue Cash Everyday from American Express (for 2% in gas)
- Barclaycard Rewards by MasterCard (for 2% in gas & utilities)
- Capital One Quicksilver by Visa (for 1.5% back on everything)
Is there a way to see, before applying, what merchants qualify for particular categories? I found my go-to gas station, Murphy's, qualifies for gas purchases with American Express but haven't found details like this in any other fine print. I suspect Walmart pretty much doesn't qualify for grocery purchases with all of the carriers.
Lastly, I am curious if it is a good idea to request credit limit increases with my existing accouts. Will the improved utilization outweigh the negative impact on additional credit inquiries?
Please offer any advice you may have and pardon my long-windedness. Thank you!